Plan Your Trip
My office hopes to provide you with helpful information and resources as you plan your trip to Washington. There are so many attractions that provide excellent opportunities to explore the inner workings of our nation's capital. Please feel free to visit them all.
Click on the links below to jump to a description of the attractions you wish to learn more about.
POPULAR TOURS: U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, Bureau of Engraving, Library of Congress, Pentagon, Department of State, White House Visitor Center, White House
International Spy Museum, Ford's Theatre and Lincoln Museum, National Building Museum, Daughters of the American Revolution Museum,
The National Archives, National Aquarium, Department of the Treasury, Government Printing Office, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arlington National Cemetery, The National Cathedral,
Mt. Vernon - Home of President George Washington, Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters, Union Station
Also, check out our MEMORIALS and MONUMENTS page. And visit these helpful pages for more information about WMATA public transportation, National Parks in the area, and a Map of the Downtown area.
Several attractions allow me to request a limited number of reserved spots for tours. As my office's resources allow, I am happy to request reserved times for these tours on behalf of Arizonans. While my office is eager to fit these attractions into your visit, tour acceptance or denial is solely at the discretion of the attractions themselves. We cannot guarantee a reserved tour no matter how far in advance it is requested. If a tour at a reserved time is unavailable, many of these attractions offer public tours.
As soon as your travel plans are firm, submit a tour request form by clicking here. It is not advisable to wait for a confirmed tour before making travel arrangements, as attractions sometimes confirm tours with very little notice.
The Capitol Visitor Center is the new main entrance to the U.S. Capitol as of December 3, 2008. Visitors can enter the Visitor Center without tickets. It is located on the East front of the Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street, NE.
The U.S. Capitol is open to the public for guided tours only. Tours will be conducted from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Capitol will be open on all federal holidays except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Presidential Inauguration Days. However, it may be closed to tours for special events on occasion.
The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center strongly advises that you make a reservation in advance to visit the Capitol (Spring and Summer months are particularly busy). Free tickets are required for a tour of the Capitol and may be needed for other special events. Groups of 10 or less can either make a reservation up to four months in advance through a Congressional office, or make their own reservations through the Capitol Visitor Center up to two months in advance by clicking here or calling (202)226-8000. Groups larger than 10 must make a reservation through a Congressional office. A limited number of same-day passes are available each day at the tour kiosks on the East and West Fronts of the Capitol or at the Information Desks in Emancipation Hall on the lower level of the Visitor Center.
Staff-led tours can also be arranged through Congressional offices on a limited basis. These tours are only available Monday through Friday on days when the Capitol will be open to the public. Staff-led tours of the Capitol are limited to groups of 15 people or less. Several small groups can be accomodated on each tour. Please allow for at least one week’s advance notice.
Please note that visitors to the Capitol are not permitted to bring any of the following items: aerosol sprays, liquids of any kind (including water bottles), food, oversized suitcases or backpacks, knives of any kind, razors, mace, pepper spray, matches or lighters. However, Capitol police are authorized to make exceptions if the prohibited item is deemed to be necessary and required to serve child care, medical, or other special needs. Please keep in mind, due to the events of September 11, 2001, many government tours have increased security screening procedures for your safety.
Additionally please note that cameras are allowed in the Capitol, but security for the Senate and House Galleries will hold all electronics for you at a bag check when and if you visit either gallery. A separate pass is required to visit the Senate or House of Representatives Galleries. A Senate Gallery pass can be obtained from your Senator's office. A House Gallery pass can be obtained from your Representative's office. International visitors may obtain gallery passes at the Senate or House Appointment Desks in the Visitor Center.
For the latest recorded information on visiting the Capitol, please call: 202-225-6827. For special needs (wheelchair access, etc), please call: 202-224-4048 (voice) or 202-224-4049 (TDD)
Closest Metro: Capitol South or Union Station.
You may tour the building (not the courtroom) on your own. The building is open from 9AM – 4:30PM Monday – Friday and will be closed weekends and holidays. There is a great ground-floor cafeteria open to the public for breakfast and lunch, as well as exhibits, a film, and a gift shop.
A Court Term begins the first Monday in October and lasts through June, with breaks for summer.
