White House Tours
Public tours of the White House are available for groups of 10 or more people. Requests must be submitted through one's Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (excluding federal holidays), and are scheduled on a first come, first served basis approximately one month in advance of the requested date. We encourage you to submit your request as early as possible since a limited number of tours are available. All White House tours are free of charge. For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041. Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.
For two hundred years, the White House has stood as a symbol of the Presidency, the United States government, and the American people. Construction began when the first cornerstone was laid in October of 1792. Although President Washington oversaw the construction of the house, he never lived in it. It was not until 1800, when the White House was nearly completed, that its first residents, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail, moved in. Since that time, each President has made his own changes and additions. The White House is, after all, the President's private home. It is also the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, free of charge.
The White House has a unique and fascinating history. It survived a fire at the hands of the British in 1814 (during the war of 1812) and another fire in the West Wing in 1929, while Herbert Hoover was President. Throughout much of Harry S. Truman's presidency, the interior of the house, with the exception of the third floor, was completely gutted and renovated while the Trumans lived at Blair House, right across Pennsylvania Avenue. Nonetheless, the exterior stone walls are those first put in place when the White House was constructed two centuries ago.
At various times in history, the White House has been known as the "President's Palace," the "President's House," and the "Executive Mansion." President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.