The stately house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW has been the home of every U.S. president except George Washington and also serves as a museum of American history. Originally called the Presidential Mansion, the White House was burned down during the War of 1812 and then rebuilt in 1817. In its earlier years, the house was actually yellow. It was President Theodore Roosevelt who officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.
You can tour the White House but it does take some planning in advance. Request a tour through your member of Congress up to three months ahead of your trip and no less than 21 days prior to your visit. Tours are free, and issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
The White House Visitor Center
Can’t get tickets to the house or don’t want to bother? The White House Visitor Center is an experience in itself. with interactive exhibits, a large-scale model of the White House, historical artifacts, museum galleries, videos of photos and archival footage, a temporary exhibit area, and the White House Historical Association retail shop. It’s a window into the White House world.
The White House Garden Tour
The oldest continually maintained landscape in the United States, the White House Garden offers tours in the spring and fall, usually April and October. Guests have the opportunity to see the two formal gardens, the Rose Garden near the West Wing and the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden near the East Wing, as well as the Kitchen Garden that was planted in 2009. You can also view many of the ornamental trees planted by former presidents.
Tickets are free, just find a park ranger at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 15th Street NW to get yours.