White House Visit: Need to Know

Recently, we found out our application to visit the White House was accepted. I immediately started researching for the big day and couldn’t find a lot of specifics. If you’ve added the White House to your must-see list, then keep reading. I’m going to share everything you need to know.

To get on the guestlist, you’ll need to apply through your state Representative. Tours are scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. Requests can be submitted up to 90 days in advance, but no less than 21 days. Be sure to plan!

When you arrive, you’ll need to head to the tour entrance. It isn’t marked, at all. It is directly across from the W hotel. Security will direct you toward the checkpoint tents. You’ll need a government-issued ID. Make sure you check the list of items you aren’t allowed to bring. We decided not to bring the kids because strollers aren’t allowed.

About halfway through the self-guided tour, there is a small kiosk of items for purchase. We brought home a book about the White House for the kids and a beautiful Christmas ornament.

The tour was shorter than we expected. The Red Room was my favorite, and it was cool to see the room where a few of the Presidents’ daughters have gotten married.

There are two great spots to stop for a photo op. We waited in a short line and passed our phones around so everyone got their photo together. I loved posing on the steps where the President and First Lady receive guests.

We decided to do this kid-free, but we were surrounded by Boy Scout troops and families.
It is a kid-friendly experience.

The tour took about 45 minutes, then we walked to a nearby Starbucks to enjoy a hot cup of coffee together. It is a rare occurrence when you have three little ones!
Please let me know if you have additional questions about visiting the White House and taking the self-guided tour. I’m happy to help.


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