Welcome to the U.S. Capitol

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The United States Capitol

The Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. The Senate and the House of Representatives have met here for more than two centuries. Begun in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended, and restored; today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders but also to the American people and their government.

Whether you are here to get information about an upcoming visit, to involve yourself in the workings of the Senate and House of Representatives, or to be inspired by two centuries of art and architecture, this site will be a gateway to your Capitol experience.

The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center is the newest addition to this historic complex. At nearly 580,000 square feet, the Visitor Center is the largest project in the Capitol's more than two-century history and is approximately three quarters the size of the Capitol itself. The entire facility is located underground on the east side of the Capitol so as not to detract from the appearance of the Capitol and the grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1874.

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Plan a Visit

Clock  iconHours: The Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Inauguration Day. Tours of the U.S. Capitol are conducted from 8:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visitors with official business appointments may enter the Visitor Center as early as 7:15 a.m. 

No backpacks symbolBackpack Warning: Do not bring large daypacks, backpacks or luggage into the Capitol. Any bag larger than 14" wide x 13" high x 4" deep is prohibited. Other restrictions include cans and bottles, full or empty. Click here for a full list of prohibited items.

ticket iconBook a Tour: Tours of the U.S. Capitol are free, but tour passes are required.

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What's Happening at the Capitol

Aside from the general tour of the U.S. Capitol offered Monday through Saturday from 8:50 a.m. until 3:20 p.m., there are a number of special tours you may take advantage of.

On Thursdays at 1 p.m., join curators, historians and educators from the Capitol, National Archives and Library of Congress as they reveal stories about Congress and the Capitol through documents and objects on display in Exhibition Hall. Talks are 15 minutes. Meet at the entrance to the Exhibition Hall on the lower level. No reservations or passes required. Click here for more information. Tours of Exhibition Hall are offered Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.  Meet at the entrance to Exhibition Hall for these 20-minute tours – no passes required.

Tours of the 19th Century Senate Historic Rooms and Corridors are offered Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.  This tour includes the former Supreme Court chamber, the former Senate chamber, and the ornate corridors on the Senate side of the Capitol painted by Constantino Brumidi.  You may obtain free passes for this tour at either of the Information Desks on the lower level.