October 10th, 2017
Two weekends a year (once in the spring and again in the fall), The White House offers public tours of its gardens and grounds. The tradition is a relatively new one by White House standards, being first instituted in 1972 by First Lady Pat Nixon, and has continued on for 35 years no matter who the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania have been.
The tours take visitors through the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the White House Rose Garden (made famous by many a signing ceremony), the Children’s Garden, the South Lawn (site of numerous events each year), and the White House Kitchen Garden spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama. There is no guide, but a small pamphlet will fill you in on the sites to see along the way. The tour takes about 30 minutes. Timed tickets are required for all visitors, and are available for free from the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion beginning at 9 a.m. This year, the tours take place Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 22 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.