In Session: When the court is in session, oral arguments are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis (limited seating). To see whether oral arguments are occurring during your visit click here and open the Supreme Court Calendar for the appropriate Term. The Court generally hears two one-hour arguments a day, at 10AM and 11AM, with occasional afternoon sessions scheduled as necessary. Arguments are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in two-week intervals through late April (with longer breaks during December and February). In mid-May, after the oral argument portion of the Term has concluded, the Court takes the Bench Mondays at 10AM for the release of orders and opinions. This practice continues until all the cases heard during the Term are decided, usually the last week in June. These sessions, which typically last between 15 and 30 minutes, are also open to the public.
For information on how to attend an oral argument please click here and open the Visitor's Guide to Oral Argument.
Not in session: When court is not in session there are free lectures every hour on the half hour from 9:30AM to 3:30PM Monday-Friday. No reservations are necessary. Anyone wishing to attend a lecture should line up on the Front Plaza of the Supreme Court Building. If your group size is smaller than 25, they recommend that you arrive 10 minutes prior to start of lecture, 25-50 in group then 20 minutes prior, 50-75 in group, 30 minutes prior, 75-100 then 45 minutes prior, larger than 100 then 60 minutes prior. Lecture schedules may vary and it is best to call and confirm times before your visit.
For weekly updates on the Courtroom Lecture schedule, please call:
202-479-3211 (ext.4 … and ext. 4 again)
Lectures can also be arranged through Congressional offices on a limited basis. These reserved lectures are only available on days when the Supreme Court will be open to the public. Congressional offices are limited to 6 guests for any 2pm lecture. Group of 6 people or more must go through the public lecture line.
For the Supreme Court Visitor Information Line, please call: 202-478-3211 (ext. 4)
Closest Metro: Union Station or Capitol South
Free public tours are available. Photo identification is required. The Bureau is closed on weekends, federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Years. The Bureau is open on the Friday after Thanksgiving... please be advised that this is one of the busiest tour days of the year, so plan ahead.
September – February
No tickets are required. Line up at the Visitor Entrance to the BEP (14th & C Streets, SW). Allow 45 – 50 minutes from the time you enter the building until the end of your tour. Public tours are offered 9AM - 10:45AM & 12:30PM - 2PM (every 15 minutes).
PEAK SEASON (March - August) FREE TICKETS ARE REQUIRED
From the first Monday in March through the last Friday in August, tickets are passed out on a first-come, first-served basis. The ticket booth is located on Raoul Wallenberg Place (formerly 15th Street). They offer same day tickets only. The Ticket Booth opens at 8AM Monday - Friday, and closes when all tickets have been distributed. Lines form early (some days as early as 5:30AM) and tickets go quickly, most days (especially during the first two weeks in April ~ Cherry Blossom/Spring Break) tickets are gone by 8:30AM. Please plan accordingly.
Extended Hours (May-Aug) 2PM – 3:45PM & 5PM – 7PM (every 15 minutes)
Tours can also be arranged through Congressional offices on a limited basis. These tours are only available on days when the Bureau will be open to the public. From April through August, these tours can be requested for morning (8-9am) or afternoon (4-5pm). During the rest of the year, these tours are only available in the morning. Congressional offices are limited to 10 guests per day.
School Group Tours (RESERVATIONS REQUIRED)
Offered from 11AM - 12:15PM (every 15 minutes) (50 people max per tour)
Please complete a Group Reservation Request Form (click here) and fax it to 202-874-6331.
For more information please click here or call 202-874-3188.
Closest Metro: Smithsonian
Public tours are offered at 10:30 and 11:30AM, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30PM, Monday - Friday. Saturday tours are offered at 10:30 and 11:30AM, as well as 1:30 and 2:30PM. These free tours are open to individuals and small groups with no more than 10 participants. No reservations or tickets are required.
Groups of 10 to 60 participants may reserve private tours with advance notice by filling out the form provided by the Visitor Services Office through their website (click here), or calling 202-707–0919. These tours are designed for organizations and schools (fifth-grade level and above). Reserved group tour times are offered Monday - Friday, at 9AM., 10AM, 11AM, and 1PM, subject to availability.
Tours can also be arranged through Congressional offices. These tours are only available on days when the Library will be open to the public. These tours can be requested for either 8:30am or 1:45pm. A 3:45pm tour is also available during extended summer hours.
All tours commence in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson building.
Closest Metro: Capitol South
U.S. Department of State tours are available for reservations through their website. Tours are only conducted Monday-Friday and are not recommended for anyone 12 years old and younger due to the “fine art” displayed in some rooms. For more information, or to schedule a tour through their website, please click here.
