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“Good history lesson” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

U.S. Capitol Visitor Center
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
DC City Bus Tour with Reserved Monument Entry and Lunch
Ranked #48 of 418 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Stratham, New Hampshire, United States
Level Contributor
95 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Good history lesson”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2013

The Capitol Visitor Center has a wealth of information about the Capitol building, the buildup of the DC area, and history of the House and Senate. There are tours that you can reserve in advance, but we did not. After roaming through the exhibits, we ate at the Visitor's Center Cafeteria, which had a wide array of foods, including sushi and a great salad bar. The prices were good, and quality was above average. I would recommend this for families with teens.

Visited July 2013
Thank Dave G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
193 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Good venue while waiting for a tour of the capital”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2013

This is where you gather for tours of the capital (need tickets and should schedule this before you come to Washington). It has interesting videos of the history of the capital but it is no replacement for an actual tour.

Visited October 2012
Thank Tom P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
58 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Very impressive”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

We travelled to the Capitol on the Metro and walked from Union Station. The parks around the Capitol are beautifully maintained and have lots of benches so that you can stop and admire the view. After asking a guard, we were directed down the stairs to the line up for our tour which we had arranged on-line. We had to go through strict security - like at the airport. Once inside, we were impressed by how organized everything was. We were early for our tour, but were fitted into an earlier one so that we didn't have to wait. We watched a very good film and then were put into a group where we received a headset so that we could hear our guide. She was very friendly and interested in where everyone was from. She would point out things of interest to people from various states. She took care of people with disabilities who had to use elevators while we took stairs and she engaged the children who were in the group, while entertaining the adults, too! We visited three of the public areas and learned a great deal, even though we had read about them on the Capitol's website. After our tour, we returned our headsets and headed for the cafeteria to plan the rest of our day. We had been shown where we could request a tour of the Senate (since we are from Canada, we had no Senator or Congressperson to contact previous to our visit), but we decided not to. I would definitely recommend taking this tour. I was very impressed.

Visited July 2013
Thank SweetD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
193 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Renew your understanding of the role of Congress today and in history with a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2013

This is an interesting place to visit.
Even if one doesn't have time to stay for the whole tour, watching the 20 minute introductory movie "Out of many One" is worth the wait. It explains the role of Congress in our government and how it has functioned successfully for many decades while reminding us that compromise and negotiation are the heart and soul of what they do.
The tour of the Capitol itself is nice, a little too drawn out to accommodate the large and steady stream of visitors.

Visited July 2013
Thank Nick C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
541 reviews
286 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 606 helpful votes
“Great Capitol Building D.C. Tour - TIPS included”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

Free attraction like most of the others in D.C.

Surprised how many people wait til they get there to get tickets for the tour. This leads to the first tip:

TIP - Go online and book your reservation for your tour, easy to do and totally free. This will get you tickets for a group tour of around 30 people. If you want a more intimate tour contact your Senator by email and they'll hook you up.

Nice visitor center, but there's not much here, it's more of a staging area for the tour. In the tour you start out with a 10 min movie about the Capitol, then you go on to view the "Crypt" room, which isn't what you think.....you view the dome from inside.....and you view a statue room, pretty cool stuff and the story that goes with it all. Pictures are totally allowed throughout, except for the movie

You do have to wait outside on busy days to enter the security zone where you have to go thru metal detector and your personal belongings go thru an xray. Can get hot on summer days waiting outside

TIP-To avoid the wait in the sun you can enter security across the street at the Library of Congress.....this is a shaded entry with much smaller lines. There is a tunnel that is air conditioned and lined with art that leads from the Library to the Capitol. Better than waiting in the beating sun and the long lines.

TIP - You can't bring in any beverages or food, so leave them or finish them before going. You can bring in empty water bottles though, then fill them up inside. Also there is a huge cafeteria in the Visitors Center, with different food fares all around, and relatively cheap.

OVERALL - Great tour/visit, worth the time!

Visited July 2013
4 Thank bruce p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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