Experience the changing of the leaves and rush of autumn during the free White House Fall Garden Tour this October. 

As summer winds down, autumn brings in crisp, colorful fallen leaves and a golden blanket of wonder. What better way to experience the rush of autumn than at the White House Fall Garden Tour?

Twice a year, the president and first lady invite visitors into the South Lawn for a special treat. This fall, the gardens will be open on Saturday, October 19, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday, October 20, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to explore the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, the White House Kitchen Garden, and the South Lawn of the White House while taking in the beautiful fall foliage. 

White House Garden Tour

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How to Score a Ticket

The visit is completely free and open to the general public. However, you need to score a timed ticket before you can experience the serenity of the White House gardens.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. on each tour day, the National Park Service will distribute tickets at a tent on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 15th Street NW. These tickets will be handed out on a first-come first-served basis, and each person is only allowed one. Therefore, you will need to have your entire party together in line to receive the appropriate amount of tickets. Small children will also need to have their own ticket, so take that into consideration as you head to the tent.  

Since fall weather can be unpredictable, be sure to check on the status of the event by calling the event's 24-hour information hotline at 202-456-7041. The event may be canceled due to inclement weather.

White House Garden Tour

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History of the Gardens

When you enter the gardens, be sure to find the chestnut oak located just southwest of the White House. This tree is thought to be over 300 years old—older than the White House itself. It’s also the only living thing that has been in the presence of every American president since John Adams moved into the White House on November 1, 1800. Pretty cool, right?

Besides the everlasting tree, the garden is a bed full of secrets that will transport you through time. These secrets were kept by Thomas Jefferson, who was the first president to truly tend to the garden. He leveled out the ground, created a barrier against the weather and swamps, and invested the time and money to progress the garden to what it is today.

white house garden tour

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In the 1870s, President Rutherford B. Hayes added to the garden and started the tradition of planting commemorative trees. Now, there are over three dozen of these trees which have been planted by various presidents and provide a perfect fall backdrop for your pictures during the tour.

Many first ladies have also made their mark on the garden. In 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt added a victory garden on the grounds, and in the 1960s, First Lady Johnson finished the redesign of the Rose Garden after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She dedicated this garden to Mrs. Kennedy. In more recent years, Michelle Obama added a 1,100-square-foot garden on the South Grounds, and Melania Trump has been using the gardens to plant vegetables with local children. These vegetables have been donated to local foodbanks all over Washington, D.C.  

White House Garden Tour

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While on your tour, you'll be able to see all of these magnificient flowers, trees, and vegetables. So, if you want to be a part of history, be sure to visit the White House gardens on October 19 or 20, and let us know what secrets you uncover!

For more detailed information and a full list of what you cannot bring to the White House Fall Garden Tour (like your pet dog, or a selfie stick), check out the White House's website!