White House

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Architectural Facts About The White House

The architecture of the White House is classical while regal, honoring royal British and ancient Greek times. In a neoclassical and Palladian style, the presidential residence has seen many changes throughout its history.

  • The Men Behind The House

    1. The Men Behind The House

    The inspiration for the building came from the only president that didn’t live there, George Washington, who designed it like an English country house with architect James Hoban.

  • The First Resident

    2. The First Resident

    John Adams moved into the White House in 1800 for just 4 short months at the end of his term. With over 100 rooms, Adams frequently commented the residence was "too big."

  • Fire in 1814

    3. Fire in 1814

    In the War of 1812, British troops marched to Washington and set the White House ablaze, destroying everything but the outer walls. Hoban restored it by 1817.

  • How The White House Was Named

    4. How The White House Was Named

    The building was first painted white after the fire. Although commonly called the “White House,” it wasn’t official until 1902 when Theodore Roosevelt made it so.

  • Withstanding The Test of Time

    5. Withstanding The Test of Time

    Despite a second great fire, the same outer walls and classical style that Hoban designed remain intact today -- a cultural icon that has withstood over 200 years.

Planning Your Visit

  • Inside the White House

    Tours through the White House are in fact available. The tour is free and self-guided, but requires quite a bit of planning in advance. It’s required to apply through your member of Congress or foreign U.S. Embassy 6 months to 21 days in advance. Find your representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

  • When You Can’t Plan Ahead

    Alternatively, if timing doesn’t allow, the White House Visitor Center at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. is open 7 days a week until 4:00PM. Here you’ll find exhibits and more information on this history behind the building and its legendary residents.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Tues - Thurs 7:30AM to 11:30AM. Fri - Sat 7:30AM to 1:30PM.
  • Is it expensive?
    Free!
  • Will I need a guide?
    Nope! Hard as it is to believe, you can roam the White House alone!
  • How to get there
    Take the Metrorail to Federal Triangle or Metro Center.
  • Additional information
    There are a number of prohibited items so be sure to take a gander at the rules and regulations before you visit.

What people are saying about White House

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 3,740 reviews

Tyrone was the tour guide and Chris was the driver. Chris did a great job maneuvering the traffic, parking in convenient locations for our stop and being very helpful with our ingress/egress. Tyrone was excellent with his historical knowledge and facts as well as very personable. He also was extremely helpful with our ingress and egress ensuring our safety. He was also very helpful by taking our pictures in perfect locations. We highly recommend these individuals and company.

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Our guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. We were late and with the help of the Guide Your Guide app we were able to notify them and they waited for us 7 minutes. Everything was beautiful at night. I definitely recommend this tour.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and attentive to our group during the walking tour. The bus was clean and the driver was professional. The water was a nice addition. Highly recommend!

Our guide was excellent. He was knowledgeable, friendly and a perfect host. We could not have asked for a more wonderful experience and guide.