Public tours of the White House are free of charge and can be scheduled through your congressional representative. Refer to the ticketing section below for details.
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 to the Residence depicted on the White House tour map below.
In 2015, the White House lifted its longstanding camera and photo ban on public tours. Guests are now welcome to take photos throughout the White House tour route and are encouraged to share their photos using the hashtag #WhiteHouseTour. Phones and compact still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches are allowed.
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."
At this time, the only way to experience a West Wing Tour is by invitation from the White House or through a personal connection to a White House staffer willing to lead you on an after-hours tour. Download the official West Wing Tour booklet from the White House.
You may be wondering just who gets to go on a West Wing tour. As part of President Obama's commitment to government transparency, this information is available via the official White House Visitors Records.
Requests for the White House tour must be submitted through your Member of Congress in either the House or Senate.
These self-guided tours are generally available in the morning Tuesday through Saturday. Tour hours are extended whenever possible as the White House schedule permits.
Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. You can submit a request up to six months in advance of your visit. The earlier, the better as only a limited number
of spaces are available.
The White House will notify your Congressional Representative of your tour request status approximately two weeks before the tour date. Spring and summer tours fill up quickly, so make your request early. Want to see the holiday decorations? You can begin to submit your Christmas tour request in June. All tours are free of charge.
Secret tip: If your request for a White House tour is denied, you might be able to get in on a Congressional Member's Pass distributed monthly by the White House Visitors Office.
At this time, there is no way for the general public to request a West Wing tour. These tours are by invitation-only.
All guests 14 years of age or older are required by the United States Secret Service to submit their name, date of birth, social security number and country of citizenship. All guests 18 and older will be required to present photo identification with information exactly matching the name previously submitted for clearance.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, the following: handbags, book bags,
backpacks, purses, food and beverages of any kind, strollers, video cameras, selfie sticks, tobacco products, personal grooming items (make-up,
hair brush or comb, lip or hand lotions, etc.), any pointed objects (pens, knitting
needles, etc.), aerosol containers, guns, ammunition, fireworks, electric stun guns,
mace, martial arts weapons/devices, or knives of any size. The U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items.
Umbrellas, wallets, compact cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches, cell phones and car keys are permitted. Come prepared; there are no storage facilities on-site.
The closest Metrorail stations to the White House are Federal Triangle (blue and orange lines), Metro Center (blue, orange, and red lines) and McPherson Square (blue and orange lines). On-street parking is not available near the White House, and use of public transportation is strongly encouraged.
The nearest public restrooms to the White House are in the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion (the park area south of the White House) and in the White House Visitor Center. Please take advantage of these public facilities prior to your tour.
The White House Garden Tour is offered twice a year over weekends in the Spring and Fall. Guests are invited to stroll around the White House grounds and share photos on social media using the
hashtag #WHGarden. Visitors can tour the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, White House Kitchen Garden and South Lawn
of the White House.
Free timed tickets are distributed at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion located at 15th and E Street Northwest on each tour day. Tour weekends are usually held in April and October. The 2016 Spring Garden Tour was held the weekend of April 16-17. The Fall Garden Tour was held October 8-9.
If you have children, you can enter the Easter Egg Roll lottery for a chance to attend the Easter Egg Roll held every Spring on the South Lawn of the White House.
Explore the White House online by using your mouse to click and navigate around. See if you can find the Blue Room, Red Room, Green Room, East Room, and State Dining Room.
Can you find the staircase that heads upstairs to the Lincoln Bedroom?
Click on the "1" on the bottom right side of the screen to explore the Ground Floor.