There are several types of White House tours available to the public. The most common and easiest tour to schedule is the standard public tour of rooms in the East Wing and main White House Residence. Visitors will enter the White House complex from the south side of East Executive Avenue. After passing through the security screening area, guests will enter the East Wing of the White House and proceed down the East Colonnade following the route depicted on the White House tour map below. The rooms in tan are open for public viewing.
The tour begins in the East Wing lobby. Proceed to the East Colonnade.
Walk, don't run as you pass by the Family Theater on the right!
The East Garden Room serves as the Visitors Entrance for many White House
Now head into the Center Hall on the ground floor of the White House
The Center Hall leads down to the West Wing and the Oval Office.
Take a peek into the three nearby rooms: Vermeil, China, Library
Head up the stairs to continue your tour on the State Floor
State Dining Room
Tour groups exit through the North Portico
While the standard public tour is interesting for architectural and historical reasons, nothing can beat the excitement of the West Wing Tour. These coveted tours are led by knowledgeable members of the White House staff and Secret Service. They take you into the working areas of the White House and allow you to witness our democracy in action.
"It is my pleasure to welcome you to the West Wing of the White House. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt relocated his office from the second floor of the residence to this newly constructed building. The West Wing has expanded and undergone several renovations since then, but it has remained the official workplace of the President. In our country, the halls of government are not reserved for a privileged few, and the President’s workplace should be no exception. Your visit today helps to fulfill my goal of creating the most open and accessible administration in American history."
West Wing Lobby
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
You may be wondering just who gets to go on a West Wing tour. As part of President Obama's commitment to government transparency, we are releasing this ongoing list of lucky White House West Wing tour participants.
This exciting tour starts out by following the same path as the standard public tour. Instead of exiting at the North Portico, guests will walk up the Grand Staircase
to the second floor to view the Lincoln Bedroom, the Queen's Bedroom, and President Obama's Master Bedroom.
After a quick stop at the Truman Balcony, visitors will proceed down to the basement of the Residence to an unmarked storage closet opposite the President's private elevator. This closet leads to a secret tunnel connecting the Residence to the Oval Office. White House visitors will then proceed to exit the tunnel via a hidden door adjacent to the President's rest room next to the Oval Office.
This tunnel is part of an extensive secret underground White House Tunnel System leading to various government locations throughout the DC area including the subterranean President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) bunker located six stories under the East Wing; the tunnels to the Executive Office Building, Blair House, the bunker under the VP Residence at the Naval Observatory; and the emergency escape tunnel running from the basement of the East Wing to the basement of the Treasury Building.
Once you exit the tunnel from the residence to the West Wing,
a decision will be made whether it is convenient for President Obama to have guests peek inside the
Please remember the President is a busy man and will usually not have time to chat with visitors.
If allowed to proceed, guests will slowly and quietly circle around the Oval Office one time.
It is important for visitors to walk at a steady pace with no unexpected movements.
After exiting the Oval Office, the White House tour is officially over. Hungry visitors may proceed to the
basement of the West Wing to grab a snack at the takeout window of the White House Mess. Be sure to ask for a
souvenir menu from the White House Mess along with an autographed box of Presidential M&Ms.
Secret Service agents are conveniently stationed throughout the White House complex in case you need directions.
For more photos and information, visit our White House Tunnel System page.
Requests for the standard public tour must be submitted through your Member of Congress.
If you are a citizen of a foreign country, contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.
These self-guided tours are available in the morning Tuesday through Saturday.
Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. You can submit a request up to six months in advance.
The earlier, the better as only a limited number of spaces are available. Your congressional representative will submit your request to the White House via our
online White House Tour System.
Many people are interested in taking the West Wing tour. Generally speaking, this tour is available to celebrities, business and political leaders, major donors, movers and shakers, and people
who know someone who works inside the White House. That's about as open and transparent we can be about this particular tour.
The Expanded Tour is a recent addition to our White House tour offerings. The participant selection process is still undergoing modifications due to the highly sensitive nature of the tour. The White House is working on a strategy in cooperation with the Domestic Surveillance Directorate to ensure that only the most trustworthy Americans are allowed access. Additional information about requesting this tour will be posted here in the near future.