Nothing in the United States symbolizes democracy more than the U.S. Capitol Building. For nearly two centuries, it has been home to both chambers of Congress and has evolved and expanded as times changed and the nation grew. The building itself has more than 16 acres of space and 540 rooms. The Capitol Grounds cover about 274 acres with sloping lawns, splashing fountains and beautiful terraces.
Capitol Tours: Visitors are welcome to enter the
U.S. Capitol Building through the Capitol Visitor Center. Capitol Service Guides lead public tours, which usually include 40 or 50 people at a time and last 50 to 60 minutes. Tours are FREE, but passes are required.
Visitors can obtain timed passes on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Capitol Visitor Center. Distribution of passes begins at 9:00 am daily. Tours can also be reserved online at visitthecapitol.gov. Another option is contacting your representative or senator in Congress and request passes for constituent tours, which are limited to groups of 15 and conducted by congressional staff, who may take you to notable places in the Capitol beyond those seen on the general public tour.
Hours of Operation: The Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Monday-Saturday except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Inauguration Day. However, tours are only conducted from 8:50 am to 3:20 pm. Visitors with official business appointments may enter the Visitor Center as early as 7:15 am.
Address/Location: East Capitol Street NE and First Street NE, Washington DC 20002
Things to Know: Large backpacks, open containers of food or drink, mace or aerosol cans, and guns or knives are not allowed inside. Before entering the Capitol Visitor Center, all visitors are screened by a magnetometer and all items that are permitted inside the building are screened by an x-ray device.
DC Circulator's Union Station - Navy Yard via Capitol Hill - Bus stop is at 1st St & Maryland Ave NE
DC Circulator's Smithsonian - National Gallery of Art Loop - Bus stop is at 1st St & Maryland Ave NE