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: Capitol tours last about an hour and are free, even though passes are required. Tours may be booked in advance online using the Tour Request Form, through the Capitols Visitors Center, or through the office of Visitor Services at (202) 226-8000.

  • Staff-Led Tour: These tours leave from Senator Murray’s office in 154 Russell Senate Office Building, three times daily and are offered only on Monday through Friday when the office is open. Passes to view the House and Senate in Session are provided as part of this tour.

  • Capitol Visitor Center Tours: Guided tours of the Capitol begin in the Capitol Visitors Center at the Orientation Theaters in Emancipation Hall. A short film, “Out of Many, One” is shown, followed by a walking tour of the Capitol building.

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