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1st St., NE (Capitol Hill)
(1) 202-226-8000 | www.visitthecapitol.gov
ATTRACTIONSeat of Government
HOURS/TIMESMon.-Sat.: 8:30am-4:30pm; hours may vary due to special events so check the website in advance of your visit
POPULAR TIMESSaturdays; summer; school holidays
RESERVE IN ADVANCEYes - required; tickets can be reserved online
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONTickets must be reserved in advance through your Senator or Representative
HIGHLIGHTSThe Capitol Rotunda; Senate and House Galleries
METROCapitol South; Federal Center SW
Is there any more striking or distinguished symbol of the good old U.S. of A.? This imposing brick and white marble structure has been hosting the US Congress since 1800 and has been undergoing renovations and refurbishments since George Washington laid the first stone in 1793. The House of Representatives and the US Senate still use these galleries for everyday meetings and functions, and over three million tourists visit each year. The breathtaking rotunda with its murals, marble walls, and striking dome has been the site of mourning services for presidents like Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan, as well as notable citizens such as Douglas MacArthur and Rosa Parks, all of whose bodies were laid in state here. The latest addition to the grounds is the Visitors Center that opened in 2008 and features museum-like exhibits, gift shops, and a restaurant.
GO HERE WITH
Friends; family; kids; American history buffs
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s a great way to not only connect with American history, but also to experience current events. While you can see artifacts from the past at the museums, this is a living, breathing institution where laws are made, protests are staged, and politics unfold every day of the year.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The reservation policy. Our trips to DC are always so packed with things to see; it’d be nice if we could just pop in for a tour without prior notice.
GOOD TO KNOW
Tours start at the Capitol Visitor Center and begin with a 13-minute film, followed by viewings of the Crypt of the Capitol, the Rotunda, and National Statuary Hall. They usually last an hour. Although tours can be booked online, they can also be booked through the offices of your Congressional Representative or Senator. Separate passes are required to view the House and Senate galleries, and those must also be requested through your local office. International visitors must request Gallery passes at the House and Senate Appointment Desks on the upper level. Tour guides will tailor some aspects of their talks based on tourists’ home states. No food, drink, or electronic devices are permitted inside the building, but items can be checked. (Be sure to consult their website for a list of prohibited items before visiting.) All visitors must pass through airport-like security before entering.
Houses of Parliament (London)
All information within this website was checked for accuracy at the time of publication. But since the world moves quickly, things may have changed. Pardon us for any errors as we strive to give you the most up-to-the-minute details!