One of my first stops whilst on my American Road Trip last October was Washington DC. Obviously DC is the US Capital City steeped in so much cultural and political history. To tell you the truth, DC was never on my list of places to visit. However, I quickly fell in love with the city. We spent two nights in the city (you can read about everything we got up to here) but one of the most memorable parts of the trip was visiting The White House and actually making it inside the grounds!
One of our first port of calls in Washington DC (after finding pancakes for breakfast) was to The White House. We first went up to the front of the White House (The North side) by Lafayette Square and it was pretty busy. I was slightly disappointed as we didn’t have the best of view for photos. There are understandably high gates and bollards for crowd control. After wandering around the side of The White House to hopefully get a better view from the South Side, we were approached by a lady who asked if we’d like to go inside. Sounds kinda suspicious, right? She was actually talking about the Fall Garden Tours of The White House!
The Fall Garden Tour is an annual event at The White House where the grounds and gardens are open to the public. The White House also hosts a Spring Event too where the grounds are open around Mid-April. All we had to do was go to the entrance to collect a free ticket for the next available time slot. I was shocked that there was even tickets for such an incredible opportunity. We didn’t have to wait much longer than an hour and after getting some photos at The Washington Monument it was our time to go in!
After getting through the security, it was time to start the self guided walking tour. It was pretty busy in areas and hard to get a photo but as it was a self guided tour you could go around at your own pace. The tour was just on the south side of The White House which is home to the famous Oval Office and The Rose Garden. It was pretty surreal to be walking around the grounds of The White House; one of the most famous buildings in the world! Especially, when a few hours prior we had no idea about this event!
As I said, you can wander about at your own leisure, there is so much to see. On arrival you are handed a brochure with a map so you don’t miss out on anything! We even paid a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden which was created by Michelle Obama in 2009 and is where they grow produce for the house and also for state functions. As we were taking in the atmosphere a brass band was even playing Disney classics on the lawn!
If you’re in Washington DC when they are doing the Fall or Spring Garden Tours, I would 100% recommend stopping by and picking up some tickets. The tickets are available from 8.30am each morning and are first come, first served. There is a huge list of prohibited items so try not to bring a lot with you like (food, drinks, backpacks, iPads or cigarets to name a few) so be prepared! I felt so lucky to have had this once in a lifetime experience. It was just by pure coincidence that we were there that weekend. What a great way to have kicked off my trip in the USA! If you want to read more about my trip, most of my blogposts are here.