DC Tour Information Page
- U.S. Capitol
- White House
- White House Visitor Center
- Supreme Court
- Library of Congress
- Department of State
- Bureau of Engraving
The Capitol Visitor Center is the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol. Visitors can enter the Visitor Center without tickets. It is located on the East front of the Capitol at First Street and East Capitol Street, NE.
The U.S. Capitol is open to the public for guided tours only. Tours will be conducted from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Capitol will be open on all federal holidays except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Presidential Inauguration Days. However, it may be closed to tours for special events on occasion.
The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center strongly advises that you make a reservation in advance to visit the Capitol (Spring and Summer months are particularly busy). Free tickets are required for a tour of the Capitol and may be needed for other special events. Groups of 10 or less can make their own reservations through the Capitol Visitor Center up to two months in advance by clicking here or calling (202)226-8000. Groups larger than 10 must make a reservation through a Congressional office. A limited number of same-day passes are available each day at the Information Desks in Emancipation Hall on the lower level of the Visitor Center.
If you are hoping to visit the House or Senate Galleries, please be advised that separate passes are needed for entry. Gallery Passes do not need to be used same-day, so you can pick them up at any time during your visit and use them at your leisure. Gallery passes for both the Senate and House galleries will be available at my office during normal business hours Monday - Friday. The Senate Gallery is only open to the public when the Senate is in session. The House Gallery is open to the public Monday - Friday, 9am to 4:30pm, whether or not the House is in session. You can visit the Galleries whether or not you have scheduled a Capitol tour. Entry to the galleries is through the Capitol Visitor Center, upper level. International visitors may obtain gallery passes at the Senate or House Appointment Desks in the Visitor Center.
For the latest recorded information on visiting the Capitol, please call: 202-225-6827. For special needs (wheelchair access, etc), please call: 202-224-4048 (voice) or 202-224-4049 (TDD).
For more information, and a current list of prohibited items, please click here.
Closest Metro: Capitol South or Union Station.
return to top
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Tours of the White House must be scheduled through a Congressional office. As of February 27th, 2009, the White House Visitors Office has changed the hours that tours will be available.
These tours are available Tuesday - Saturday.
They will ALWAYS be open from 7:30 AM - 10:00 AM.
They will OCCASIONALLY be open from 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM (depending on the President's schedule).
On days when only morning tours are available, less than 1500 passes are available and all 535 Congressional offices are competing for those spots.
There is no way of knowing in advance on what days the White House will be open from only 7:30-10:00 AM and on what days the White House will be open 7:30 AM-2:30 PM.
The White House will be closed for federal holidays and occasionally for diplomatic events. Tour schedules are always dependent on official events taking place in the White House. Occasionally, it may be necessary to deviate from the regular tour schedule, or reschedule a tour.
Tours are self-guided so you can take as little or as much time as you like. For planning purposes, you should allow 45 minutes. Keep in mind that the tour officers positioned in each room are very knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions you may have.
The following information is required for everyone planning to attend the tour: Full Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Gender, and City and State of Current Residence. Should your request be approved by the White House, this information will be given to the White House for a security background check. If anyone planning to attend the tour is not a U.S. citizen (this includes permanent residents and legal immigrants awaiting citizenship), please include their passport information.
For more information please call the 24-hour Tour Information Line (202) 456-7041 or click here.
Closest Metro: Farragut North, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Metro Center or Federal Triangle
Before making a tour request, please note:
- Once the request is submitted, the number and names of people allowed on the tour cannot be changed.
- Please make travel plans first, then contact my office when you have a specific visit in mind. It is not advisable to wait for a confirmed tour before making travel arrangements, as the White House confirms tours with very little notice (sometimes as little as 2 weeks advance notice).
- White House tours are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, it is best to contact my office as soon as you have firm travel plans.
- White House tours fill up very quickly during holiday times and in the spring and summer months.
- Please give at least six months advance notice (this is the earliest the White House will accept a request from our office). Tour requests can not be submitted less than one month in advance.
- If you have any time constraints during your visit, please make a note of them.
- Tour request acceptance or denial is solely at the discretion of the White House Visitors Office.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, the following: handbags, book bags, backpacks, purses, food and beverages of any kind, strollers, cameras, video recorders or any type of recording device, tobacco products, personal grooming items (make-up, hair brush or comb, lip or hand lotions, etc.), any pointed objects (pens, knitting needles, etc.), aerosol containers, guns, ammunition, fireworks, electric stun guns, mace, martial arts weapons/devices, or knives of any size. The U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items. Umbrellas, wallets, cell phones (without cameras) and car keys are permitted. All persons and items entering the White House will be screened through a security process. Individuals may be requested to consent to an interview or additional security procedures before they are admitted to the White House complex.