Some tips for filling out the request form:
- Congressional, Group and Individual tours are not treated any differently. The Request Type you click is for the State Department’s internal records only. Choose the option that best describes you.
- When you have chosen a date and time, you will be able to see how many spots are available on tours at that day and time by clicking on the link.
- Experiment with the dates and times until you find a combination that can accommodate your entire party.
- Name your group and click Next.
- Fill out information for the tour contact person and click Next.
- Now fill out the security information for each participant. Everyone 16 years old and older will need to submit information about a government issued photo ID that they will bring with them on the tour. Anyone 15 years old and younger should fill out their Social Security Numbers for the ‘Government ID Number and Agency’ option and list the Agency as the SSA (or Social Security Administration).
All tour participants 16 and older must be able to present the valid photo identification used to reserve the tour. The tour should last about 45 minutes. No strollers, briefcases, backpacks, and packages are allowed on this tour and there are no lockers for personal storage. Please note that picture taking is only permitted within the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. Photography in any other area of the building is not permitted.
The links on their website sometimes do not work so we have included the correct links here for you:
For frequently asked questions about their tours please click here.
To request a tour through their website please click here.
To view their calendar of available tour dates please click here.
Please let my office of Constituent Relations in Washington know when you receive a confirmation from the State Department so that they can avoid scheduling conflicts with your other tours.
Group tours are available directly through the Pentagon website if you reserve with your work email address (ending in .edu - .gov - .org -or- .mil). A group tour is made up of 5 or more people and is from an educational institution (K-12, college and home school), government agency, church or military unit; Boy/Girl Scouts are also included in this group. For more information please click here.
Pentagon tour requests that do not meet the above guidelines must be scheduled through a Congressional office. These tours are only available Monday-Friday. Once your request is submitted through my website, please send a copy of the Pentagon security roster (available here as an Excel or Word document) to my tour coordinator via email (email@example.com) or fax (202-228-3995). If you cannot access the security roster documents from the links provided, please send the following information for everyone planning to attend the tour: Full Name, Date of Birth, and Country/City/State of Birth. Should your request be approved by the Pentagon, this information will be given to the Pentagon for a security background check. If anyone planning to attend the tour was not born in the U.S., please include their passport information.
Southeast corner of 15th and E Streets, NW
Closest Metro: Federal Triangle or Metro Center
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Closest Metro: Farragut North, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Metro Center or Federal Triangle
Located south of Independence Ave., SW. between 14th Street and Raoul Wallenberg Place (formerly 15th St.). There is an entrance also on 14th Street, next to the Bureau of Engraving. Open daily from 10AM to 5:30PM. Closed only on Yom Kippur and Christmas Day.
No tickets are necessary for entering the Museum building, or for visiting Daniel’s Story, special exhibitions, the interactive Wexner Learning Center, or using other Museum resources.
Free timed entry passes are required to begin the self-guided tour of the Museum's permanent exhibition. To obtain a timed entry pass, go directly to the museums’ entrance on the day of your visit or call 800-400-9373 for advance tickets. The permanent exhibition is recommended for ages 11+ and Daniel's Story is recommended for ages 8+. The visit will take from 1.5 - 3 hours.
For more information please click here or call 202-488-0400.
Closest Metro: Smithsonian (use the exit at 12th and Independence Avenue)
The Smithsonian is a collection of 14 museums and sites in the Washington, DC area.
Admission to all museums is free.
Locations are varied. For more information please click here.
Most Museums are open daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, except December 25th.
Most Museums are open daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, except December 25th.
Telephone: 202-633-1000 (voice) or 202.633.5285 (TTY)
800 F Street, NW.
The Museum is closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. On occasion, the Museum closes for private events earlier than regular visiting hours. Hours vary. To see the schedule please click here.
For more information please click here or call 866-779-6873 or 202-393-7798.
Closest Metro: Gallery Place (exit at either 7th & F Streets or 9th & G Streets)
Located on 10th St between E and F Streets, NW
Admission is free. The Lincoln Museum and the house where Lincoln died are open from 8AM - 11:45PM every day except Christmas Day. Tours at the theatre are self guided. Fifteen minute historical talks are presented at fifteen past the hour except from 12 - 2PM.
Because Ford’s Theatre also functions as an active stage with live performances there are times when the theatre will be closed to the public. Matinees usually take place on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, although rehearsals can take place at any time of day. For performance information please click here.
