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.

Other Sightseeing Options in White House

Want to discover all there is to do in White House? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about White House

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,831 reviews

There were six of us celebrating a 73rd birthday. This was the best tour of DC that was slightly modified due to road closures (March in for Voting Rights) and the 58th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. What an amazing piece of history we experienced. Our tour guide was so informative and friendly. We would definitely do this tour again! Highly recommend!!

Brittney was an excellent tour guide. She was very knowledgeable and made sure everyone was having a good time. Thomas was a great driver. They also made sure there was cold water on the bus which was much appreciated as it was a hot day.

Very enjoyable experience. Perfect for this weather. We were able to see and learn fascinating things about our important monuments, without struggling with the oppressive heat. Highly recommended.

It was a very enjoyable and comfortable way to see a number of important historical sights. We were well taken care by our guide and driver with punctual stops and plenty of information.

We had a great time! Emily was a great guide! It was a lot easier than we thought it would be. A really fun way to see the city.