Welcome to the U.S. Capitol

What's Happening

Special Activities Civil War Exhibition Hall Brumidi
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 activities you may take advantage of.

Instruments of Change screen shot
Through mid-March, the Capitol Visitor Center welcomes a new display in Exhibition Hall entitled “Instruments of Change.” The documents and artifacts, on loan from the National Archives and the Library of Congress, focus on petitions, investigations, and Acts of Congress that are all considered “instruments of change” which can affect the lives of citizens and the direction of the nation. Exhibition Hall is located on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center. Staff and visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Twenty-minute Exhibition Hall Tours are available Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m., and Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.

Civil War Website
Curious about what happened at the U.S. Capitol and in Congress during the Civil War? Explore our new Website, "Building A More Perfect Union."

Plan a Visit

Hours of Operations of the U.S. CapitolHours: 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.

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

Directions to the U.S. CapitolThe Capitol Visitor Center, the new main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located beneath the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street. Click here for directions to the Capitol.

Watch this short student orientation video before you visit the U.S. Capitol.
Watch this short student orientation video before you visit the U.S. Capitol.

Watch this 3-minute time lapse video of a day in life of the Capitol Visitor Center.

Backpack WarningBackpack Warning: Do not bring large daypacks, backpacks or luggage into the Capitol. Any bag larger than 18" wide x 14" high x 8.5" deep is prohibited. Click here for a full list of prohibited items.

Learn More

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.

Learn More