1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is surely the best known address in the US. Designed by Irishman James Hoban, it was originally known as the Executive Mansion or President's House. The first President of the US, George Washington, never slept here. The second President, John Adams, was the first occupant. The White House has undergone many changes over the years to the original structure, stop by the White House Visitors Center if you want to see how it developed (see next tip).
Most people will only see the White House from the outside, it is difficult to arrange for a tour in post 9/11 Washington.
The first time I visited Washington DC back in the early 1990s, I stood in line outside the White House and got to go in but now in order to visit you need to contact your Congressman. The attached website says tours are only for groups of 10 or more, my congressman's intern said it was possible to go with a smaller group if the congressman's office is able to assemble 10 or more people so it doesn't hurt to contact their office and see if you can get lucky. A minimum of 3 weeks is necessary for security clearance.
While The White House is no Buckingham Palace, it does lend an air of pastoral grace to its somewhat monumentalized surroundings. Oddly enough, its first inhabitant, Thomas Jefferson, is rumored to have lost a competition he entered incognito to design it to an relative unknown Irish immigrant. He later made many structural changes but the building standing today bears perhaps little resemblance to either as most it burned down during the War of 1812. It was during this reconstruction that it was painted white and over time garnered its moniker.
The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Tours of the White House are currently limited to parties of 10 or more people, requested through one’s Member of Congress and will be accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided group tours will be scheduled approximately one month before the requested date, from 7:30am to 11:30am Tuesday-Saturday, excluding Federal holidays. For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041. The National Park Service operates the White House Visitor Center, located at 15th and E Sts., NW, open daily from 7:30am until 4:00pm. Metro stop: McPherson Square
Most visitors to Washington will not be able to visit the White House because of security concerns but you can still visit the White House Visitor's Center for a virtual tour through the White House.
There is a video that shows the rooms in the White House and many displays on the Presidents, their families and the changes to the White House since it was built.
I never realized that the Oval Office, the room that is most well known and really a symbol of the presidency, was redecorated every time there is a new President. You can see the different styles in a series of pictures in the visitor center
It was originally constructed 1792-1800, the work of James Hoban. It was reconstructed in 1815 after being burned by British soldiers during the War of 1812. It has been the home of every president of the United States since John Adams. It was pure joy to able to finally see this in person. I didn't stand in line for the tour because it was freezing that day and the line was soooooo long. Yet, it was honoring to see where the Presidents of the United States of American live. Such a beautiful building and manicured gardens.
White House Tours
The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, D.C.
Tours of the White House have been expanded to include parties of 10 or more people, regardless of age or type of group, through one’s Member of Congress. Tour requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress and will be accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided group tours will be scheduled approximately one month before the requested date, from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday
The White House Visitor Center is located in the north end of the Department of Commerce Building between 14th & 15th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day
"They're only truly great who are truly good." George Chapman
Because you will not be able to tour the White House, (security concerns) I think that it's imperative to see The White House Visitor Center. It opened in 1995 to give visitors interpretive data about The White House and to serve as a ticket distribution center. Today, the ticket distribution function has been suspended.
The National Park Service runs this Visitor Center, which is a good thing because the staff is quite well informed. There is a 30-minute video about the White House that is called Within These Walls which gives you interior views of where the President and his family reside.
Also, you should pick up a copy of the National Park Service brochure on the White House. It tells you about the eight rooms that were on the tour. In addition, it gives a nice history of the White House.
I would suggest that you also take a look at the exhibits:
a. Architectural History of the White House
b. White House Interiors, Past and Present with photographs of the Oval Office from President Taft through President Clinton (now they may also have what's happened since President Bush)
c. Ceremony and Celebration which shows important White House events.
d. The Working White House about the vast staff of chefs, gardeners, servants, and Secret Service people.
e. First Families Tells interesting tales about the Presidents who lived here and their families.
f. Symbol and Image Portrayals of the White House through cartoons, politics, newspaper, magazines, TV, radio, artists, and photographers.
Closed on January 1, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day
Metro: Federal Triangle
The White House is Beautiful in the morning with the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. Terry & I got up rather early this morning and grabed a cup of coffee then started checking out the sights again. When we finally came across the White House it was like we found the golden goose, all weekend we kept missing it, this is because they have closed off all the streets so you need to park and walk to get a good view. Started to think they moved the White House!
