U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C.

U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C. (must see)

The United States Capitol stands at the opposite end of the National Mall from the Washington Monument. This huge building holds the House of Representatives in the south wing, and the Senate in the north wing. There are 540 rooms, five floors and the beautiful Capitol Rotunda which additionally houses art and sculptures. The artwork depicts events and figures from American history.

After much wrangling about the design, the Capitol cornerstone was laid by President Washington, who was dressed for the occasion in full Mason attire, on September 18, 1793. The north wing was completed in 1800. For several decades, beginning when the federal government moved to Washington in the fall of 1800, the Capitol building was used for Sunday religious services as well as for governmental functions.

Soon after the building was fully completed in 1811, the Capitol was partially damaged in August 1814 during the burning of Washington in the course of the War of 1812. The burnt down portions were rebuilt and the Rotunda was added in 1826. In the 1850s the Capitol was expanded further with a new cast-iron dome added to replace the wooden Rotunda, following which several more renovations and expansions have been made. Among them is The Apotheosis of Washington fresco painted on the inside of the dome, visible through the oculus from the Rotunda floor.

The Capitol is open to visitors and offers free tour. Tickets are available at the Capitol Visitor Center on the first come-first served basis. This center is new, having opened in 2008. There is a 15-minute orientation film about the Capitol that is well worth viewing.

Visitors to the Capitol can watch Congress in action from designated galleries. Passes are available from the offices of Senators and Representatives. If visiting when Congress is in session, be sure to contact your local official and see government in action. Overseas visitors can apply for the passes at the Senate Appointment Desk and the House Appointment Desk inside the Capitol Building.

Tip:
First off, book your 45-min tour early to avoid missing out and to give yourself a bigger range of time slots.
You'll still have to go to the desk to pick up your ticket by showing the online receipt on your phone.
Get there 30-45 mins before your tour due to security checks before entry (food & drinks are prohibited).
When you've finished your visit, use the tunnel just before the exit to go directly to the Library of Congress (no additional security check).
Interestingly, both the east side and the west side of the Capitol can be designated as the front, so just be aware that “front” is not the best descriptive designation here.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Washington D.C.. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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U.S. Capitol on Map

Sight Name: U.S. Capitol
Sight Location: Washington D.C., USA (See walking tours in Washington D.C.)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Washington D.C., USA

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Creating your own self-guided walk in Washington D.C. is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Georgetown Walking Tour

Georgetown Walking Tour

Overlooking the Potomac River, in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., lies a historic neighborhood called Georgetown. Those poetically inclined tend to compare Georgetown to "a tapestry of cobblestone dreams and timeless grace." Indeed, this part of Washington, D.C., replete with charming tree-lined, cobblestone streets, cultural landmarks, and a vibrant atmosphere, is a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Federal Buildings Walking Tour

Federal Buildings Walking Tour

The capital of the United States is home to several notable federal buildings that hold significant historical, architectural, and governmental value.

Among the stately “emblems of authority” in Washington D.C. perhaps the most prominent is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States – The White House. This resplendent mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
DC Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour

DC Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years," goes the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.

Indeed, those remembered in Washington, D.C. – the renowned statesmen, politicians, fallen soldiers, and other distinguished persons – had their years filled with life to the brim. What they left behind is a great legacy manifested in historic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Washington D.C. Introduction Walking Tour

Washington D.C. Introduction Walking Tour

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia or simply The District, is the capital of the United States and, in many senses, America’s front yard. After the American Revolution, the need for the newly independent nation's federal government to have authority over a capital city and not rely on any state for its maintenance and safety, came in the wake of the Pennsylvania Mutiny of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Arlington National Cemetery Tour

Arlington National Cemetery Tour

"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example," a distinguished politician of the 19th century said once.

The historic military necropolis – the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia – is the final resting place for many of America's heroes, whose willingness to sacrifice for their country has earned them the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

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