Quick Guide to Visit Capitol Hill


In addition to all the museums in Washington, DC, visitors should plan a day to visit the United States Capitol.

The Capitol Visitor Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and on Inauguration Day.

The new entrance is underground and located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street.  That’s the side facing away from the Washington monument.  All visitors must go through security screening.  These items are restricted.

It is free to visit and tour the Capitol.

While same-day tours are available, they are very limited.  The best option is to arrange your tour in advance through your member of Congress or online.

Tours are in English, but listening devices are available and offer the tour is Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Mandarin.  The information desk retains a non-passport ID, until the listening device is returned.

Obtain a gallery pass by visiting your Senator or Representative.

International travelers should see the House and Senate Appointment desks in the Capitol Visitor Center.  Visitors will have to store restricted items in a storage room before entering the galleries.  A complete list of restricted items is found here.


Visitor Facts

  • The Capitol Visitor Center cost over $600 million and took six years to build!


  • Slaves helped build the Capitol.  They cleared grounds, quarried stone, sawed timber, and labored on the Capitol’s structure.


  • Some of the special police officers at the Capitol carry really big guns!  They are pretty cool to see.


  • Members of Congress and their guests can use an underground subway system connecting the Capitol to the House and Senate buildings.


  • While cameras are allowed in the Capitol pictures are restricted in the Emancipation Hall and the Galleries.


  • There are underground passages from the Capitol and leading to the Library of Congress and the House and Senate buildings. Visitors are permitted to use the tunnel to gain entry to the Library of Congress.


Stinky Tourist Unite!

Let’s continue to fill Harry Reid’s nose with the smell of tourism!


How To Survive The Washington, DC Metro

Are you planning a visit to Washington, DC? Check out the “How To Survive the Washington, DC Metro System – A Traveler’s Guide.”


  • Pingback: How to Visit Washington DC for Cheap()

  • This is a really comprehensive guide. Thanks for sharing! Love DC. 

    • Thanks! There is so much to learn and see at the Capitol. I’m looking forward to my next visit!

  • Like a lot of foreign visitors to the states, I suspect, I have missed out on Washington, but would love to see it.

    • Hey Robin! I’m sure you would enjoy a visit to DC! There is something for everyone!

  • I didn’t know slaves helped build the Capitol, that’s kind of depressing. I an excited to see this area though, since I haven’t been to DC since I was young.

    • Hey Scott! I learned so much during my visit to the Capitol. The Lincoln Memorial reflection pool is currently under construction. You should visit DC once it’s finished!