Tips for Visiting the Capitol

Capitol Visitor Center Entrance East Front

 Plan ahead
The Capitol Visitor Center is usually less crowded on weekday mornings, right after opening at 9:00 a.m. If you are interested in a tour of the Capitol, be sure to book one in advance through our Advance Reservation System or through the offices of your Senators or Representative.

Come by Public Transportation
Avoid the frustration of looking for a parking spot by taking public transportation to the Capitol. Two Metrorail stops, Union Station and Capitol South, are close by. Additional information on riding Metro is available at the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority homepage here.

Allow Enough Time
Factor in time to get to the Capitol. No matter your method of transportation, you may find yourself with several blocks of walking to do before you arrive at the Visitor Center. Once at the Capitol, remember that there is an enormous amount to see and do. Your guided tour of the Capitol begins with a 13-minute orientation film and takes about an hour in all. The Capitol Visitor Center also includes a large Exhibition Hall, two Gift Shops and an ample Restaurant.

Visiting with Young Children
Younger children may appreciate some of the excitement of visiting the Capitol such as viewing the Capitol Dome through the large skylights atop the Capitol Visitor Center's Emancipation Hall. They may also enjoy the Exhibition Hall and the grounds, especially if you let them and their interests be your guide.

Visiting with Older Children
Get your children interested by talking, reading, and learning about the U.S. Capitol before your visit. Along with this Web site, the House and Senate also have sites with a rich array of resources.