More money passes through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington DC than most people make in a lifetime. At this federal agency managed by the US Department of the Treasury, visitors can see the country’s paper money being printed, learn about counterfeit currency, and explore how paper money has been made more secure.
A visit to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing involves a free tour, where visitors can see millions of dollars being printed on the production floor. An introductory film outlines the printing process, and a gift shop sells a variety of currency products.
The bureau is part of several Washington DC tours, including half-day and day trips, and hop-on hop-off bus and Segway tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a must-see for currency collectors, budget travelers, and anyone curious about the US currency system.
- All visitors to the bureau are required to go through security screening.
- The tour is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available upon request.
- Photography is not allowed inside the tour gallery.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to the bureau is to take the metro Blue or Orange Line to the Smithsonian station. The building is about a block away from the Independence Avenue/Bureau of Engraving and Printing exit. The Old Town Trolley Orange Loop also stops near the bureau at the intersection of Independence Avenue and 12th Street.
When to Get There
Tours are only available on weekdays. Since a limited number of tickets are available each day, it’s a good idea to show up a few minutes before the bureau opens to avoid disappointment.
Where Our Currency Comes From
Not all US currency comes from this Washington bureau. While the facility remains the largest producer of government security documents, the Washington DC location now shares responsibilities with another facility in Fort Worth. You won’t see coins being made at either location; that’s the job of the United States Mint.