Walk in Their Footsteps: Filoli Summit with President Xi & President Biden

Filoli Summit Doug Mills The New York Times(3)

In November 2023, Filoli was the setting for a historic diplomatic summit between President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China. Today, visitors are invited to walk in the footsteps of these world leaders and snap their own photos in Filoli’s historic House and Garden. 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 make their own mark by signing our modern guest book.

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 elegant 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

Gino de Grandis

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.