Sightseeing: The U.S. Capitol houses one of our three branches of government: the legislative branch. The grandiose building is awe-inspiring (no matter which side of the aisle you're on) both outside and in. From its massive 4,500-ton dome to the beautiful Rotunda and crypt beneath, the Capitol is truly a marvel. (Request a special pass from your senator or representative if you'd like to sit in the observation gallery while Congress is in session.) President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the building in 1793; ever since, it's been a cornerstone of American democracy. Metro: Union Station, Capitol South or Federal Center.
Historic Sites: With the White House and the Supreme Court, the U.S. Capitol marks the third point of our three branches of government. The stunning and grandiose building will awe visitors from the outside and educate them on the inside, where tours start with a fascinating film about the building's history and purpose. President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the Capitol building way back in 1793 -- and ever since the Capitol has been the cornerstone of American life and leadership. From its massive 4,500-ton dome to the beautiful Rotunda and the eye-opening Crypt beneath, the Capitol is truly a marvel.
Local Expert Holly Smith Says:
Sightseeing: "Same-day passes are scarce, so book your free tour of the Capitol in advance either online or through your congressional representative's office."
Best for Sightseeing Because: With its iconic dome and imposing size, the U.S. Capitol is as serious as the work being done within its walls.
Local Expert Chris Wadsworth Says:
Historic Sites: "Spend some time in Statuary Hall and experiment with the interesting acoustics from the curved ceilings in the room. Two friends standing far apart can speak to each other and hear each other clearly, while those around and between them cannot."