14 rooms in the White House you probably never knew existed, including a music room, chocolate shop, and bowling alley

  • If you're well-versed on White House facts, you probably know the presidential residence has 132 rooms.
  • However, fewer people know about rooms like the chocolate shop and the bowling alley.
  • There are also rooms that have changed purpose over the years, like the Solarium, which did a stint as a kindergarten.


The White House is America's most famous residence — and one of the biggest, too.

The massive complex at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue contains six levels, 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, and 28 fireplaces.

Some of the most famous White House's most famous rooms include the Oval Office, the Situation Room, the Cabinet Room, and the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

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14 rooms in the White House
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14 rooms in the White House

Music room

According to the White House Museum, Hillary Clinton turned this sitting room on the third floor of the White House residence into a music room where Bill Clinton could play saxophone.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Workout Room

Next to the Music Room on the third floor is the Workout Room, where presidents and their families can exercise at any time of the day.

Before the 1990s, the room was a guest room and a sitting room.

(Youtube/Roll Call)

Chocolate Shop

The Chocolate Shop is one of several kitchens in the White House. Located in the ground floor of the Residence, the Chocolate Shop is where chefs make desserts and centerpieces for White House functions.

It's also where chefs prepare eggs for the annual Easter Egg Roll and assemble the gingerbread replica of the White House that graces the building each holiday season.

(C-Span)

Bowling Alley 

Near the Chocolate Shop on the Residence's ground floor is the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley, an off-the-beaten-path favorite for visitors to the White House.

The first White House Bowling Alley was built for Harry Truman in 1947, and Richard Nixon moved it to its current location below the entrance to the North Portico in 1969.

Family Theater 

The Family Theater is a 42-seat movie theater located in the East Wing of the White House.

Movie studios make their films available for screenings at the theater upon presidential request,according to Variety, which added that filmmakers relish the chance for their works to seen by the president. Last year, "Finding Dory" made headlines for being the first film screened in Donald Trump's White House.

Movies had been screened at the White House since Woodrow Wilson's presidency, but it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who was responsible for turning a former cloakroom into the dedicated theater it is today.

(Pete Souza/White House)

Map Room

 

The Map Room, located on the Residence's ground floor, is used for small social gatherings and television interviews.

The name comes from the room's original use. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt used the room to consult maps to track the war's progress— a task later presidents migrated to the Situation Room. Maps were organized by hemisphere, region, and theater of operation, according to the FDR Library.

One notable map hanging on the walls pays homage to the Roosevelt era: a map of Europe showing Germany's latest positions in the spring of 1945, shortly after Roosevelt's death.

(Youtube/White House)

China Room

 

The White House China Room sits near the Map Room on the Residence's ground floor. The China Room was designated by first lady Edith Wilson in 1917 to house the White House's growing collection of state china, according to the White House Museum.

Nearly every president is represented in the china room. You can see examples of state china dating back to George Washington's presidency here.

(Youtube/White House)

Vermeil Room

Adjacent to the China Room is the Vermeil Room, which houses a collection of gilded silver tableware. It was converted from a general social room in 1956 when the silver pieces were bequeathed to the White House by American heiress Margaret Thompson Biddle.

The room is decorated with portraits of several first ladies.

Flower Shop

Just a few doors down from the Chocolate Shop and the Bowling Alley, the Flower Shop is where the White House florist purchases flowers in bulk and prepares them for official occasions like state functions and inaugurations, as well as decoration around the building.

(C-Span)

Calligraphy Office 

Located on the second floor of the White House's East Wing, the Graphics and Calligraphy Office is where the small team of White House calligraphers prepares invitations, placecards, and greetings for formal events.

(C-Span)

Solarium

The Solarium on the Residence's top floor is where presidents and their families go to relax.

According to the White House Museum, the room has alternately been used for Mamie Eisenhower's bridge parties, a kindergarten for Caroline Kennedy, a hangout for Lyndon Johnson's teenage daughters, a study room for Rosalynn Carter, and a space for the Clintons to play board games.

Richard Nixon was in the solarium with his family when he informed them he was stepping down as president, according to the museum. And it's also the room where Nancy Reagan was informed her husband had been shot.

Game Room

Not far from the Solarium is the Game Room, where presidents can wind down with a game of pool.

A number of presidents have owned pool tables in the White House, at times housing them in the modern-day Map Room and Vermeil Room. It's unclear when the Game Room — formerly a bedroom — became the designated pool space, but it dates back to at least the George H. W. Bush era, according to the White House Museum.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Private Study

Moving over to the West Wing, the Private Study or Oval Office Study is a small working space immediately across from the Oval Office. It also contains a private bathroom and kitchenette.

(Wikimedia Commons)

Navy Mess

On the ground floor of the West Wing next to the Situation Room, you'll find the Navy Mess or White House Mess, a small dining facility run by the US Navy.

The dining room seats about 50 people and is not available to the public, but if you're lucky, you could score an invitation from a senior White House official or Cabinet secretary.

You can check out what's on the menu at the Navy Mess here.

(White House)

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But tucked away in the far reaches of the building are some of the more obscure, less heralded rooms of the White House: the Chocolate Shop, the Game Room, and the Solarium, to name a few. 

Read on to learn about 14 of the least-known rooms in the White House.

