This post will show you how to get tickets to tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. Often confused with the Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is where paper currency is made. It is open for guided tours where you can see the process of how American currency is printed, secured from counterfeiting and destroyed. It may be one of the few times that you get to see millions of dollars in cash! Tickets are free, but you may need some determination to secure tickets during the peak tourism season.
The Tour and Visitor Center is closed on weekends, federal holidays, and the week between Christmas and New Years Day. Tours generally begin at 9 am and end at either 2 pm in winter or 6 pm in summer, starting every 15 minutes. Timed tickets are required for March through August. You can get same day tickets at the Ticket Booth, located at Raoul Wallenburg Place (formerly 15th ST, SW), opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes when all tickets have been distributed for the day.
You may arrange special advance reservation tickets through your Congressperson. These tours take place Monday through Friday at 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. April through August, and every 15 minutes from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Please contact your local United States Senator or Representative for more information.
The ticketed process varies depending on what time of year you are visiting:
September through February (No Tickets Required)
With the exception of occasional busy weeks (like Thanksgiving) tickets are not required and you can just show up at the Visitors Entrance for admission.
March through August (Tickets Required)
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tours and Visitor Center’s entrance is located at 14th Street near C Street, SW (map). You will have to enter through security. Be prepared to arrive 15 minutes prior to your ticketed time. Late arrivals will often not be admitted.
We recommend that you use this Google map link for directions from anywhere in Washington, DC.
Note: Through 2018, there will be construction at the entrance/Visitor Center. We suggest checking your ticket and the website for up to date information on new entrance locations.
The nearest Metro Station is Smithsonian (Blue/Orange/Silver lines). From the Independence Ave exit, you just need to head straight out of the exit along Independence Ave SW until 14th Street. Cross the street and turn left. The BEP entrance will be just past the Holocaust Memorial Museum on your right.
Want to purchase a (fake) $100,000 bill? Or a bill from the year you were born? You can stock up on $2 bills that you rarely find in circulations – though a $2 bill will cost you $7. Then you need to visit the gift shop at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is located at the end of the tour (see above for how to get tickets). However if you don’t want to take the tour, you can visit the gift shop without tickets!
The entrance is located at the back of the building on Raoul Wallenburg Place (15th Street NW). You’ll see an imposing set of stairs and the entrance between the columns. Just let the security officer know that you just want to visit the gift shop. It is an easy walk from the Smithsonian Metro Station. Exit from the Independence Ave side and walk straight until 15th Street and turn left.
BEP Tours have a reputation among locals as “Dullsville” but even they admit it’s not a bad way to spend an hour. Visitors have consistently given BEP tours a good rating. Many guests say it’s an interesting experience but only if you have extra time. It doesn’t seem to be at the top of anyone’s list.
It is a very popular experience for younger visitors. Families with kids usually give it five starts – it’s a short tour so good for those with short attention spans and you get to walk through the factory to see the machines making the money which is always a highlight for children.
Most negative experiences stem from people who had to wait a long time for tickets and then didn’t think the tour was worth the wait. A common tip is to walk by the ticket booth if you’re in the area and if there are tickets available, go in then rather than planning your trip around the visit. If you’re taking our All in One walking tour, you have to walk by the ticket booth to get back to the Metro station so you can check in!