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“Would be nice to see it”
Review of White House

White House
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$28.00*
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Haunted Evening DC Pub Tour
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$95.00*
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Private Half Day Narrated Washington DC Tour
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$45.00*
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DC After Dark
Ranked #40 of 454 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: One of America's most recognizable historical and political symbols is also the home and office of the President of the United States.
Reviewed February 25, 2014

Unfortunately, visiting in February 2014, you cannot get very close to the White House at all. Bring a tele-photo lens for anything besides landscape photos. Also be warned, they are not allowing tours for anyone who is from outside the US. The state department is not letting international visitors in, which was a bit frustrating to discover. It may be great, I may never know.

4  Thank Racola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,635 - 3,639 of 6,316 reviews

Reviewed February 22, 2014

the building is beautiful but not much else to do apart from look at it!!! all in all a bit boring for a group of 15/16 yo students but it's now ticked off everyone's list

1  Thank LozLozz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I have taken the tour several times over the course of my life, and sad to say, the tour has deteriorated to the point that there are far better options out there for the first-timer. If you just absolutely need to have to say that you have been there, by all means go ahead, but again, a colossal disappointment awaits you.

In tours past, they were comprised of relatively small groups with a personal guide to walk you through the rooms. For the most part, the rooms have remained the same. So what makes it so bad now?

First, in a post 9/11 world, one can expect security measures to be more stringent. Fair enough, but for my taste, somewhat overkill. You must arrange tickets through your Representative months in advance to get a ticket for a predetermined time and date. You will have to provide your SSNs so they can run a preliminary background check on you. Fair enough.

When that oh so 'magical day' arrives, be prepared for security check running from anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Then your photo ID will be checked as your surrender your invitation card, going to another queue, followed by another ID check, followed by the dogs sniffing you, followed by a metal detector and an X-Ray. This must be quite the tour, you think to yourself!!

What follows for all your efforts is that you are moved along like cattle, the tour being self-guided and your first stop will be a series of hallways with various photographs, past and present. You will then be able to crane your neck into a room or two, but not allowed to go in. No one there to explain what you are seeing, just a placard on the floor.

Next you proceed to the East Room, which is impressive, given the history and such, but the room is empty so not much to see. Same for the dining room - just a table and chairs...nothing more.

In between said rooms are a group of three rooms, each roped off and monitored by Secret Service men who serve a dual role, watching for any infractions you may perform [more on that later], and answering any questions you may have. To their credit, they are quite knowledgeable on the rooms they are guarding, with the exception of that young man in the East Room, more preoccupied with piddling on his iPhone and the young man who knew little about the dining room where he was stationed.

There is a little souvenir cart along the way, but nothing notable. Outside the White House a block away, is a Visitor Center where you probably will fare better on the souvenir front.

Before you know, the tour you spent months planning for is over, and you are left with an empty feeling.

Again, if you have never been to a White House tour before, your bar may be lower but having seen how bad this tour is deteriorated, the provided compare/contrast may help you better to decide whether or not to bother.

In any case, forget taking photographs. Cameras are not permitted, nor food/water. There is no bathroom facilities, so do not drink coffee while in line. Purses, backpacks, anything you can imagine is basically prohibited. You can bring a cellphone, but if you use it, it is subject to confiscation by the Secret Service.

Save yourself a major disappointment and take pictures of the outside. Instead, put the time to better use and book an 'INTERN-guided' Tour through your State Representative [again, arrange through your Congressman's/Senator's office and NOT the U.S. Capitol website]. They will treat you like royalty, and you will see and learn a LOT of interesting things along the way.

And FINALLY, if you DO plan on going to both tours, do the White House and Capitol tours on separate days. That way you can at least bring a camera to one of them! :<)

14  Thank J S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

Contact your Senator to view the inside of the White House, they will make the reservations for you. I did this online and it was easy to arrange. The White House itself is beautiful with all the antiques and history. I love history so this type of event is at the top of my list. You can ask all the questions you want. We went during the snow storm so there were not many people. You will need to get there early to go through several security check points. The tour takes approximately 30 minutes but you will need to allow 1 to 1/2 hours for everything so that you do not feel rushed.

3  Thank HavingFunAt50Plus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2014

We viewed the White House, front and back, from the metal fence. Not many good spots for photo's with the fence and trees around the White House. Good to go see but it would have much better if tours inside or even the grounds of the White House was available. I don't know why, but tours were not available at all when we went. If tours are available, book in advance before your trip.

1  Thank Peterm5555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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