U.S. Capitol Visitors Center

A Place to Learn and Relax

Starting Tuesday, the thousands of tourists who visit the nation's Capitol daily no longer will have to wait outside in the rain, cold or heat, but can relax in style inside the new underground Capitol Visitor Center. Here, visitors can get free tickets for a tour of the Capitol, see orientation films, study the history and function of the government's legislative branch and eat in a 530-seat cafeteria. Construction of the $621 million center took six years and also includes 170,000 square feet of expansion space for House and Senate offices and meeting rooms.

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  • No tickets are required to enter the Visitor Center. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Closed Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Inauguration Day and Thanksgiving Day.
  • Free tickets for a tour of the Capitol itself can be obtained in advance online at www.visitthecapitol.gov, through your senator or representative, or the Office of Visitor Services 202-226-8000; a limited number of same-day passes are available at two information desks in the visitor center, and a kiosk on the East Front of the Capitol.

GRAPHICS: Patterson Clark and Dita Smith - The Washington Post

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