U.S. Capitol Building
Capitol Hill at the east end of the National Mall, Washington, DC, USA
www.visitthecapitol.gov - 202-226-8000
U.S. Capitol Building Washington Reviews
Definitely worth going inside if time permits Jul 16, 2016
The United States Capitol building is one of the most recognized buildings in the entire United States, let alone in Washington DC. Also known as the US Capitol or simply the Capitol, this is the seat of Congress, the legislative branch of the US government.
Located at the edge of the National Mall, it just cannot be missed. Though if coming from the National Mall, it is quite a walk to get to the other side, where the entrance for tourists is. Better way is to go by Metro, and get off at the Capitol South Metro stop. About a block away, to the US Capitol Visitor Center.
The Capitol building itself, can only be seen on a guided tour, which you can reserve ahead of time online. And then to the US Capitol Visitor Center, to pick up the ticket for your reserved time. If you did not reserve ahead of time, you can still try to get a ticket for a tour time, which are on a first-come, first-served basis. While waiting, you can check out the US Capitol Visitor Center. This review will be mainly about the regular tour of the Capitol, while the visitor center will have a separate review.
When your time comes, there is a short intro film on the Capitol building and Congress. Then you are led to the Crypt, where there are a bunch of statues and columns. And seeing the compass star, which is suppose to be the center of DC, where the 4 quadrants are divided into.
The main part is being in the Rotunda, underneath the iconic dome. There are more statues, and paintings that tell the history of the founding of the US. Then to the National Statuary Hall, which is a room full of statues. This used to be the House of Representatives from the early half of the 1800’s.
Speaking of statues, each state would 2 of them, with some political history. You can always ask the tour guide which statues came from your home state, as well as where they are located. You may not get to see them, as some statues are located in parts that are off-limits to tourists.
The tour itself, is interesting and informative, as the guide are really good. And interesting that every person gets a headset, that people put on, so they are able to hear the tour guide more clearly in a crowded place. Hard to explain, but more innovative, as it saves the trouble for tour guides to have to talk over the crowds.
There is the option to tour the actual Senate and House of Representatives, but you will need to reserve passes through the office of your representative or senator. International visitors can try to reserve passes at the appointment desks at the upper levels of the visitor center. I did not get to do this myself, but I assume worth checking out for those really interested in American politics.
With nice artwork in different parts, along with a good tour guide, a regular tour of the US Capitol is definitely worth it, in itself. But at the same time, I think it can be skippable if time is limited, as it can be a bit time-consuming, and out of the way, to get to.
Here is the web site for more info to visit... https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/plan-visit
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U.S. Capitol Building Feb 02, 2011
As I mentioned in my blog, we never actually went into the Capitol building. Actually, because I was carrying a shoulder bag with water bottles and snack crackers I wasn’t allowed entry. Security is that ridiculous. But what I want to review is the exterior and architecture of this very important government building. Our U.S. Capitol began back in 1793, but after it was first built it burned down. Then it was rebuilt, and added to remodeled, restored and today they have even added a Visitors Center to the building. It is visited by an estimated 3 to 5 million people. It is 19th century neoclassical architecture combining function with aesthetics. Today is covers 175,170 square feet, or about 4 acres. It is 750 feet from north to south ends and 350 feet from front to back. The building has five levels, 540 rooms and more than 650 windows.
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United States Capitol Oct 20, 2008
In the centre of Washington DC on top of a small hill is the US Capitol building. It is the home to the House of Representatives and the US Senate. It was first used in 1800 even though the building was still far from finished. During the years the old building became too small - both because the senators and the representatives started to require a staff to help them out but also because the USA were crowing admitting still more states to the union.
The most notable feature of the building is the dome - it is the designated centre of Washington DC and all streets are number according to this point of the city. Originally there were talks about burying George Washington under the dome but he had insisted on getting buried on his own estate Mount Vernon. Hence nobody is resting under the dome of the capitol building. The present day dome is never than the building itself and were constructed during the civil war to replace an older wood structure.
The two wings were also later additions to accommodate an ever increasing number of people working in the building.
You can only visit the building if you got an invitation from a member - or if you go on a guided tour. I did not have a personal invitation hence I had to join the guided tour. The tours are free but you need to go and pick up a slot for a tour and then probably come back a couple of hours later to actually join the tour. And you will need to come fairly early in the day otherwise all the tours will be booked out for the rest of the day.
The tour will take you into the building where the guide will tell about the building. The first stop is the dome area where the big paintings are on all the walls with important scenes from North American history. Other stops on the tour are the room where the House of Representatives used to meet before they were moved to a bigger room. Today the room is full of statues of ordinary Americans who had a big impact of the life of the people in their home state. Most of these people are pretty unknown to the general public because they actually did something in the 19th century and are long forgotten - if it was not for the statue in this room. On the flour of the room are 7 small plagues with the names of the members of the house which also served as presidents of the USA. The most noticeable is probably the names of John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. Adams did actually serve in the House after he retired as president becoming the only former president to serve as a representative.
A couple of other rooms you will visit on a tour include the former home of the US Supreme Court and the old Senate room. The old senate room is only accessible if the congress is not in session.
After the tour you will be able to explore the halls on the main level of the building where you can have a look at the decorations of the walls. Some of the walls contains paintings of important historic events and is updated from time to time with later important event like the first flight to the moon.
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United States Capital Dec 19, 2008
I visited the US Capital city in August 2008. It was a short trip, so I was only able to visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and Union Station. There were lots of activities on the Mall. When I go back and have more time, I hope to tour the capital and check out more museums.
I really enjoyed my visit to Union Station. There are some nice stores for shopping. It is a beautiful building. The food was really good too.
dc capital, museums, memorials, etc., Aug 24, 2008
It is really hard to give a review. While we were there, we were unable
to get close to the capital. There was one bike cop chasing people
away, then cops came from everywhere, firetrucks, etc. They blocked
about 4 blocks in front of the capital-don't know why. People were still
walking around, we were walking back to our car across the park. Then
we moseyed on down to see Abe-well mostly under construction and big
fencing around-hard to get close-there wasn't alot open, as on Sundays
washington closes down, attractions under construction. We just wouldn't
recommend this, unless you like to run around like a headless chicken.