RELATED: White House fathers 

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White House fathers -- presidents and their kids
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White House fathers -- presidents and their kids
(Original Caption) First family views Black Match. Washington: President and Mrs. Kennedy and their two children, Caroline and John Jr., watch, from the balcony today, the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment perform on the south lawn of the White House. The Kennedy's invited 1,700 children, from child care agencies, to see the program. At left is Maj. W.M. Wingate Gray, commander of the Black Watch.
President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at the White House with children Caroline and John Jr. after a trip to Florida, 1961. (Photo by � CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Perhaps just a mite tuckered out after his pint sized social whirl, the little man of the White House still wanted to see what's going on here. Caroline holds Daddy's hand as the First Family says 'hello' to some of the guests after the performance by the Black Watch. Caroline was getting to be quite a little Lady too. She was to be six on November 27th, two days after John Jr.'s birthday.
A photograph of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and their two children Caroline (R) and John, Jr. (L) is displayed before an upcoming Bonhams auction in New York, December 7, 2010. The photograph, taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, is one of 12,000 photographs, many which have never before been seen by the public. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS)
(Original Caption) The White House lawn is just a pasture for Caroline Kennedy's pony, Macaroni, as the animal grazed at will on the vast area south of the President's office. The pony arrived March 15th, several hours before the return of four year old Caroline and her brother John Jr., 16 months old, from Palm Beach, Florida. Macaroni was hauled in a van from Glenn Ora, the leased Presidential estate at Middleburg, Virginia, presumably for Caroline to ride during the next few days.
Tricia Nixon on her way to the Rose Garden with her father, President Richard Nixon, at her White House wedding. (Photo by Paul Demaria/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Washington, DC.: President Nixon and Patricia Nixon pose with newlyweds, their daughter Tricia and Edward Finch Cox, for family portraits in the White House after the rose garden wedding.
Susan Ford and her escort, William Pifer, dance during the 1975 Holton Arms School Senior Prom, held in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by � CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 5/7/1980-Washington: President Carter shares a secret with his daughter Amy 5/7 during an inaugural ceremony for the new Dept. of Education on the south lawn of the White House. At right is Mrs. Carter. UPI amk/Valerie Hodgson
(Original Caption) 1/24/1977-Washington, D.C.: Amy Carter holds her new puppy, Grits, which was presented to her at the White House. The twelve-week-old black and white puppy, born on election day, is part Springer Spaniel and part neighborhood dog. At right is Verona Medder, Amy's teacher who gave her the dog.
President Carter in the Oval Office with a group of senators, his wife Rosalynn, and his daughter Amy during his signing of Emergency Energy Act #6a-11a. Washington D.C., February 2, 1977. | Location: The Oval Office, The White House, Washington D.C., USA. (Photo by � CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
American President JImmy Carter talks with his daughter Amy, who sits on his lap, in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington DC, 1978. (Photo by Katherine Young/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: U.S. President Bill Clinton (L) and his daughter Chelsea (R) are accompanied by security personnel as they walk back to the White House 23 May 1993 after shopping at a dowtown book store. (Photo credit should read ROBERT GIROUX/AFP/Getty Images)
1993: American statesman Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States with his daughter Chelsea at the White House, Washington DC. (Photo by Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 17: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and President Bill Clinton return to the White House amidst allegations of improprieties involving the first lady's actions in Whitewater. The Senate Whitewater Committee is expected to release their finding Tuesday stating that someone at the White House obstructed investigators by witholding billing records. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
11/26/97 NP - White House First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton leave from the South Lawn for Thanksgiving at Camp David . PHOTOG: Frank Johnston/TWP. (Photo by Frank Johnston/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 18: President Bill Clinton with wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and daughter Chelsea arriving at the White House from Camp David. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX: (FILE PHOTO) George W. Bush holds his twins, Barbara and Jenna, in the fall of 1981 in Dallas, Texas. The ladies mark their 21st birthday November 25, 2002 in Texas, staying clear of the spotlight as Barbara and Jenna have had encounters with the law for underage drinking. Their birthday will be celebrated over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. (Photo by Getty Images)
George W. Bush's daughters Jenna (L) and Barbara attend the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2001. [George W. Bush will be the first president's son to take over the White House since John Quincy Adams in 1825. ]
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 6: President George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush, former first lady Barbara Bush and former President George H.W. Bush sit surrounded by family in the Red Room of the White House January 6, 2005 in Washington, DC. Friends and family joined former President Bush and Barbara Bush in celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary at a dinner. Also pictured are: (L to R) Georgia Grace Koch, Margaret Bush, Walker Bush, Marvin Bush, Jenna Bush, Doro Koch, Barbara Bush, Robert P. Koch, Pierce M. Bush, Maria Bush, Neil Bush, Ashley Bush, Sam LeBlond, Robert Koch, Nancy Ellis LeBlond, John Ellis Bush, Jr., Florida Gov. John Ellis 'Jeb' Bush, Mandi Bush, George P. Bush, and Columba Bush. (Photo by Eric Draper/White House via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: Jenna(L) and Barbara Bush, daughters of US President George W. Bush, listen as their father gives his victory speech 03 November at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. Democratic challenger John Kerry conceded the US presidential election in a phone call to Bush at the White House earlier 03 November. AFP PHOTO/ Brendan SMIALOWSKI/bp (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US President George W. Bush (3L) and First Lady Laura Bush (4R) are joined by daughters Barbara (4L), Jenna (2L), nephew Sam LeBlond (L), former US president George H. Bush (3R) and his wife former first lady Barbara (2R) and sister Dora (R) watch election returns in the White House residence 02 November 2004 in Washington, DC. With early election returns pouring in, Bush told reporters that he was 'very upbeat' and predicted that he would defeat Democratic White House hopeful John Kerry. Asked during a very rare public appearance in the presidential mansion whether there would be an outright winner by the end of the night, Bush replied: 'I believe I will win.' AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
CRAWFORD, TX - MAY 10: In this handout image provided by the White House, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose with daughters Jenna (R) and Barbara (L) prior to the wedding of Jenna and Henry Hager May 10, 2008 near Crawford, Texas. (Photo by Shealah Craighead/The White House via Getty Images)
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US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka walk to board Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2017. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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