How to Tour the White House
The capital of the United States offers an abundance of attractions delving into the nation’s history and culture. The National Mall, complete with its 2 mile stretch of mostly Smithsonian Museums, is an absolute must. Some of the best museums in the world can be found there. The Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, the Roosevelt Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, the National Archives, the Newseum, the Spy Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, the Holocaust Museum, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the list of top attractions goes on and on. But Washington, D.C. is known first and foremost as the seat of the nation’s government and one of the top travel destinations in the US, so no visit to the capital would be complete without a stop at the White House.
The White House sits as the barrier between the West and East End districts of DC. The West End is the central business district of downtown Washington, D.C. and is sometimes referred to as the Golden Triangle. K St is its most famous street. Important sites in the West End include Dupont Circle, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Corcoran Museum of Art, the oldest art museum in the capital, the Ellipse, and Lafayette Square, with Blair House and Decatur House. The East End is the center of tourism in the capital, home to most of the museums listed above in addition to Penn Quarter, Gallery Place, the FBI building, the House Where Lincoln Died and Ford’s Theater, and the Verizon Center. The White House itself is on the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, which is closed to vehicular traffic but accessible to pedestrians.
Built in 1792, the White House has served as the residence of the every U.S. President since John Adams in 1800. The building was burned down during the War of 1812 and subsequently rebuilt. Over the years, the building expanded and the infamous West Wing and Oval Office were constructed. The private living quarters are upstairs. The downstairs area is open to the public for tours.
Tours can be set up by contacting your senator or House representative or embassy and must be reserved at least 21 days and up to 6 months in advance of your visit. Self-guided tours are available in the mornings five days a week for groups of 10 or more (smaller groups can join a tour) with docents in each room available to visitors. They last about 30 minutes. A government-issued ID or passport is needed on the day of your tour.Tours can be canceled last minute due to unforeseen circumstances, and the White House is only open to the public during times of peace. Tours include the East WIng, the entertaining section of the White House. They include the State Dining Room, the China Room, The Red Room, the Blue Room, and the Green Room, among others. The White House has been the symbol of the undaunting American spirit and one of the top travel attractions in the US; therefore, the best way to know more about the American culture and history, you just have to pay a visit to this official Presidential residence.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)