Obama took the unprecedented step of ending the popular White House tours by ordinary citizens. He claims it costs too much and there isn't enough money because the American people wouldn't give him carte blanche on exorbitant taxes, but he and the missus and their entourages seem to have enough Benjamins to take $100 million vacations every few weeks.
Americans apologize to our foreign visitors for Obama's boorishness and lack of civility, but until we can get someone with some class into the Presidency - hopefully soon - , sadly, White House tours are only a pleasant memory.
Since we can't get tours of the White House anymore, you must get a picture from the outside. The gates on both sides of the white house are packed with people. So play nice and with time you will make your way up to the fence for an obligatory photo shoot. It is impressive to see so many foreigners getting their pictures in front of our presidents' home.
When British soldiers entered the White House on August 24th 1814 they found a banquet had been abandoned as President James Madison and his family had fled to safety. The soldiers dined gleefully on good food and fine wine, before ransacking the building and setting it ablaze, leaving behind a decidedly blackened house in their wake. James Madison never returned to the White House.
That's my big take away from the history of the White House. As an Englishman I take pride in being a subject of the only country to have invaded an independent America. But I'm also glad that we lost the war eventually, and the US could grow, free from foreign tyranny. The White House now symbolises that freedom: the home of the President of the United States, the "leader of the free world" and head of the world's most powerful democracy.
The White House was completed in 1800 and has been home to every president except the first, George Washington, who lived in Philadelphia. The first president to live their for their entire period in office was Thomas Jefferson, who complained about its size, saying it was "big enough for two emperors, one pope, and the grand lama in the bargain". He still made plans to enlarge it.
Today it is high security home to President Obama, with snipers on the roof, and secret agents on the street, but it's still a magnet for people wishing to exercise their god given right to protest and say anything they damn well please. When I was there a shaven headed imam, with a neck beard, bulging suitcase stood outside the White House singing "god is great" in Arabic and holding up a placard with quotes from the Koran. And nobody minded.
Another day in Washington took us the White House. I should start by saying that the tour of the White House now requires a lengthy process of requesting a tour through your congress representative if you are an American Citizen. Non-citizens or residents cannot go on the tour as far as I learned. It was more than a month since we had contacted a friend of Mark's who worked for the secret service. We found out that we had to get our names on a list, and to expedite the process, contacting our senate representative would be a good idea. Well we never got in needless to say, but we were able to walk to the fence and see both the front and back.
After 9/11 attacks, security became stricter and barricades were placed around the white House. We found a bunch of protesters making noise about homosexuals etc, of course police was all over making sure none of them got out of hand. We snapped a few photos and walked towards the front. There were more tourists at the front than the back, we decided not to stay long, two more shots and we were off to the National Gallery of Art.
On top of the building I saw men dressed in casual dresses, they were White House security, snipers and Secret service. They are located on all buildings close to the white house, from what I heard. But that is the case when protecting the most powerful man in the world. I should like to actually have a tour of the White House sometime.
Look at the back of the $20 bill and you will find the White House, just as it is in Pennsylvania Avenue. Unfortunately, due to the developments in the modern world the White House is understandably protected by the Secret Service and remains closed to the public.
In all of the USA we can say these three simple words, "The White House," and everyone will know what we mean. It all started in 1814, when the British burn Washington. It was by 1817 that the Executive Mansion was rebuilt and it's charred walls were painted white. So, it becomes known as The White house.
Historically The White House has been "open" for tourists and tours. These days it's not quite so readily open.
If you'd like to take a tour you'll have to submit a request at least three weeks before your visit or up to six months ahead of time.
U.S. Citizens apply through their Congress Members Offices and non-U.S. Citizens apply through their Embassy in Washington D.C. There is no guarantee that you will be allowed on a tour and some tours may be canceled without notice. Usually due to security issues.
There are a whole load of things, even cameras, that are on the prohibited list so be sure to check the website listed below before showing up at the President's gate because there are no storage facilities on or near The White House and if you have anything considered unacceptable the Secret Service will turn you away.
The White House is open for visits/ tours every Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 noon ONLY!
The White House is home to the First Family. The offices of the Executive Branch of the US government are found here also.
This is actually about the process for requesting a tour if you are Canadian and not visiting with U.S. friends. (It sounds like this may also apply to other foreign visitors, so please check your own embassy page.)
