White House tours
*** The Embassy is unable to facilitate or arrange tours of the White House for members of the Australian public.
Although the White House website states that tours can be arranged by the Embassy, we are unable to facilitate tours for members of the Australian public due to excessive demand for limited availability and White House requirements.
Tours parties must be escorted by a very senior diplomat; be coordinated and cleared far in advance by the Embassy, the US Department of State and the White House; are limited to a maximum of 5 visitors per tour; and are subject to cancellation at short notice.
This advice is reviewed regularly and remains current. ***
Further details can be found on The White House website.
Other attractions in Washington DC include the iconic US Capitol Building and National Mall, the city’s many famous monuments and memorials, the world-class Smithsonian Institution museums, galleries and National Zoo, the National Archives and Arlington National Cemetery.
The National Park Service (NPS) arranges tours of many of these sites, as well as others in and around the city.
For further information and ideas, visit https://washington.org/.
Visiting Washington DC
Whatever you decide to see and do while you're here, plan ahead. Washington DC is one of the most visited cities in the United States. Long lines and large crowds are common, particularly on holiday weekends (e.g. Memorial Day weekend and 4 July) and during peak tourist season (March to August).
Below are some other things to keep in mind when visiting Washington DC:
- As in most major cities, tourists are often targets for thieves. This can happen anywhere but is particularly prevalent in crowded areas and on public transport. Pay close attention to your personal belongings and carry with you only what you need.
- Stay vigilant and take particular care when moving through unfamiliar and/or potentially unsafe areas, particularly at night. (Visit Smartraveller to read our full Travel Advice for the United States.)
- While admission to many attractions is free, some require you to apply ahead of time for tickets or timed-entry passes. Demand often means that these tickets or passes need to be booked months in advance. Check the websites of attractions that you plan to visit for further information.
- Many public buildings and US government facilities allow entry to US citizens only (e.g. the Pentagon);
- Public buildings and many other venues require you to present government-issued photo ID upon entry. Carry your passport with you, as other forms of Australian government-issued ID (eg. driver’s licences) may not be accepted.
- Expect airport-style security screening when entering public buildings and other venues. This may include x-ray inspections and bag searches. Arrive early and allow extra time for screening.
- Many venues prohibit entry with certain everyday items, including backpacks, handbags and umbrellas. If you plan to carry anything more than a wallet, cell phone and car keys, check the websites of venues that you plan on attending.
Enjoy your visit!