Taking White House tours may be the most common activity visitors to Washington, D.C. want to do when they get to the nation's capitol. 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the address of the White House, is not just any address, after all. People flock to it from all over the country and all over the world on a daily basis hoping to catch a glimpse inside. And while many people don't realize they can do more than get just a glimpse and take an actual tour, they don't know how easy it is to make that happen.
Getting tickets to tour the White House isn't impossible at all. In fact, it's pretty easy. But it will require some planning. Once you've determined what days you will be visiting D.C., contact your member of Congress and request tickets to tour the White House. Tours are self-guided and begin at 7:30 a.m., running until 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Time Required: At least a month before your intended tour but no more than six months in advance
- Determine the dates you will be traveling to D.C., and make sure it's still at least a month away from your intended arrival.
- Contact your Member of Congress and request tickets during the days you will be in town. Provide them with a couple of date options. The more flexible you are and the more dates you provide, the more likely you are to be able to get a tickets.
- As the day of your departure for Washington nears, if you haven't heard back from your Congressman or woman, call his or her office and follow up with a staffer. Sometimes a simple phone call is all it takes, and you'll be all set for your tour. Be sure to ask if your request was received and when you can expect a response. Sometimes you'll be given instructions as to what you'll need to do next. Sometimes you'll be told you can't get tickets for the dates you requested, but at least you will have tried.
- Tours are provided to groups of 10 or more people, but don't worry if your traveling party doesn't quite meet that requirement. Your Member of Congress could try and pair you up with other tourists who are also visiting during the same days you are.
- When the Congressional office contacts you to arrange the tour, be prepared to provide the congressional staff with your date of birth and social security number and those of anyone in your traveling party.
- Be as flexible as you can be with regard to dates and times to increase your chances of getting on a tour.
- Don't wait too long to request tickets. The farther ahead you can plan your visit, the better your chances of getting tickets for a White House tour will be.