Getting tickets to tour the White House will require some planning ahead. Once you've determined the days you will be visiting Washington DC, contact your member of Congress and request tickets to tour the White House. I would suggest contacting both of your Senators and your Representative. Some have a more diligent staff than others. Most of this is handled by interns.
1. Determine the dates you will be visiting DC.
2. Contact your Member of Congress and request tickets during the days you will be in town. Provide them with a couple of date options.
Senators here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Representatives here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
3. When they finally get back to you, which may take months, be prepared to provide the congressional staff with your date of birth and social security number and those of anyone in your traveling party.
4. These tickets are generally not sent out until a week or two before your scheduled visit. If you haven't heard back from your Member of Congress, call their office and follow-up with a staffer. They will have a better handle on what is available by then.
5. Tours are provided to groups of 10 or more, but do not worry if your traveling party doesn't meet that requirement. Your Member of Congress will try and pair you up with other tourists who are also visiting during the same days you are.
Prohibited Items That You Cannot Take With You On Your White House Tour:
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, the following: handbags, book bags, backpacks, purses, food and beverages of any kind, strollers, cameras, video recorders or any type of recording device, tobacco products, personal grooming items (make-up, hair brush or comb, lip or hand lotions, etc.), any pointed objects (pens, knitting needles, etc.), aerosol containers, guns, ammunition, fireworks, electric stun guns, mace, martial arts weapons/devices, or knives of any size. The U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items. Umbrellas, wallets, cell phones and car keys are permitted.
Please note that no storage facilities are available on or around the complex. Individuals who arrive with prohibited items will not be permitted to enter the White House.
Storage Lockers Near The White House
Public tours of the White House are available. Requests must be submitted through one's Member of Congress and are accepted up to six months in advance. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Fridays, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays (excluding federal holidays). Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 30 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible since a limited number of tours are available. All White House tours are free of charge. For the most current tour information, please call the 24-hour line at 202-456-7041. Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.
If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, please contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.
White House Visitor Center
All tours are significantly enhanced if visitors stop by the White House Visitor Center located at the southeast corner of 15th and E Streets, before or after their tour. The Center is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and features many aspects of the White House, including its architecture, furnishings, first families, social events, and relations with the press and world leaders, as well as a thirty-minute video. Allow between 20 minutes to one hour to explore the exhibits. The White House Historical Association also sponsors a sales area. Please note that restrooms are available, but food service is not.
Mobility-Impaired / Wheelchairs
Visitors scheduled for tours who require the loan of a wheelchair should notify the officer at the Visitors Entrance upon arrival. Unfortunately, reservations are not possible. Visitors in wheelchairs, or with other mobility disabilities, use the same Visitors Entrance and are escorted by ramp from the entrance level to the Ground floor, and by the elevator from the Ground floor to the State floor.
Tours for hearing-impaired groups of ten or more may be requested through one’s Member of Congress. The Visitors Office TDD (telephone device for the deaf) is 202-456-2121.
Tours for visually-impaired groups of ten or more may be requested through one’s Member of Congress. Guide animals are permitted in the White House.
General Tour Information
All visitors should call the 24-hour Visitors Office information line at 202-456-7041 to determine if any last minute changes have been made in the tour schedule.
Parking And Transportation Near the White House
The closest Metrorail stations to the White House are Federal Triangle (blue and orange lines), Metro Center (blue, orange, and red lines) and McPherson Square (blue and orange lines). On-street parking is not available near the White House, and use of public transportation is strongly encouraged.
The nearest restrooms and public telephones to the White House are in the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion (the park area south of the White House) and in the White House Visitor Center. Restrooms or public telephones are not available at the White House.