U.S. Capitol Tours

Walking Tours Offered by the U.S. Capitol Historical Society

Temple of Democracy: History Made Here

Join U.S. Capitol Historical Society staff and trained volunteers for a walking tour of the Capitol Grounds, filled with anecdotes and perspectives about the Congress, the origin and construction of the building itself, and discussions of the broader concepts of democratic government. Learn why it took nearly 40 years to build the original Capitol Building as well as why and how it has been expanded and changed since then. Hear about famous – and infamous – incidents that have taken place inside, crucial turning points in the history of the republic, and how the daily activities in the complex today still shape the way our government – and nation – works. This tour is a different, more historically inclined, experience than those offered by Congressional offices and the Capitol Visitor Center. Named “Best Specialty Tour” by Washingtonian Magazine, this is one experience you won’t want to miss!

The cost is $30 per adult, $15 per youth ages 10 through 17, and free for children ages 0 through 9.

USCHS Members receive one complimentary walking tour per year. To book your Member Tour, please email: Caren Cannon

To book a large group tour (more than 15 guests), please email: Caren Cannon


Logistics:

Time: Weekday Evenings at 5:30 pm from March 1 through Memorial Day, 7:00 pm from Memorial Day through September 30, and 5:30 pm from October 1 through November 30.

Meeting Place: Garfield Circle (at the intersection of First Street and Maryland Avenue Southwest)

Public Transit: Garfield Circle is accessible by Metrorail via the Red Line at Union Station or via the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines at Federal Center Southwest

Parking: Public Parking is available at Union Station

Olmsted’s Stunning Capitol Landscape

Join U.S. Capitol Historical Society staff and trained volunteers for a special walking tour of the Capitol Grounds focusing on the work of the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted, the Father of Landscape Architecture. Since the previous design was implemented, the Capitol grounds were greatly enlarged, and the Capitol had doubled in size. Learn why Frederick Olmsted was brought in by Congress to design this larger space and how the monumental undertaking took place. Discover the intricacies and see firsthand the beauty of his careful design, all the while hearing about the incredible life he led from merchant seaman to gentleman farmer to journalist to landscape architect. A local favorite, this is a tour every history and park-lover should take!

The cost is $30 per adult, $15 per youth ages 10 through 17, and free for children ages 0 through 9.

USCHS Members receive one complimentary walking tour per year. To book your Member Tour, please email: Caren Cannon

To book a large group tour (more than 15 guests), please email: Caren Cannon


Logistics:

Time: Weekday Evenings at 5:30 pm from March 1 through Memorial Day, 7:00 pm from Memorial Day through September 30, and 5:30 pm from October 1 through November 30.

Meeting Place: Neptune Fountain on First Street SE in front of the Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, 101 Independence Avenue Southeast, Washington, DC 20003

Public Transit: The Library of Congress is accessible by Metrorail via the Red Line at Union Station or via the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines at Capitol South

Parking: Public Parking is available at Union Station

In addition to our exterior walking tours, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society is happy to recommend the following visitor experiences (Please note: these experiences may be unavailable due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic):

Constituent Tours: Many Congressional Offices provide interior Capitol Tours for constituents. These offices may also reserve public tours through the Capitol Visitor Center. You can find and contact your Senators at senate.gov, or your Representative at house.gov.

Public Tours: Public interior tours of the U.S. Capitol are available through the Capitol Visitor Center, which is open Monday through Saturday 8:30am – 4:30pm. Visit their website here for more information and to reserve a tour in advance.

Seeing Congress in Session: Most sessions of Congress are open to the public. Visitors may see the Senate and House of Representatives when they are in session by obtaining Gallery Passes through the offices of their Senators or Representative. You can find and contact your Senators at senate.gov, or your Representative at house.gov.