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What to Expect on a Tour of the US Capitol

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There are two places in Washington DC that are on the top of most tourist’s bucket list: The US Capitol and the White House. Getting a tour of both of these takes a little preplanning but is worth the extra effort. On our recent road trip to Washington DC, we were able to take a guided tour of the US Capitol and have a few things to share about what to expect on a tour of the US Capitol.

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What to Expect on a Tour of the US Capitol

Although it is possible to get same day tickets when you arrive in Washington DC, it’s definitely recommended to reserve a tour before you arrive. There is no fee to visit the Capitol but you must have tickets.

US Capitol Visitors Center

Book your Tour

There are two ways to book a tour of the US Capitol.

  • You can contact the office of your Representative or Senator and request a tour. Most Congressional offices offer their own staff-led tours to groups of up to 15 people and can assist you in reserving a general tour.
  • You can also arrange a tour directly through the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center using an online reservation system. You simply create an account and reserve your tour date and time.
US Capitol Visitors Center

*Note that tours fill up quickly and must be reserved as soon as possible. You should make reservations as soon as you know the dates you plan to be in Washington DC.

We contacted our State Representative through their website and requested a tour. On the day of our tour, we met our tour guide in the Representative’s office. They will send you email directions so you know where to meet and what time to arrive. If you are unsure, just reply and ask!

The tour takes you through some of the original chambers where the early leaders of our country met.

The tour guide is typically a staff member or intern who lives in your own state and can personalize your tour so you will see the things that specifically pertain to your home area.

Remember that you will not be allowed to carry ANY drinks or most snacks in any backpacks or purses. So plan accordingly and drink or consume any snacks before you arrive.

You will pass through security and then have the opportunity to take your guided tour of the US Capitol building.

The tour takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour and will give you the opportunity to see some of the Capitol highlights.

Statuary Hall

One of the most fascinating places for us was Statuary Hall. It’s a unique feeling to be standing in the Hall where daily news briefings occur, the Inauguration Luncheon and so many Presidents have walked.

Statuary Hall

National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. The hall, also known as the Old Hall of the House, is a large, two-story, semicircular room with a second story gallery along the curved perimeter. It is located immediately south of the Rotunda.

There are restrooms along the tour in case you need it and of course, a gift shop at the end of your tour.

Don’t forget the back of the Capitol!

When you are done with your tour, don’t forget to walk around and enjoy the view from the back.

Have you ever toured the US Capitol? What is your favorite place to visit in Washington DC? I’d love to hear!


Heading to Washington DC? Check out these other articles to help you plan your visit.

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7 Comments

  1. I haven’t visited in a long time! I wonder if after spending a half a billion dollars on that place they still have those clippity-clop cement tiles outside that rattle as you walk on them!

  2. I have never visited DC — would love to go and see the Capitol, statutes, memorials, cemetery and more.

  3. I would love to visit the Capitol. I was there on a field trip way back in middle school. However, I really don’t remember much about it. I have never been to Washingto DC but would love to tour the White House.

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