On Jan.20, what former White House usher Gary Walters once called a “very well-organized ballet choreography,” took place in just five short hours within 132 rooms of the White House as the Obama family departed and the Trumps made 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. their new “home on loan.” The famous Washington, D.C. address, the national landmark where American presidents live and work, belongs to all American citizens.
If you’ve considered a trip to the White House, here are nine things you should know before visiting your piece of American history and culture:
- White House tours are free of charge.
- A visit to the White House always requires some advanced planning.
- Tours must be scheduled through your member of Congress no less than 21 days before your visit and can be scheduled up to three months in advance. Find your member of Congress contact info here.
- The White House is closed to tours on Sundays and Mondays.
- Tours are directed on a first-come, first-served basis.
- You should expect to submit to a security check and present your identification.
- The tour lasts approximately one hour. You’ll visit 10 public rooms on the ground and first floor.
- Visitors will discover the history of the house, see furnishings and artwork, and hear stories of those who lived there.
- You can take selfies. Until 2015, only official White House photographers were allowed to take pictures inside the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama authorized visitors to take pictures during their White House tour.
For more about the guided tour, click here.