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United States Capitol, Washington DC

4.2
#12 of 74 in Sightseeing in Washington DC
Government Building Tourist Spot
Set at the convergence of Washington, D.C.'s four quadrants, United States Capitol serves as both a symbol of the U.S. government and the home to the U.S. Congress. The Neoclassical-style structure was constructed in several stages between 1793 and 1863; however, renovations and structural tweaks to support the weight of the massive, 88 m (289 ft) dome continued well into the 20th century. Walk in and look around--and up--the rotunda contains artwork, statues of presidents and important American figures, and an extensive fresco on the ceiling. You can learn more about the history of the U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C., and the building itself at the visitor center, which is spread over three floors set entirely underground. You'll need to book a tour well in advance (and a tour is the only way visitors can access much of the interior), as tour space is extremely limited. Put United States Capitol on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Washington DC tour planner.
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4.2
TripAdvisor
  • We visited recently and scheduled a tour through our local state representative. The tour was on time, they even offered us to go a bit earlier if we were ready and willing, which was a major help. Th...  more »
  • We saw it from the Bus hop on hop off, and majestic, stunning looks... so of film! I read that guided tours, however, can be made with little time, it was not an option eligible, especially traveling with a couple of teenagers and a child that they would not interest for nothing, what they might say or show
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  • The artistry is beyond words. However, in a word- BEAUTY- is the US Capitol. We had a tour guide who was witty and fun. My biggest complaint is the length of the tour {an hour} as a result we didn't g...  more »
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  • If I were building my own legislative branch building to house the upper and lower houses of the most powerful nation on earth, I couldn't have done a better job myself! Seriously, this - along with the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court building, are impressive in the truest sense. Here, the richness of our legislative history is seen from every state and epoch since our beginning. I will load photos once I return to a computer - iPhone 6+ is great but this deserved more. You're only cheating yourself if you don't visit.
  • I highly recommend everyone visit once in their life. The details of the architecture and artwork will leave you in awe... and I suppose it's also important to see where the decisions impacting the country are made, if you're into that kind of thing... Side note: Be sure to visit the Roosevelt memorial while in Washington - it will inspire you to be a better human being.
  • My family and I booked a personal tour with our state's congressman. His staff set up a tour and my wife and two kiddos had an amazing walk through of the capital. His interns were amazing. They spent about 4 hours walking us around before we were pretty much spent. We had not eaten before the tour and the tour started at noon. So with only breakfast that morning by 4 we needed food. All of the cafe shops in the buildings close at 2:30. On top of that, the vending spots do not take cash! Are you kidding me?? So this was another factor in the cut off of our tour. Keep in mind we cut the tour short not them. I feel certain we walked over four miles based on my garmin watch. I would Highly recommend calling your congressman or woman before you travel to DC and sweet that up. You will learn a lot and be moved at the history behind our nation and our capital.
  • A wonderful opportunity to see our country's history as told through the eyes of our government. The tour is comprehensive and interesting. Our tour guide is knowledgeable and friendly. More than likely you will bump into an Elective or two. The fresco's and murals tell the American tale. Marble or bronze statuary decorate room after room. Both liberal and conservative ideology are displayed in the selection of art and in the large screen movie. The museum showing Congressional history is most informative and well presented. There are two gift shops, one for the Senate side and an exact duplicate on the House side. Mostly wheelchair accessible including bathrooms. Lots of walking.
  • The visitor center is beautiful and well built. Signs are very clear as well. You can reserve your tour spots online, but you may need to reserve them more than a day in advance. We did not have advance reservation but were able to get spots in the next tour midmorning. The tour was relatively short but you got to see statues from all the states as well as the beautiful rotunda. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining.

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Where to stay in Washington DC

Most visitors to Washington, D.C., end up in the East End, the old downtown district containing most of the city's major cultural attractions. For a more authentic Washingtonian experience, consider staying at a smaller hotel just a little north or east of this busy area. Neighborhoods outside downtown offer less expensive accommodations and affordable street parking, as well as opportunities to meet more locals and fewer tourists. Alternatively, try a hotel in Georgetown, packed with high-end shops and Colonial architecture.
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