Touring the White House

Hallie Gardner

Because I am lucky enough to live with a White House intern, I was able to snag a last-minute tour at the Obama residence. Having been to D.C. before and now living here, I’ve seen the White House several times, but just the outside of it. I’ve taken the usual tourist pictures through the fence and posed for selfies while trying to capture the South Lawn in the background. However, being able to actually step foot inside the home was a pretty memorable experience and it’s definitely something I would recommend if you’re ever in the D.C. area.

white house
White House Tour. Photo credit: Hallie Gardner

Since September 11th, security has clamped down on White House tours. As of now, requests need to be submitted through Members of Congress. Now, this isn’t quite as daunting as it may seem. For all you Fort Collins folk, contact Jared Polis. If you live elsewhere, you can use the handy dandy “Find Your Representative” page here. You simply send your Representative an email requesting a tour and they will respond with available dates. According to the White House page, requests can be submitted up to 6 months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance.


All tours are self-guided and I would recommend reading up on all of the different rooms and history. My intern friend was a great resource and shared all kinds of fun facts with us. Here are a few things I learned:

There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 28 fireplaces.

Most of the artwork is strategically placed. First Lady Dolley Madison saved the famous portrait of George Washington before the fire in 1814. Now, through the hallway of several rooms, paintings of Mrs. Madison and George Washington face each other.

With the partnering of the Google Art Project, you can now take a virtual 360 tour of the house from your computer! Click here to see The White House for yourself.

Hallie Gardner can be reached at and on her twitter page @gardner_hallie.