The United States Capitol is a monument, a working office building, and one of the most recognizable symbols of representative democracy in the world. Visitors are welcome to enter the building through the Capitol Visitor Center, located underground on the east side of the Capitol. You can begin your Capitol experience at the Visitor Center by visiting the Exhibition Hall, perusing our Gift Shops or dining in our Restaurant. Please review the U.S. Capitol prohibited items list before your visit.
The 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. Getting to the Capitol »
Admission and Passes - Admission to the Capitol Visitor Center is free. However, passes are required for tours of the historic Capitol and may be needed for other special events. All visitors to the Capitol are required to go through security screening.
Tours - Tours of the U.S. Capitol need to be scheduled in advance through the Advance Reservation System or through the office of one of your Senators or your Representative. Book a Tour »
Visitors with Disabilities - The Capitol Visitor Center is fully accessible to people with disabilities. Listening devices with audio description of the films and exhibition are available at the Information Desks. All films have open captioning. In addition, there are a variety of other services for visitors with disabilities, including adaptive tours of the Capitol, wheelchairs, and sign-language interpreting services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. More Information on Accessibility »
Restaurant -The Restaurant is on the lower level and offers continental breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Freshly made soups, salads, specialty entrées, pizzas, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages that reflect the diverse bounty of America and are available for purchase at the Restaurant. Click here to view the Restaurant menu. Meal vouchers may be reserved ahead of time for groups of 25 or more. Click here for more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - A collection of additional questions and answers is available on the Frequently Asked Questions Page. View the Frequently Asked Questions »
Hours and Passes - The Senate and House galleries are open to visitors whenever either legislative body is in session, however the galleries are not included as part of the U.S. Capitol tour. Passes are required to enter either gallery at any time. Visitors may obtain gallery passes from the offices of their Senators or Representative. International visitors may inquire about gallery passes at the House and Senate Appointment Desks on the upper level of the Capitol Visitor Center.
When the House of Representatives is not in session, visitors with passes are admitted to the Gallery from 9 a.m. to no later than 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. The last entry into the Gallery may be earlier than 4:15 p.m. based on demand. Visitors are advised to arrive prior to 4 p.m. for the best opportunity to view the Gallery. The House Gallery is closed on holidays and is subject to unplanned, temporary closures when the House is out of session.
The Senate gallery is open during scheduled recesses of one week or more, and visitors are admitted to the gallery from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. On recess days, visitors are welcome to stay until 4:30 p.m., at which time the gallery closes. The Senate gallery is closed on weekends and holidays (unless the Senate is in session), and during any recess or adjournment of less than one week. For information on whether the Senate gallery is open, please call 202.224.0057.
Entry to the House and Senate Galleries is through the Capitol Visitor Center on the upper level.
Service Animals - Service animals are allowed in the Capitol Visitor Center and the Capitol.
Capitol Etiquette Information - To ensure that everyone has an enjoyable visit to the Capitol, we ask that all visitors adhere to the Capitol Etiquette guidelines.