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The U.S. Capitol Building Tours

Indoor Free
School Trip, Educational, Historical, Touristy
The U.S. Capitol, First Street Southeast, Washington, DC
URL: The U.S. Capitol Building...  Phone: 202-226-8000

Activity Overview

Tours of the historic U.S. Capitol are free; however tour passes are required. The Capitol is open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tours of the Capitol begin with a 13-minute orientation film and last approximately one hour.

Things to Do

To visit areas of the Capitol beyond the Capitol Visitor Center, you must make a reservation in advance. You can contact your Representative or contact your Senator to reserve ticket. Note that tour schedules can fill up quickly, so it is advisable to book your tour well in advance of your visit.

Tours can also be arranged directly through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center using an online reservation system. Click the button below to reserve your tour date and time.

The tour opens with a 13 minute film explaining the history of representative democracy and giving a brief history of the Capitol. Tours are then taken to the Crypt of the Capitol, an then to the magnificent Rotunda.

You'll also visit Statuary Hall, which was the original House Gallery. In addition to hearing the history of the room, visitors are treated to a lesson in acoustics and discover with their own voices that the room was a challenging place for Congress to meet since things said on one side of the room can be heard clear across the other side. Statuary Hall is also home to 100 statutes impressive — two from each state.

Brumidi Corridor Tours - A special tour of the Brumidi Corridors on the first floor of the Senate wing of the Capitol enables visitors to view and learn about the ornate paintings on the walls and ceilings designed by Constantino Brumidi between 1857 and 1859. This tour, which lasts approximately 30 minutes, is offered Monday through Friday at 2 p.m. No reservations are needed. Get passes for this tour at one of the Information Desks on the lower level of the Visitor Center.

War of 1812 Tour - The Capitol Visitor Center’s new exhibit, Congress and the War of 1812, includes President James Madison’s original war message to Congress from June 1, 1812, in which he detailed British offenses against the United States. Before or after your tour of the Capitol, consider joining a Visitor Guide for a 50-minute special tour offered Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., exploring three unique stories about the War of 1812.

U.S. Capitol Insider Tips

  • The Capitol Visitor Center is usually less crowded on weekday mornings, right after opening at 9:00 a.m. Booking a tour in advance is your very best bet.
  • If you are visiting the Capitol, you can easily tack on a visit to the Library of Congress; the Supreme Court; the National Postal Museum or the U.S. Botanic Garden, as they are all within walking distance.
  • Strollers and Baby Changing - Strollers are permitted in the Capitol Visitor Center and baby changing stations are available in each family restroom.
  • Security - as with most venues, you must go through a security check upon entering. No food or drink, including packaged food and water, is allowed to be brought into the Capitol or the Visitor's center. View a list of prohibited items here.
  • Senate and House Galleries - The Senate and House galleries are open to visitors whenever either legislative body is in session, however the galleries are not included as part of the U.S. Capitol tour. Passes are required to enter either gallery at any time. Visitors may obtain gallery passes from the offices of their Senators or Representative.

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