President Hu Jintao was greeted Wednesday night by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
About 225 people were on the guest list.
Among them were U.S. figure skating champion Michelle Kwan, fashion designer Vera Wang and actor Jackie Chan, who was hoping to talk about the movie business with the Chinese president.
"Just about how many American movies go into China and how many of China's movies come to America," the actions star said.
Barbara Streisand and husband James Brolin also made the cut. When asked by one reporter why she thought she was invited, Streisand replied, "I worked in a Chinese restaurant."
The theme of the night was "Quintessentially American," complete with apple pie and ice cream.
There was jazz music for the entertainment courtesy of Herbie Hancock.
But with the Chinese president's visit comes tension between the two super powers.
The issue of human rights was present all day in protests about China's oppression of religious minorities and Tibet.
Later, Hu made a concession acknowledging "a lot still needs to be done in china, in terms of human rights."
Obama is pushing for Hu to open Chinese markets in to more U.S. products.
Despite their differences, Obama said he is optimistic that the countries can work together.
Obama said Chinese currency remains undervalued and said that China should let the free market determine the value.
Obama announced business deals that he said will increase U.S. exports to China by $45 billion and create thousands of jobs for Americans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.