Please note that no storage facilities are available on or around the complex. It is highly recommended that you either leave items in your hotel room or car while visiting the White House. Individuals who arrive with prohibited items will not be permitted to enter the White House.
There are several hotels near the White House that allow a small number of items to be stored at their bell desks or front desks on a case-by-case basis (unless a foreign dignitary is staying at the time). These hotels are the Hotel Washington, Willard Intercontinental, Sofitel, Hay Adams and the Marriott, among others.
There is a baggage storage room, with attendants, available to the public at Union Station for a fee. Open 6am-10pm. Located at Gate A (next to the MARC info counter). For more information please call them directly at 202-898-1592.
All necessary medications must be identified and remain in the custody of an adult chaperone or contact for the entire tour.
Metro: Exit McPherson Square (Red or Orange Line) or Metro Center (Red, Blue or Orange Line)
Cab: ask for 15th and E streets NW.
TOUR CANCELLATIONS AND LATE ARRIVALS
White House tours are always subject to last minute cancellation. A day before your tour, please call the White House Visitors Office 24-hour information line at (202) 456-7041 for the most current information about your White House tour.
You should arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time. Late arrivals will not be accommodated.
return to top
White House Visitor Center
Southeast corner of 15th and E Streets, NW
It is open to the public and does not require reserved tours. The location is easy to find by looking for three American flags and the blue awnings. It is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and features many aspects of the White House, including its architecture, furnishings, first families, social events, and relations with the press and world leaders, as well as a 30-minute video. Allow between 20 minutes to one hour to explore the exhibits. The White House Historical Association also sponsors a sales area. Please note that restrooms are available, but food service is not.
For more information please click here.
Closest Metro: Federal Triangle or Metro Center
return to top
You may tour the building (not the courtroom) on your own. The building is open from 9AM - 4:30PM Monday - Friday and will be closed weekends and holidays. There is a great ground-floor cafeteria open to the public for breakfast and lunch, as well as exhibits, a film, and a gift shop.
A Court Term begins the first Monday in October and lasts through June, with breaks for summer.
In Session: When the court is in session, oral arguments are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis (limited seating). To see whether oral arguments are occurring during your visit click here and open the Supreme Court Calendar for the appropriate Term. The Court generally hears two one-hour arguments a day, at 10AM and 11AM, with occasional afternoon sessions scheduled as necessary. Arguments are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in two-week intervals through late April (with longer breaks during December and February). In mid-May, after the oral argument portion of the Term has concluded, the Court takes the Bench Mondays at 10AM for the release of orders and opinions. This practice continues until all the cases heard during the Term are decided, usually the last week in June. These sessions, which typically last between 15 and 30 minutes, are also open to the public.
For information on how to attend an oral argument please click here and open the Visitor's Guide to Oral Argument.
Not in session: When court is not in session there are free lectures every hour on the half hour from 9:30AM to 3:30PM Monday-Friday. No reservations are necessary. Anyone wishing to attend a lecture should line up on the Front Plaza of the Supreme Court Building. If your group size is smaller than 25, they recommend that you arrive 10 minutes prior to start of lecture, 25-50 in group then 20 minutes prior, 50-75 in group, 30 minutes prior, 75-100 then 45 minutes prior, larger than 100 then 60 minutes prior. Lecture schedules may vary and it is best to call and confirm times before your visit.
For weekly updates on the Courtroom Lecture schedule, please call:
202-479-3211 (ext.4 ... and ext. 4 again)
Lectures can also be arranged through Congressional offices on a limited basis. These reserved lectures are only available on days when the Supreme Court will be open to the public. Congressional offices are limited to 6 guests for any 2pm lecture. Group of 6 people or more must go through the public lecture line.
For the Supreme Court Visitor Information Line, please call: 202-478-3211 (ext. 4)
For more information please click here.
Closest Metro: Union Station or Capitol South
return to top
Library of Congress
Public tours are offered at 10:30 and 11:30AM, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30PM, Monday - Friday. Saturday tours are offered at 10:30 and 11:30AM, as well as 1:30 and 2:30PM. These free tours are open to individuals and small groups with no more than 10 participants. No reservations or tickets are required.
