Visiting the White House

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Visiting the White House

This is an absolutely great experience but it’s mandatory to  plan ahead because the Secret Service must give  their approval.

Despite visiting Washington D.C. dozens of times, we had never been inside the White House.   All  the times we visited the White House was from outside, taking pictures through the gates!

This time  we checked the White House website in order to know  how to book a  visit.   As we are foreigners, the booking process had to be made thru the Brazilian Embassy in Washington D.C.

I  sent an email  to the Brazilian Embassy  telling them that we would like  to visit the White House.  We filled a form  with all information about passport numbers, address while in the USA   and the desired period for the visit. There’s a calendar and the closest date showing availability was more than  one month ahead.  I guess the period between the request and the actual visit  is long  because the Secret Service  must check   background and visitor’s intentions.

After approximately 45 days,  I got an email  from the Brazilian Embassy informing about the authorization and the date / time  for the visit.

Before entering the White House we went to the White House Visitors Center, located  across the street.  I highly recommend going to the  Visitors Center before  entering the White House.  You will learn many interesting things about the construction and the first residents.  There’s a free informative movie, which is excellent as well.  The movie starts with the First Lady Michelle Obama  welcoming you,  the visitor,  and finishes with the President telling you that for him its a pleasure to receive the public there. What a lovely couple they are!

After the film  we saw some pictures and paintings of the house and after that  we crossed the street in order to visit the most famous house of the United States, or perhaps the most famous house in the world: The White House.

It took a while to get in the house, as  we had to  present our documents  to the Secret Police  on two different locations.   If you are visiting the White House You can take your cell phone (that must be turned off)  and  no cameras are allowed inside.  It is also forbidden to carry  a backpack or even a small purse.   They don’t  have a place to store items, so you must go there with your documents inside your pocket and nothing else.

The White House is  great!  All security people on the roof and around!  You feel as if you are in the middle of a James Bond film!   There is no charge to visit the White House and it is a self guided  tour.  You just follow  the people  in front of you.  Every room has at least one  agent present, and if you have any questions they are very polite and will answer you.
You can visit the first and the second floors.  The third floor is where the President works,  and, of course,  no public is allowed there.

Two things that I found very  interesting:

  • All  work / renovation  that has been done to the White House is  a “light work” .  I read that  if George Washington  could come there  today,  he would recognize the White House immediately as it changed  very  little  since  it was constructed!
  • All the rooms  (Blue Room,  Red Room,  Library, etc)  are  kept exactly the same way since the former Presidents. No changes at all.    The elected  President  can modify  the style only on the third floor, where he and his family live.   The “public part” of the White House  is maintained  with the same decor and furniture since  ever.   The furniture is  superb and it impressed me  the very good taste of the decoration.   There are a lot of antiques (chairs, tables, vases, desks, piano)  arranged in a classic way.

Although  it is the most important building of the most important Country, there is no “luxury” ,  no “excess”   and no  “show off”  decoration.  The decor is simple and very beautiful.  I loved  all the rooms I saw there!

As you can guess my first language is not English 🙂 and I will receive any suggestions for vocabulary and grammar with pleasure! 🙂

Thanks and Happy Travels! 🙂


About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
This entry was posted in Travel, USA, Washington D.C.. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Visiting the White House

  1. Tony Li says:

    Cecilia, how exciting for you for visiting the White House. Would you be so kind to submit a review at Go to the About page to find out more on how to give the White House a move-in ready score. On behalf of future presidents, thank you.


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