The White House office recently changed the protocol and will only offer up to a maximum of 2 tours a month (max 25 persons per tour). The information will be communicated to the Embassy and people who are interested can only request through the registration system. The website will notify people of when the registration system is opened 3 days prior and the registration will close when 40 people have registered.
Please refer to this link for more information.
For people interested in visiting the next couple of months:
Please note that the White House protocol office is not accepting any request for tours at this time. As per the White House protocol office communication dated August 3, 2011:
“The current White House Tours Program and the way tours have been processed will be transitioning to a New Automated System. A decision was therefore made not to have any tours processed during the month of August and possibly September.”
It must be hard to manage, the compromise between security, and everybody's wish to be photographed by the white house.
I must confess that, for my surprise, security was (or seemed) not so tight as expected. Of course, the fences were there, and the discreet guys were... discreet. We had our picture!
This is worth it.
Warning - The tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll are free, but you should be willing to camp out to get them. It sounds silly, I know.
The event was on a Monday this year and tickets were distributed on the previous Saturday. We camped out Friday night to be awakened at 3:00 am (very early for me) to be given tickets to get tickets at 7:00 am (still early...) on Saturday. Bring a tent and sleeping bag. Not much is open in downtown DC, so bring snacks. Alcohol is tolerated. That's all I'll say.
BIG TIP/WARNING: Make sure you know where the protestors are and what they are doing. There are always groups downtown standing on their soap box. Protestors are normal in this area. This year was gay marriage issue. The Rainbow Alliance gave a silent protest, wearing leis. This wasn't the problem. The problem was the group of protestors screaming profanities and offensive and sexually explicit insults at passing children in the vicinity of the White House.
Take a guided tour of the White House where you can see the place and the atmosphere where many American presidents used to work and live.
Several historical rooms are open for tourists. I think we visited seven of those rooms.
Our group of educators from Ukraine was honored and privileged to be taken around the several historical rooms of the White House that are open for public.
I did not take any pictures inside and don't know if it was allowed.
I walked around the White House perimeter to the back view, only a few minutes as the place is so small. I was amazed that it seemed protected only by a low black-painted iron fence...of course, there were lots of security guards! I liked the way the cherry blossom tree off-set the building, kind of softened the brilliance of the gleeming whiteness.
Why do the people really come to see the White House? It was funny seeing all those tourists standing in front of the iron fence just to have a picture of them with the White House at the background. The protesters are always gathering on the Pennsylvania avenue side.
White House is the official residence of the President of United States but also the place where for his official meetings etc It was built in 1800 by James Hoban in Georgian style with John Adams been the first residence. The British burnt it in 1812 and had to be reconstructed in 1815.
The house looks like it has no front or back side but the visitors usually see the south facade from the gardens. The large lawn and the colonnades make it look larger but it’s much smaller than I thought it is. And of course -as expected- there are numerous police guards everywhere around and over the building
If you want to tour the White House you must request through a Congress Member(or through your embassy in DC) six months in advance!!! It is free of charge and limited to small groups of people so be there early.
We preferred to see other –much more interesting- sights in DC. So, we just took some pics from the fence. Don’t you feel like you are inside or outside of a prison? President Truman said:The White House is the finest prison in the world
This is like an old friend. I’ve stayed 3 doors along (at The Willard) twice. I have a picture of my 2 year old son on the railings gazing at ducks on the lawn. I’ve walked past on my way back from a meeting (ahem) at the World Bank. Well a scheduled meeting...
On this last visit, it was dusk when were got there. It looked great. We were on our way to The Willard (yes again) for cocktails.
Anyway, nice to walk by for the umpteenth time....
Official residence of the President of the United States of America, the White House is also his (or maybe some day her) principal workplace. It was designed by James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800 and has been the residence of every President since John Adams.
The building was expanded during Thomas Jefferson's Presidency, creating two colonnades, meant to conceal stables and storage.
The most popular view of the White House is actually the rear of the building, whilst the more plain frontage is often missed by visitors.
The White House has been the official residence of the President of the United States since John Adams. The WHite Hoiuse is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, number 1600.
Irish architect James Hoban designed and built the residence in the Georgian Style. The Aquia sandstone of the building is actually painted white; it is not the natural color of the stone. The collonades and the positioning of the house along with the large lawn give it a grand scale appearance and feel. It definitely can intimidate even the boldest of guests to the house....after all DC was built specifically to be intimidating to foreign dignitaries.