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“Money...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
300 14th St SW, Washington DC, DC 20228
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Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Owner description: Headquartered in D.C., this is where money is printed.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

We were not able to get tour tickets from our Senator, but we got there at 9:15, and was able to go straight into the9:30 tour. Tour guide was funny with corny jokes! It was very tiresome walking around the building for tickets when there wasn't even a line. Good tour, glad we went!

Visited June 2013
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Idaho Falls, Idaho
Level Contributor
45 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Don't Overlook This One”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

This building is slightly off of the Mall, and would be easy to overlook, but don't--especially if you are travelling with kids. The tour was interesting to our entire group, and the sheets of money being printed were fairly mesmerizing. The tour is understandable and engaging to all ages.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Williamsburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
100 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Such a hassle to get tickets”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013

We got down to the building before 8 to stand in line (on a cold and wet Friday at the end of May) for tickets. It was a hassle to get there because if you go on the non-ticket booth side of the building, you can't cut over because of the traffic pattern. Thankfully, a security guard let me cut through an alley. Then, my FIL got the tickets for 1045, which meant we had to kill 2.5 hours until the tour, and with the car in a parking garage, we didn't want to move it. So we sat in a McDonald's and a hotel lobby for 2.5 hours. (We were just glad we were inside because it was so yucky!) So by the time we took the 30-40 minute tour, the whole process took 4 hours or so. It was a good tour, but it wasn't THAT good! I don't think I would do it again--the ticket procurement process is just too much of a hassle!

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
52 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“Very Interesting, but not Everyone Will Agree”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

The BEP tour may not be the most dynamic attraction in Washington, DC, but for those interested in the history and printing methods of money it can be very interesting. For those not interested in these things it might be a bit boring. Below I've listed some comments about the tour and some tips that I hope will help others decide if this tour is right for their group.

As with all attractions in the heart of DC what time of year you visit will impact how you arrange a tour. Tours of the BEP are by timed ticket (or appointment) only. The tickets are free (don’t let anyone sell you a ticket). During the busy Summer months a line forms early (6 or 7 AM) in the morning on the tidal basin side of the building to pick-up free tickets starting at 8AM for tours starting at 9AM. The time of your tour depends on the times available when you reach the front of the line and your preferance. During non-busy periods you can get tickets directly from the tour entrance on the other side of the building (a bit confusing at times), with little or no waiting. You then return at your tour time. An alternative for those who wish to plan ahead, a quick e-mail to your Congressman or Senators Office can reserve a special tour either early in the day or late in the day, but you will not have to wait in line for tickets. With these tours you walk right up to the tour entrance and enter. We have done this a couple of times. What a time saver (not to mention less time waiting outside in the heat during the summer) if you are able to plan ahead!

Once you arrive for your tour you go through the standard Washington security screening (you will get used to it everywhere you go, dress and pack to make the process easier. I put everything in a side pack and then just drop it on the x-ray belt and walk through the metal detector, easy no fumbling through pockets). You then enter a walkway with some exhibits about the history of the BEP. For us the highlight is to get your picture with 1 million dollars in 10-dollar bills (it takes up more space than you might think). After everyone gathers there is a short film about the BEP history. Note at this point they will offer you a chance to use the restroom (a good deal if you have been waiting in line a couple of hours). Cameras are allowed on the tour, but you are not allowed to take pictures.

Your tour guide will then take you through a wandering hallway overlooking one of the 22 lines printing money in the building. They will take you through the process from start to finish pointing out interesting and key points in the process. From our past experience it is a bit of a hit and miss what you will see. We have gone through sometimes and have seen almost no production and other times we have seen 100-dollar bills be printed by the pallet load. Our favorite part is to see full pallets of money containing 10's of millions of dollars. The kids really love this part, WOW. Although your guide can make the tour interesting, the topic is still just printing so you will have to make a call if it is worth it or not based on your taste.

The tour lasts ~30 minutes and then they let you loose in the gift shop where you can purchase money and other items (no free samples).

In conclusion the tour of the BEP has always been on our DC list of thing to do, but may not be for everyone since the topic of printing is not always dynamic and interactive (green ink first, then black over top, wait for it to dry etc). Also, depending on when and how you visit, it may take significantly longer to get tickets than the entire tour time. We recommend it, but you are going to have to make the call if it is right for you. Enjoy or maybe not.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
77 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Must see”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013 via mobile

Whilst touring a printing press doesn't sound much fun, our tour guide Dan was absolutely outstanding. Not only did he have a great way of delivering what the Bureau did, he answered all our questions. You can skip the queues by getting tickets through your Congressman.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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