The Capitol Building

The Capitol Building and Capitol Visitor Center


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Location: The Capitol Visitor Center, the new main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. 

Hours: The Visitor Center is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Inauguration Day.

Guided Tours of The Capitol: Guided tours of the Capitol begin at the Orientation Theaters on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center.  “Out of Many, One,” a 13-minute film, illustrates how this country established a new form of government, highlights the vital role that Congress plays in the daily lives of Americans, and introduces you to the building that houses the U.S. Congress.

Note: Tours are free, but tour passes are required.

Advance Passes:  Tours may be booked in advance online, through our office using the Tour Request form, or through the Office of Visitor Services by calling (202) 226-8000.

Same-Day Passes:  A limited number of 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.

Watching Congress in Session

Hours:  The Senate and House Galleries are open to visitors whenever either body is in session.  In addition, the House Gallery is open 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, when the House is not in session.

Passes:  Passes are required to enter either gallery at any time.  Visitors may obtain gallery passes from Senator Murray’s office in 154 Russell Senate Office Building.  If you plan on taking a tour of the Capitol, please pick up gallery passes PRIOR to your tour. 

Closest Metro Stations : Union Station, Capitol South, Federal Center SW