Lonely Planet Writer

Explore the White House using a $1 bill and a new augmented reality app

Getting a tour of the US President’s abode can be sometimes difficult, but now the White House has released a new app so armchair travellers only need a smartphone and a $1 bill to take an augmented reality tour through the iconic Washington, DC building.


The app, called 1600, can be downloaded on iPhones or iPads and Android devices. Users just point their smartphone’s camera at a dollar bill and an interactive 3D video of the White House pops up. Users will then “experience a year at the White House – from the Easter Egg Roll to a State Arrival Ceremony”.

Any additional chance to check out the White House is good news, as actually touring 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in person can sometimes be a difficult proposition.

A new augmented reality takes people on a tour of 1600 Penn.
A new augmented reality takes people on a tour of 1600 Penn. Image by White House

Tours inside the White House have to be arranged between six months and three weeks in advance, and US citizens have to apply for a tour through a member of Congress from their state. Foreign citizens can apply through a US consulate in their home country, or through their country’s consulate in Washington. Their applications will be accepted between 21 days and six months in advance. However, if your trip to DC is a bit more spur of the moment than a carefully planned one,you can just check out the White House Visitors Center.

The app is not the first attempt at making the White House more accessible to people around the world. Armchair visitors can check out Washington, DC’s best-known residence with an online tour on the official website or by using Google Arts and Culture.