Many moons ago (and by moons I mean months), before I knew what was to come in January 2017, I randomly started thinking about how the end of Obama's presidency was almost upon us. I also knew that I one day wanted to do a tour of the White House, and what better time to do that than during the holidays? So, I visited the White House tours and events page and read up on how to snag a spot. Turns out it's through one's Member of Congress and is on a first come, first served basis.
The tour felt even more special — the opportunity to have this unique experience, see the Obamas' White House during the holidays and celebrate them one more time before the change of the administration.
I then visited the websites of the congressional offices for both Florida (where my parents live) and New York (where I live) and applied for the White House tour through as many sites as I could. This was in July 2016. Fast forward to the end of November when we were ultimately given notice that we were approved for a tour in mid-December. Woot woot!
Of course, by the time we were approved, the U.S. election had happened, and we knew who the new President would be in January. Because of that, the tour felt even more special — the opportunity to have this unique experience, see the Obamas' White House during the holidays and celebrate them one more time before the change of the administration.
On the day of the tour, we gathered outside the visitor entrance of the White House on a brisk and beautifully sunny morning in D.C. The tour is just of the East Wing — to get a tour of the West Wing, you have to know someone (or know someone who knows someone), or just be very, very important. But the East Wing tour is beautiful and includes the East Colonnade, Library, Vermeil Room, China Room, East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room and the State Dining Room. So, yeah, a lot of rooms.
Though the confirmation email puts the tour estimate at 45 minutes, my family and I easily spent an hour and a half there and could have stayed longer. There was also a high school girl's choir from Virginia singing holiday songs in the White House Entrance Hall. It truly felt like "The People's House," and we were so grateful to have experienced it.
Below are some of my favorite photos from the tour. For details on the holiday decor, check out the 2016 White House holiday tour book:
I will miss you all, Obamas. Thank you for opening your home and for the last eight years.