White House Visitor Center Rehabilitation and Closure Information
The White House Visitor Center is closed for rehabilitation. A temporary visitor center is located near the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, just west of the intersection of 15th and E streets, NW.
White House Fence Restoration and Sidewalk Closure
The National Park Service is restoring the White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue, portions of which are believed to date back to 1818. During this restoration work, sections of the White House sidewalk will be temporarily closed for public safety. More »
Construction Project Affecting the White House Sidewalk
Due to a construction project, a portion of both the White House sidewalk and Pennsylvania Avenue near East Executive Avenue will be closed until April 2015.
2013 National Christmas Tree
The National Christmas Tree and Pathway of Peace
Every year since 1923, there has been a National Christmas Tree. Continuing a tradition begun under President Coolidge, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree is a celebration of the holiday season. Though the tree has gone by different names over the years, a series of living and cut trees have decorated the grounds around the White House since President Coolidge's time.
Several events take place around the National Christmas Tree. The first event, the Lighting of the National Christmas Tree is scheduled for Friday, December 6, 2013. After the tree is lit, the Christmas Pathway of Peace begins. The Pathway, featuring trees representing the states and territories of the United States, also includes a number of musical performances.
Lighting of the National Christmas Tree
The tree lighting begins each year's National Christmas Tree program. Nationally known entertainers and a military band play alongside the President who joins the ceremony to deliver a message of peace. The culmination of the evening is the illumination of the National Christmas Tree which will occur on Friday, December 6, 2013.
Additional information on performers is available from the National Park Foundation.
Tickets to attend the event are required and were distributed by a lottery that ran October 31 to November 4, 2013.
National Christmas Tree Program Activities and the Pathway of Peace
The Pathway of Peace
The National Christmas Tree and 56 smaller trees--one for each state, the five territories, and the District of Columbia--serve as the focal point for a number of events. Together, the 57 trees form the Pathway of Peace. Sponsoring organizations in each state and territory provide the tree decorations, which are protected from the weather by a plastic globe. The Pathway of Peace trees are usually lit from dusk until late evening. Other seasonal displays include large-scale model trains and Santa's workshop.
National Christmas Tree Railroad
Returning for the 20th consecutive year, a local volunteer group will provide a model train display that surrounds the base of the National Christmas Tree. This National Christmas Tree Railroad will run daily through January 1, 2014. All aboard!
Santa himself will also be making a return appearance as part of Santa's Workshop from December 9 to December 24. Generally, Santa and his elves are available for consultation in the evenings Monday to Thursday and afternoons and evenings Friday to Sunday. Santa's Workshop closes early on Christmas Eve to allow its staff time to return to the North Pole.
Hours for Santa's Workshop:
Tickets are not required for the Pathway of Peace, Santa's Workshop, or the model train display.
National Christmas Tree Nightly Performances
If you are interested in having your group perform in future years, please visit the music program application page. The deadline for applications was September 30, 2013. Check back in September 2014 for updated information and the year's application.
Tickets are not required for the nightly performance series.
Did You Know?
In 1878 Rutherford B. Hayes held the first Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. It was held at the U.S. Capitol, but the children apparently caused such a ruckus on the grounds that Congress passed the Turf Protection Law to prohibit the area from being used as a playground in future years.