The U.S. CapitolRising up atop "the Hill," the United States Capitol is where the Senate and House of Representative meet and work. Visitors to the Capitol can get a taste of history when they stroll the magnificent grounds of this government seat. Start at the Capitol Visitor Center, which is the main entrance to the Capitol. Here you'll find fascinating exhibitions and displays of historic documents.
Hours -Capitol Visitor Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Inauguration Day.
Prices -Admission is free.
Tips -Food and drink are not allowed in the Capitol Visitor Center, including unopened packages and bottles. Other prohibited objects include guns, knives, aerosol cans, large bags, and pepper spray. Cameras are permitted, although photography is restricted in some areas.
- Explore the Visitor Center
- Walk Capitol Hill grounds
- View House and Senate galleries
- Family programs in
- Take a Capitol tour
Capitol Visitor CenterA visit to the United States Capitol begins with a stop at the Visitor Center. Opened in 2008, the underground Center is the main entrance just below the East Plaza. There are two levels and lots to explore including Exhibition Hall with its displays about the history of the Capitol and Congress. There are also two gift shops and a restaurant in the Visitor Center. About 90 minutes is a good amount of time to set aside here.
Construction of the CapitolThe Capitol design came out of an architectural competition. The winners, William Thornton, an amateur; and Stephen Hallet, a professional French architect, collaborated on the final design. Construction began in 1793, and Congress was able to meet in the building in 1800. The Rotunda was added later, completed in 1826. Almost 50 years after, Frederick Law Olmstead, famous for designing New York’s Central Park, improved upon the grounds surrounding the Capitol, creating a harmonious, monumental tribute to Capitol Hill.
Map/DirectionsDriving Direction to United States Capitol
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