White House and Capitol Building to Resume Tours in April
Two of Washington D.C.'s most important buildings are reopening to the public: the Capitol has resumed tours and the White House will resume in April after both were on hiatus for much of the last two years.
The Capitol reopened to the public on Monday with limited tours while the White House is scheduled to reopen its doors to the public on April 15, according to the federal government. Both buildings will require reservations in advance through civil servants.
The Capitol's reopening this week has signaled a change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while tours have resumed the government site notes that "the Capitol Visitor Center is not accepting tour reservations at this time. Limited numbers of tours may be available through the offices of your senators or representative."
According to Maj. Gen. William Walker, the House sergeant-at-arms, and Dr. Brian Monahan, the Capitol's attending physician, tours will be limited to 15 people and led by members or staff for those who have registered ahead and school groups.
Much like the capitol building, all White House tours are free but must be scheduled through a member of Congress and their Congressional Tour Coordinator within 21 to 90 days of the requested tour date. The White House tours will be offered from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays except for federal holidays.
"The White House will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation with guidance based on recommendations from the CDC, and other public health officials and medical experts, and reserves the right to adjust availability of the public tours as necessary to adhere to the latest health guidance," the White House wrote in a statement.
Face masks will not be required on the tours, but will "be available when entering the White House complex for those who choose to wear them." Additionally, visitors must remain home if they have tested positive for COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms, or if they have been in close contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 within the past 10 days.
The White House has been largely closed to the public since the coronavirus pandemic began. Officials tried to resume public tours in September 2020, but that was short-lived.
Tours include the chance to step into Washington D.C.'s history, including seeing the China Room — which is home to the formal dishware of former presidents — as well as the State Dining Room where formal meals with visiting heads of state are held.
And those who can't make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just yet can still see the historic building through a virtual tour with Google Arts & Culture.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.