This post is about the White House Visitor Center and what you can find inside. It is a good option if you are unable to obtain tickets to visit inside the White House.
After an extensive revamping, the White House Visitor Center is open again to the public. The restoration work took over 2 years and cost $12.5 million, much of which came from private donations through the White House Historical Association. There are over 90 new artifacts on display, many of which have never before been on display.
What to see inside the White House Visitor Center
The White House Visitor Center is rather large so you should allow any where from 30 minutes to 1 hour for your visit here.
Within the White House Visitor Center, you can watch a 14 minute film that takes you inside the White House and the lives of the First Families. Even though this theater is in the back of the visitor center, we recommend watching it first. You’ll find the theatre section all the way to the left when you walk in.
If you cannot get tickets to tour inside the White House or did get tickets but really wanted to touch something – there are interactive exhibits of the White House that lets you tour inside and 3D models that you’re encouraged to touch. Throughout the visitor center are lifesize photographs of the White House through various administrations.
Some of our favorite exhibits from the White House of years past:
How To Get to the White House Visitor Center
The Visitor Center is located a few blocks from the White House, on the corner of 15th and E, which is the ground floor of the Department of Commerce building. The address is: 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. (map)
Parking near the White House Visitor Center will be limited as many of the street parking in the area is restricted to federal employees, bus parking, or subject to rush hour restrictions. We recommend not planning on driving but if you must, there are parking garages nearby that offer day rates.
The White House Visitor Center is easy to get to on public transportation. The two closest stations (Metro Center, Federal Triangle) are both about 7 minute walk.
White House Visitor Center from Metro Center:
Metro Center is on the Blue/Orange/Silver/Red lines and one of the main stations downtown. It has a few exits and all are an easy walk to the White House Visitor Center but the closest is 13th and G St NW. Once you exit the station, head south down 13th Street until you reach Pennsylvania Ave NW and turn right. The White House Visitor Center entrance will be on your left.
From Federal Triangle:
Federal Triangle is on the Blue/Orange/Silver lines. It only has one exit which is in the center of the courtyard of the Reagan International Center office complex. If you head towards the courtyard, you’ll see Pennsylvania Ave NW to your right. Turn left on Pennsylvania Ave NW and the Visitor Center will be on your left.
The White House Visitor Center entrance is a little conspicuous so keep an eye out for the sign on the blue awning.
The entrance to the White House Visitor Center is on Pennsylvania Ave NW, just before you get to 15th St NW and across the street from Pershing Park.
The White House Visitor Center is just a few blocks from the start of our National Mall tour and is a great option for something to do before our tour begins.
White House Visitor Center Gift Shop
The White House Visitor Center has a great gift shop. Here you can get the official White House Christmas Ornament!
There is also a gift shop at 701 15th St NW called White House Gifts. Here can take a photo of yourself sitting behind a replica of the Presidential desk in the Oval Office!