White House Bowling Alley – Washington, DC

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Rating: 7.1/10 (8 votes cast)

You might not be able to make a reservation to bowl in the White House whenever you want, but the lane on the ground floor is still one of the most interesting bowling sites in the country.

History of Bowling in the White House

White House bowling action dates back to the Truman administration in 1947, when a two-lane alley was installed in the basement as a birthday present for the president. They didn’t last long, however, as the lanes were moved to the Old Executive Office Building only 8 years later to make room for a new mimeograph room that was being constructed.

Fast forward to 1969, and President Nixon, an avid bowler, was looking a good place to roll. He had a one lane alley installed in the underground space below the North Portico driveway. Nixon was a very good bowler, often donning classic 60s and 70s bowling shirts for his games.

For more about the White House bowling lanes, check out this great webpage from the White House Museum website. There are pictures of former presidents and even some lucky guests who were able to bowl there.

President Obama and the Bowling Lane Today

President Obama’s struggles with bowling are well known, as his score of 37 in a 2008 bowling outing was highly publicized. He even made remarks that he planned to convert the White House Bowling Alley into a full-size basketball court, but he later took that back and decided he wanted to renovate the alley so that it would be a good place for his family to learn and enjoy the game.

After Obama’s recent injury in a pickup basketball game, we can only hope he won’t pull a muscle bowling or drop a ball on his foot.

Our Verdict:

Historical Significance: A


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Rating: 7.1/10 (8 votes cast)
White House Bowling Alley – Washington, DC, 7.1 out of 10 based on 8 ratings


  1. Mark Rosenberg says:

    After you go bowling at the White House you should probably go play basketball in the gym located above the Supreme Court…you’d truly be playing on the highest court in the land!

  2. I really liked the article 🙂 got some nice history there~


  1. […] some interesting locations for bowling alleys, including the basement of an old tavern and even the White House, but we’ve never seen anything quite like this example from Mahopac, New York, a town about […]

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