Closest Metro: Metro Center or Gallery Place
401 F St, NW, between 4th and 5th Streets.
The National Building Museum is open to the public 10AM - 5PM (Monday – Saturday), and Sundays 11AM - 5PM. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. On rare occasions, the Museum may close for a special event. 45-minute, walk-in, public tours are offered at 12:30PM (Monday – Wednesday), and at 11:30AM, 12:30PM, and 1:30PM (Thursday - Sunday).
Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation. Groups of 10 or more must make a reservation by contacting the group coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org (fees may apply).
Wheelchair access is available through the G Street entrance.
For more information call (202) 272-2448 or click here.
Closest Metro: Judiciary Square
1776 D Street, NW. Two blocks from the White House.
Admission is free and the Museum is open 9:30AM - 4PM (Monday - Friday) and Saturday 9AM - 5PM. Groups of 10 or more are asked to notify the museum of their planned visit at 202-879-3341 or email email@example.com.
Free, 45-minute, guided tours are on the hour and half-hour Monday through Friday 10 AM to 2:30 PM and Saturday 9 AM to 4:30 PM. For groups of 10 or more people, reservations are required for a guided tour (there is a fee for reserving the group guided tour).
For more information call (202) 879-3341 or click here.
Closest Metro: Farragut West
17th and M Streets, NW
Admission is free. No guided tours are available.
Open 9AM – 5PM (Monday – Saturday); Sunday 10AM – 5PM
For more information call (202) 857-7588 or click here.
Closest Metro: Farragut North
National Mall between 3rd and 7th streets at Constitution Avenue, NW
Admission is free and the Museum is open 10AM – 5PM (Monday-Saturday) and Sundays 11AM – 6PM.
Audio Tours are available, depending on the exhibit, from 10:30AM - 3:30PM.
Groups larger than 10 need to call to reserve tours at (202) 842-6592.
Closest Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial
*The Garden is open, though the museum and shop may be closed for renovation.
The entrance to the gardens is at R & 31st Streets, NW, 2 blocks east of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.
November 1 - March 14: 2 PM – 5 PM, free admission
March 15 - October 31: 2 PM – 6 PM, there is a fee for admission
Closed on Mondays, federal holidays, during inclement weather and on Christmas Eve.
Guided tours for the gardens are available and must be arranged in advance. Call 202-339-6409 or contact the Docent Coordinator, Christine Blazina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, call 202-339-6401 or e-mail DumbartonOaks2008@doaks.org or click here.
Closest Metro: Dupont Circle
Metrobus routes 30, 32, 34, 36, D2, D4, M12 come within two blocks of the garden.
201 East Capitol Street, SE
The library is free and open to the public from 10AM - 5PM (Monday - Saturday), but is closed on all federal holidays. Walk-in, docent tours of the building and the current exhibition are available at 11AM (Monday - Friday) and on Saturday at 11AM & 1PM. Docent tours of the Elizabethan Garden are available every third Saturday of the month at 10AM & 11AM (April - October).
Group tours are available for both school groups and adult groups, and must be arranged in advance. Please call the Education department at 202-675-0395.
For more information, call 202-544-4600 or click here.
For more information about school visits and tours please click here.
For more information about activities for all groups please click here.
Closest Metro: Union Station or Capitol South
700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW. Between 7th & 9th Streets, NW, the entrance to Exhibit Hall is on Constitution Avenue.
Admission is free and reservations are not necessary for those who wish to enter through the general public line. It can take up to one hour to enter the building through the general public line during seasons of heavy traffic. The Archives are open daily from 10AM - 5:30PM. Extended summer hours until 7PM. Plan on spending about 90 minutes viewing all the Archives has to offer. Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25.
All food and beverages are prohibited. There is a small snack bar but no facility in which to store bag lunches. In good weather, groups may eat outdoors on the Mall or at the U.S. Navy Memorial.
Reservations are recommended for individuals or groups wishing to make a self-guided visit to the National Archives Experience. Spring/Summer hours for self-guided tours are 10:15AM – 5:30PM (Monday - Friday). Fall/Winter hours are 10:15AM – 4PM (Monday - Friday). Reservations must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the visit. To make a reservation for a self-guided tour, please contact the Visitor Services Manager at email@example.com.
Reservations are required for individuals or groups up to 20 wishing to take a one-hour guided tour of the National Archives Experience. Guided tours are at 9:45AM (Monday –Friday) and space is limited to 20 persons. Reservations must be made in advance. Contacting the Archives at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the visit is recommended. Please call the Volunteer and Tour Office at 202-357-5450 to schedule a date and time for your visit.
