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  • Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Hours: White House Visitor Center: 7:30am - 4pm every day
  • Admission: Free

Unlike many sites of similar caliber, the White House feels more uplifting than somber. Maybe that’s because this is, at the end of the day, a home as well as symbol. Every U.S president since John Adams has made this 132-room mansion his home. Its stature has grown through the years: no longer a mere residence, it's now the central icon of the American presidency.

Inside the house, highlights include the Gold-and-White East Room, where presidential receptions, weddings, and other galas are held; the Green Room, which was Thomas Jefferson's dining room but today is used as a sitting room; and the Oval Blue Room, the setting for the White House Christmas tree. Other rooms are the Red Room, which is used as a reception room, primarily for afternoon teas, and the State Dining Room, where state dinners and luncheons are held.

Getting inside the White House can be tough. The grounds, however, are occasionally opened for special events such as Tee-ball on the South Lawn and the Easter Egg Roll, held every Easter Monday for kids aged three to six.

Practical Info

The White House is one of the core D.C. attractions, and it’s only a couple of blocks away from the National Mall. Visits to the White House are extremely limited - you must reserve a space months in advance - so spontaneous visits are not an option.

In lieu of visiting the White House itself, visitors can browse exhibits, watch historic reenactments and take a video tour at the Visitors Center in Malcolm Baldrige Hall of the Department of Commerce building. It's obviously not the same as seeing the real deal first-hand, but it does provide an overview of the building's history, as well as fun anecdotes about the presidential families (and pets!) who have graced its halls.

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