Capitol Building
The Capitol building is rightly called the temple of American democracy. The home of the legislative branch offers an excellent guided tour and its steps are the perfect backdrop for group photos and selfies. 
For some, it’s the highlight of their entire school trip to Washington, D.C.

Read more about why your group should visit, or watch our short video here.

There is a lot to learn at the Capitol, but be prepared for strict security measures. Before you arrive, make sure to leave behind any liquids, food, gum, aerosol sprays (medical inhalers are allowed), and sharp objects. If it’s a hot day, you can bring an empty water bottle and then refill it once you get inside the building.

Buses can only drop-off and pickup groups at the traffic circles located at the base of Capitol Hill, so be prepared for an uphill walk to reach the Visitor Center, or the Capitol has a golf cart to assist guests with limited mobility.

Once your group arrives at the entrance, you’ll line up and pass through security. There are plenty of restrooms once inside and your guide will likely head to the reception desk to retrieve your tickets for the building tour.

In the meantime, there’s an exhibit area and a Central Hall filled with beautiful statuary from the Capitol collection. The centerpiece is a giant plaster cast of Freedom – the same figure who stands atop the Capitol Dome.

When it’s time for your tour, you’ll queue up to enter the movie theater for a stirring orientation film. After this, a Capitol Building docent will distribute headsets and lead the grand tour! You’ll see a crypt with no dead bodies, National Statuary Hall with its strange whispering acoustics, and the soaring ceiling and majestic artwork of the Rotunda.

Tours usually last 45 minutes.


Capitol Hill also is a great place for a panoramic photo of your group. It’s a keepsake that many of our trip leaders display each year and that the kids enjoy having as a memento of their class trip to Washington, D.C.

The SCHOOL TRIP SPOTLIGHT is written by NationsClassroom’s expert, licensed guides and features exciting attractions from the most popular student travel destinations on the historic East Coast.

For more information please Browse Our Tours.

Originally published October, 2017, updated August, 2020