For more information about reserved self-guided tours click here
For more information about events please click here
For more general information please click here.
Closest Metro: Archives-Navy Memorial
*Armed Forces personnel in uniform and their guests may enter through the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue.
14th Street, between Constitution Ave & Pennsylvania Ave, NW. Located in the U.S. Department of Commerce Building on 14th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue NW.
Open daily 9AM – 5PM. Last admission is at 4:30PM. Allow 45 minutes to see everything the National Aquarium has to offer. Animal keeper hosted talks and animal feedings occur daily at 2PM. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There is a fee for admission, Children under 2 are free. Credit cards cannot be used for admission.
For more information about school group visits please click here.
For more information about events please click here.
For more information call 202-482-2825 or click here.
Closest Metro: Federal Triangle
15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Strollers and backpacks are not permitted in the Building and there is no storage area onsite. Photography (still or video) is not permitted. Special arrangements must be made in advance for wheelchair access to the building. Photo ID is required for admittance.
732 North Capitol St., NW between H & G Streets
Tours must be scheduled through a Congressional Office and are only available Memorial Day – Labor Day. If your stay in DC occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you may mention in the special needs section of the Tour Request Form that you would like this tour option. The tour is not suitable for children under six. Please reserve tours at least 2 weeks in advance.
Cameras and open-toed shoes are prohibited. Photo ID is required for admittance.
2700 F Street, NW
Free performances take place on the Millennium Stage at 6:00 pm 365 days a year. The Kennedy Center also offers free, hour-long tours of the building on a walk-in basis. The tours can be given in several foreign languages upon request. Tours are available from 10AM – 5PM (Monday - Friday) and 10AM – 1P (Saturday & Sunday). The Center is closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Reserved tours can be scheduled through my office, at least 1 week in advance, by mentioning it in the special needs section of the Tour Request Form.
Tour times are 9:30AM and 4:30PM (Monday – Friday), or 9:30AM (Saturday & Sunday).
For more information call 202-416-8340 (TTY 416-8524) or click here.
Closest Metro: Foggy Bottom/GWU
Located on Memorial Drive in Arlington, Virginia
Hours: Open daily 8AM – 7PM (April – September); 8AM – 5PM (October – March)
Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier occurs each hour on the hour and every half hour in the summer months.
For more information please call 703-607-8000 or click here.
Closest Metro: Arlington Cemetery
It is located on Mount Saint Alban in Washington, D.C., which is one of the highest points in the city.
Guided tours are given Monday - Saturday from 10:00AM to 3:15PM and Sundays from 12:30 to 2:45PM except during special events and services. There is a suggested donation for tours.
The grounds tour takes you through the Bishop's Lawn and Gardens. You get many details on the plants and trees in the garden. These tours are given on Wednesdays from 10:30 - 11:30AM (April – October).
For More information please click here.
34th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Free public tours are offered on alternating Monday evenings from 8:30 - 10PM and are by reservation only. The Observatory is closed for Federal Holidays. Backpacks, bags and bulky items are not permitted on the grounds. Photo ID is required for all adults.
Fax a request to the Public Affairs Office at (202) 762-1489. You must submit your tour reservation 4 to 6 weeks in advance. You must provide the names and dates-of-birth of all individuals in your party. As a Requestor you must also provide an email address or daytime telephone number so that the USNO may contact you with the status of your request. You will receive an email or telephone confirmation when your order has been processed no later than the Friday before your First Choice tour date.
For more information please call 202-762-1438 or click here.
VA Route 53 near the intersection of Interstate 64 and VA Route 20, approximately two miles southeast of Charlottesville. Hours are seasonal.
For more information please call 434-984-9822 or click here.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121
About 16 miles south of Washington, DC.
Hours are seasonal. A shuttle to the Pioneer Farm Site is available from March 11 to November. Tours are available for a fee, children 5 and under are free.
No food or drink except for bottled water is allowed. Gum, strollers and motorized scooters are not allowed in the mansion. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash.
For more information call 703-780-2000 or click here.
Closest Metro: Huntington Station to Fairfax Connector Bus
935 Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets, NW.
Sorry, Headquarters Tours are currently closed, pending renovations.
50 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Open 24 hours.There are public restrooms, public lockers, pay phones and an ATM machine, as well as several entertainment and other options available at Union Station.