As the Associated Press reports, free tours of the iconic executive mansion were suspended when Pres. Joe Biden took office in January 2021, in accordance with Covid guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (After canceling tours at the start of the pandemic in 2020, the residence’s previous occupant had resumed tours in September 2021, in accordance with wishful thinking.)
White House tours have been offered to the public on Friday and Saturday mornings only since the middle of April. But starting on July 19, public tours will take place from 8am to 12:30pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays, excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted.
Areas open during tours include public rooms in the East Wing (such as the Blue Room, Red Room, and Green Room), the State Dining Room, and the China Room. You get a view of the Rose Garden, too.
Tours are self-guided, but Secret Service members are stationed in each room and can answer questions about the history and architecture of the place.
Though the walk-throughs are free of charge, tour requests must be submitted through a member of Congress—either your Senator or Representative in the House. Find your reps and their contact info at Congress.gov. (Don’t want to see the White House? Maybe there’s another matter you’d like your legislators to do something about. Lord knows we can think of a few things.)
White House tour requests must be made no more than 90 days and no less than 21 days in advance. Tour slots are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Go to WhiteHouse.gov to see ID requirements, a list of items you can’t bring, and other useful information.
If you can’t snag a time slot or can’t fit a tour into your schedule, stop by the White House Visitor Center (also free admission) to learn more about the history of the building, its day-to-day workings, and its many, many pieces of cutlery.
In its announcement, the White House states that it reserves the right to adjust the tour schedule based on Covid-19 developments. If, within 10 days of your scheduled tour, you test positive for the virus, experience symptoms, or come into close contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have Covid, you should stay home.
Masks will be available for tourgoers but will not be required.