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Capitol building - tour or not?

Birmingham UK
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Capitol building - tour or not?

Trying to work out whether to book a tour or not can anyone confirm what extra you see. Want to see the inside of the rotunda but looks like you can see this by just walking in & seems that the senate is a separate ticket to the tour - am I right in these two thoughts?

I know the tickets are free but don't want to tie myself down to a time if not seeing too much more.

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1. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

Access to the Rotunda of the Capitol is only by guided tour. In addition to seeing the Capitol Rotunda, the tour includes a stop a Statuary Hall and, sometimes, a stop at the room which originally housed the Supreme Court.

The following link describes the tour and how foreign visitors can obtain passes to the Senate or House chambers.

visitthecapitol.gov/….U_tlpvldVIE

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2. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

If you want to see any of the historic Capitol beyond the Visitor Center (which is a recent addition), you will have to take a tour. The galleries of the two chambers are separate tickets.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

If you have any friends in the states, ask them to contact their senator or representative to book a private tour. Most offices have a link on their website but your friend may be able to just call. That way, you will get to walk through the underground system of tunnels and take a tram with our lawmakers. Additionally, you will have a staffer or intern from the lawmaker's office giving you a private tour rather than being in a huge group of tourists. They will arrange the tickets and everything for free.

You will have the option to watch a short 10-minute film during the tour and I definitely recommend it, as it gives a great recap of the making of the USA and our legislative processes.

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4. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

Also:

I worked in a busy Senate office and we were almost always able to accommodate last minute requests (gotta keep the voters happy). Most offices have a link on their website but your friend may be able to just call.

If you visit during the summer, the Senate and House chambers won't be worth your time, as nothing will be happening. Any other time of the year, however, visit whichever side is in session, as a stop in that chamber could reveal some interesting debates and votes.

If you can't get a member tour, the groups tours are still definitely worthwhile. The guides are extremely well educated and prepared to answer even the most obscure questions about the history of the US and the capital building.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

I worked on the Hill for over a decade, with staff access everywhere. Nonetheless, when the new Visitor Center opened and I had a free day, I took one of the public tours. It was well worth the time, in all my scurrying about at work I so seldom looked up at the Rotunda, stopped at the statues, etc.

Virginia
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6. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

I think without the tour you don't really notice all of the details. Doing the tour helped me to notice and understand so much more about the work involved in the overall design.

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7. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

We did the tour back in June and found it worthwhile.

Great building to see compared to a kot of DC's architecture.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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8. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

i would recommend the tours. they are interesting and they will show you things you would miss if on your own.

Birmingham UK
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9. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

Thanks for your help - tour booked

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10. Re: Capitol building - tour or not?

How long is the tour?