Groups of 10 to 60 participants may reserve private tours with advance notice by filling out the form provided by the Visitor Services Office through their website (click here), or calling 202-707-0919. These tours are designed for organizations and schools (fifth-grade level and above). Reserved group tour times are offered Monday - Friday, at 9AM., 10AM, 11AM, and 1PM, subject to availability.
Tours can also be arranged through Congressional offices. These tours are only available on days when the Library will be open to the public. These tours can be requested for either 8:30am or 1:45pm. A 3:45pm tour is also available during extended summer hours.
All tours commence in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson building.
For more information please click here.
Closest Metro: Capitol South
return to top
Department of State
U.S. Department of State tours are available for reservations through their website. Tours are only conducted Monday-Friday and are not recommended for anyone 12 years old and younger due to the "fine art" displayed in some rooms. For more information, or to schedule a tour through their website, please click here.
Some tips for filling out the request form:
- Congressional, Group and Individual tours are not treated any differently. The Request Type you click is for the State Department's internal records only. Choose the option that best describes you.
- When you have chosen a date and time, you will be able to see how many spots are available on tours at that day and time by clicking on the link.
- Experiment with the dates and times until you find a combination that can accommodate your entire party.
- Name your group and click Next.
- Fill out information for the tour contact person and click Next.
- Now fill out the security information for each participant. Everyone 16 years old and older will need to submit information about a government issued photo ID that they will bring with them on the tour. Anyone 15 years old and younger should fill out their Social Security Numbers for the ‘Government ID Number and Agency' option and list the Agency as the SSA (or Social Security Administration).
All tour participants 16 and older must be able to present the valid photo identification used to reserve the tour. The tour should last about 45 minutes. No strollers, briefcases, backpacks, and packages are allowed on this tour and there are no lockers for personal storage. Please note that picture taking is only permitted within the Diplomatic Reception Rooms. Photography in any other area of the building is not permitted.
return to top
Group tours are available directly through the Pentagon website if you reserve with your work email address (ending in .edu - .gov - .org -or- .mil). A group tour is made up of 5 or more people and is from an educational institution (K-12, college and home school), government agency, church or military unit; Boy/Girl Scouts are also included in this group. For more information please click here.
Pentagon tour requests that do not meet the above guidelines must be scheduled through a Congressional office. These tours are only available Monday-Friday. The following information is required for everyone planning to attend the tour: Full Name, Date of Birth, and Country/City/State of Birth. Should your request be approved by the Pentagon, this information will be given to the Pentagon for a security background check. If anyone planning to attend the tour was not born in the U.S., please include their passport information.
return to top
Bureau of Engraving
Free public tours are available. Photo identification is required. The Bureau is closed on weekends, federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Years. The Bureau is open on the Friday after Thanksgiving... please be advised that this is one of the busiest tour days of the year, so plan ahead.
September - February
No tickets are required. Line up at the Visitor Entrance to the BEP (14th & C Streets, SW). Allow 45 - 50 minutes from the time you enter the building until the end of your tour. Public tours are offered 9AM - 10:45AM & 12:30PM - 2PM (every 15 minutes).
PEAK SEASON (March - August) FREE TICKETS ARE REQUIRED
From the first Monday in March through the last Friday in August, tickets are passed out on a first-come, first-served basis. The ticket booth is located on Raoul Wallenberg Place (formerly 15th Street). They offer same day tickets only. The Ticket Booth opens at 8AM Monday - Friday, and closes when all tickets have been distributed. Lines form early (some days as early as 5:30AM) and tickets go quickly, most days (especially during the first two weeks in April ~ Cherry Blossom/Spring Break) tickets are gone by 8:30AM. Please plan accordingly.
Extended Hours (May-Aug) 2PM - 3:45PM & 5PM - 7PM (every 15 minutes)
Tours can also be arranged through Congressional offices on a limited basis. These tours are only available on days when the Bureau will be open to the public. From April through August, these tours can be requested for morning (8-9am) or afternoon (4-5pm). During the rest of the year, these tours are only available in the morning. Congressional offices are limited to 10 guests per day.
School Group Tours (RESERVATIONS REQUIRED)
Offered from 11AM - 12:15PM (every 15 minutes) (50 people max per tour)
Please complete a Group Reservation Request Form (click here) and fax it to 202-874-6331.
For more information please click here or call 202-874-3188.
Closest Metro: Smithsonian
return to top