As a Korean friend once said -- "that's Bushie's Apartment!"... referring, of course, to the White House, located at the most famous address in America: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Construction of the White House began in 1792 and was overseen by President Washington. President Adams was the first occupant of the White House in 1800. It was burned by the British in 1814, but the exterior stone walls survived. President Madison moved into the nearby Octagon House, where the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1815 to end the War of 1812, and the White House was well enough restored by 1817 that President Monroe was able to move in. Legend says that the White House was not given this name until it was painted white in 1817 to cover the soot stains from the British burning, but the White House has always been white, and may have been named after Martha Washington's home called White House Plantation. In the late 1800s it was suggested that the Presidential house be moved to Meridian Hill near present day Adams Morgan (party!), but that suggested was rejected by Congress. President Theodore Roosevelt had the famous West Wing constructed in 1901, and President Taft had the equally famous Oval Office constructed in 1909 (the Oval Office is not located at the central front, south side of the White House as many think, it is hidden from public view in the West Wing to the left by the also hidden Rose Garden).
Behind the White House is a large public square called Lafayette Park, with a statue of Lafayette surveying the White House. The park has hosted a racetrack, a graveyard, a zoo, a slave market, and an encampment for soldiers during the War of 1812. The current configuration dates from the 1950s and features a central statue of President Andrew Jackson, flanked by statues of foreign Revolutionary War heroes: the Marquis de Lafayette of France, Comte de Rochambeau of France; Tadeusz Kościuszko of Poland, and Baron von Steuben of Prussia.
Just west of the White House is the Eisenhower Executive Office Building that was built between 1871 and 1888. It originally housed the Department of State, Department of War, and Department of the Navy, but they outgrew the space by the 1930s. Today this massive National Historic Landmark is home to the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget, and the National Security Council. Tours are available on Saturday mornings with advance reservation.
Tour requests for the White House must be made through your Congressman, and are free of charge, but must be made well in advance, especially during the summer tourist season.
home to united state's presidents for over 200 years. the white house is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. in 1790 george washington ordered it's construction and the building was designed by james hoban. in 1800 president john adams became it's first occupant. the building was burned by the british in 1814 and was re-occupied by president james monroe in 1817. theodore roosevelt changed the name of executive mansion to the white house in 1901. in 1902 roosevelt ordered the addition of the west wing to the white house. in 1942 the east wing was added during the presidency of franklin d. roosevelt completing the structure that is seen today. because of the events of 9/11/2001 to view the interior of the white house you must book a tour in advance. contact your U.S. congressman or for foreign visitors your embassy to arrange a tour.
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
Actually, you really can't say hello to George. Even though the White House used to give free tours to the public, these days you'll be lucky if you can even get close enough to it to see what it looks like. The section of Pennsylvania Avenue where the White House is situated is blocked off from all traffic and heavily guarded by secret service agents 24 hours a day. When I was there, they even had a large portion of the Elipse (the park that abuts the White House's South Lawn) closed to all foot traffic.
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.
The President's Home :)
The White House has a unique and fascinating history. It survived a fire at the hands of the British in 1814 (during the war of 1812) and another fire in the West Wing in 1929, while Herbert Hoover was President. Throughout much of Harry S. Truman’s presidency, the interior of the house, with the exception of the third floor, was completely gutted and renovated while the Trumans lived at Blair House, right across Pennsylvania Avenue. Nonetheless, the exterior stone walls are those first put in place when the White House was constructed two centuries ago.
Tours of the Whitehouse have been restricted due to the current situation in the world... but, they are opening it up for tours for some groups etc.. unfortunately, the openess of the Whitehouse to individuals will always be determined by what ever the current threats are in the world.
* There are 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, and 6 levels to accommodate all the people who live in, work in, and visit the White House. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 7 staircases, and 3 elevators.
* At various times in history, the White House has been known as the "President's Palace," the "President's House," and the "Executive Mansion." President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.
* For recreation, the White House has a variety of facilities available to its residents, including a tennis court, a jogging track, swimming pool, movie theater, billiard room, and a bowling lane.