Watching Congress In Session

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.