Filoli is the lush garden estate behind the Biden-Xi Summit; now guests can walk in their footsteps

Feature Image Biden Xi


Woodside, CA, November 22, 2023– Filoli, the renowned historic estate nestled in the heart of the Bay Area, has been a local landmark for decades. The estate welcomes over 400,000 visitors every year and is a popular destination for private events and weddings. Just not last Wednesday. Top aides to President Biden worked with Chinese officials to ensure that the estate would be the perfect backdrop to host a diplomatic summit between President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China.

Known for many iconic on-screen roles including the 1980s American soap opera Dynasty, Filoli is an idyllic example of the American home and spirit. The estate was built on the gold-mining fortune of William Bowers Bourn II, who named Filoli after his personal credo: FIght for a just cause, LOve your fellow man, and LIve a good life.

“We are honored to have been chosen as the site for this historic meeting between President Biden and President Xi Jinping,” says President & CEO Kara Newport. “Filoli is known as a place of respite and healing for our thousands of visitors in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we hope that our beautiful site fulfilled the needs of this important international event.”

Finding Photo Spots:

The House Courtyard

Doug Mills/ The New York Times

The world watched as President Xi’s car approached Filoli’s entry courtyard midmorning on November 15. President Biden stood waiting in Filoli’s portico, at the entrance of the 54,000 square, 56-room house built in 1917. The two leaders greeted each other with a historic handshake and walked in through the front door.

The Ballroom

Brendan Smialowski/ AFP Getty and Doug Mills/ The New York Times

President Biden and President Xi sat down for an extensive bilateral meeting between their two delegations in Filoli’s 2,000 square foot Ballroom. This immaculate room showcases floor to ceiling murals of Muckross, Filoli’s sister estate in Ireland and shines with opulent gold trimmed molding. Crystal chandeliers were inspired by Versailles’ lighting fixtures in the Hall of Mirrors.

Later in the day, President Biden held a press conference in the same room, where he stood in front of a scaled replica of Versailles’ Hercules Salon fireplace. 

The Garden 

Brendan Smialowski/AFPGetty Images and Doug Mills/ The New York Times

In a final photo-op, President Biden and President Xi walked through Filoli’s lush 16-acre garden. The two strolled along Filoli’s terrace lawn with an iconic view of the Sunken Garden behind them, passing shrubs of wisteria, azaleas, and a pair of Hinoki cypress trees that came from the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition.

Visitors to Filoli are invited to walk in the footsteps of these world leaders and snap their own photos in Filoli’s historic house and gardens. While touring the House, visitors can view Filoli’s original guest book from the Bourn era which now includes signatures from both President Biden and President Xi on display, and add their own signatures.

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About Filoli

Filoli is a vibrant landscape of the Bay Area, situated on the unceded ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone, in Woodside, California. The estate boasts 654 acres of beauty nestled along the slopes of California’s coastal range. Originally built as a private residence in 1917, Filoli was opened to the public in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The property is considered one of the finest remaining country estates of the 20th century, featuring a 54,000+ square-foot Georgian revival-style mansion, 16 acres of exquisite English Renaissance gardens, a 6.8-acre Gentleman’s Orchard, and hundreds of acres of Natural Lands with 5 distinct ecosystems and a 1-mile Estate Trail. Filoli is dedicated to connecting our rich history with a vibrant future through beauty, nature and shared stories, so that one day all people will honor nature, value unique experiences, and appreciate beauty in everyday life. For more information about Filoli, visit


Filoli Historic House & Garden

86 Cañada Road

Woodside, CA 94062

(650) 364-8300

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