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February 09, 2010

How to Tour the White House

By Lacy Morris

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White House (Photodisc)
The White House, Washington, D.C. (Photodisc)

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is not only home to President Obama and the first family but the hub of all political activity taking place in America right now. Tickets to see the guts of George Washington's brainchild (coincidentally he was the only president never to live in it) are almost as illusive as scoring front-row seats to the Super Bowl. But with a bit of persistence (read: annoyance) the 132-room executive mansion is yours to explore (read: self-guide yourself through about a quarter of it with a high level of security keeping a close eye). The first step to the big house is to be willing to plan your trip to the Nation's Capital around your White House tour; the best way to get tickets is to have flexible visiting dates. With a date in mind, contact your Member of Congress to request tickets. It is best to do this as far in advance as possible, though they only accept requests six months prior to your travel date. The response time is sometimes slow, so follow up with your Congress member with emails and phone calls. Persistence pays off. Tours are regularly only booked for groups of ten or more, though encourage your Congress member to pair you with other small groups during you initial email. The tours are free of charge but not spared from being subjected to last-minute cancellations.

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Did pay off to bug them to death over the tickets to tour. Two people in party. We received tickets with a small group as suggested. Elizabeth was a real help.

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