White House

The home of every U.S. president except George Washington, the site of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue was selected in June 1791. The design for the Presidential Mansion (as it was originally called) was decided by a contest, and the winner was James Hoban, a native of Ireland. Designed to be far larger and grander than it is, the building of the Presidential Mansion began in October 1792 and was finished in 1800.

The first president to live in the White House, which, surprisingly, was originally painted yellow, was John Adams. British soldiers captured and burned the building during the War of 1812 when James Madison was in office. Reconstruction was completed in 1817, and President James Monroe and his family were able to move into the building, which was now painted white, as it is today. In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt designated that the nickname for the mansion would now be its official name, the White House.

Touring the White House requires some advance planning. Public tour requests must be made through your member of Congress and submitted up to three months in advance and no less than 21 days prior to your visit. Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All White House tours are free.

For more information on how to tour the White House, please visit https://washington.org/DC-faqs-for-visitors/how-can-i-tour-white-house

Metro Station
Federal Triangle, McPherson Square
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

(202) 456-7041 / (202) 208-1643 fax