How to Tour the White House and U.S. Capitol

In order to supplement your tour of the city when visiting Washington, DC, you may also want to tour inside some of the nation’s capital’s most prominent buildings. There is some important information you should know when planning your trip in order to make sure you can schedule all of the tours you’d like. Here are some important details that will make booking your visit to the White House and Capitol much easier.

The White House

Scheduling Your Tour of the White House

The National Park Service that oversees many of the monuments and memorials in DC does not provide tickets to enter the White House or schedule tours of the building. Thus, to schedule a tour, you must submit a request through a Member of Congress. A list of representatives with contact information can be found on this page of the House of Representatives website where you can go through the directory and request a public tour.

These free self guided public tours are normally available on Fridays and Saturdays excluding federal holidays. These tours are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis and it is recommended that you submit your request as early as possible as spots are limited. You can submit your request up to 3 months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance.

Preparing for Your Tour

Downloading the White House Experience App provides an accessible and educational way to explore the White House on your self guided tour.

What to Bring:

  • Valid government issued photo ID
    • Note that all information submitted must match the ID you bring
      Acceptable forms of identification include government issued US identification cards like a drivers license, military ID, etc. or valid US or other official government issued passports

The National Park Service website outlines items that are prohibited and those that are permitted in the White House. Make sure to look over these items as there is no storage space within the building to hold your belongings during your tour, and those with prohibited items will be turned away.

The National Park Service website also has useful and important information about accessibility accommodations for those with mobility, hearing, and vision impairments. It is also important to call the Visitors Office at 202-456-7041 to see if any last minute changes have been made to the tour schedule, especially as tours of the White House are subject to last minute cancellations as well. For more information about touring the White House, visit here.

The U.S. Capitol

The Capitol building is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. If you’re looking to see the area and the beautifully lit Capitol building at night in addition to touring within the building, make sure to book one of our stress free, educational, and fun golf cart tours down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol and through the heart of the National Mall where you can see various monumental landmarks, memorials, and other sites that show the interesting details of the nation’s capital.

Scheduling Your Tour of the US Capitol

Tours must be scheduled in advance on the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center website’s scheduling page. The tours are free and do not include the Senate and House Galleries. The Visitor Center is open on weekdays from 9am to 3pm.

Preparing for Your Tour

On the day of your tour, you can enter through the Capitol Visitor Center which is underground on the east side of the Capitol building. There are temporary exhibits, a gift shop, and a cafe here. The Visitor Center website recommends that you arrive early as you will need to go through security. Make sure to also read over the list of prohibited items before you visit as well. To request accessibility accommodations to participate in a Virtual Capitol Tour, email no less than 48 hours before your tour. For more tour information and for a map of the U.S. Capitol building campus, visit here.