Part 2: Government Buildings
There are several places to visit in Washington DC. We are going to cover all the major and minor sites, where you can find them, and what makes them so awesome. The second part of this series covers the government buildings.
Maybe you’re visiting Washington DC for the first or have lived here for a while. Either way, taking a day to see the most popular government buildings is well worth the effort. Getting there is easy if you hire a car service in the Washington DC area like RDV Limousine. Use our online booking form to book your limo now.
The White House
The shining star among the government buildings to visit is arguably the White House. Visiting the official home of the President is easier than you think. You will need to submit a request through your member of Congress up to three months but no later than 21 days in advance. These tours are self-guided, so you can go at your own pace. They are only available from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday and 7:30 am to 1:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays and other noted dates). The tours are also first-come first-served, so apply early. Also, it’s completely free.
Since these tours are taking place in an important building, you’ll want to review what you can and cannot take with you. You can check out all the details here.
The U.S. Capitol Building
The next government building on the list is the U.S. Capitol. It is also one of the most popular spots to visit. Tours of the Capitol Building also need to be set up in advance. It’s easy to make free reservations, though. Just visit their website.
The tours of the building are guided and start at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. A tour usually lasts about 90 minutes and covers the Capitol Rotunda, the Capitol Dome, the center point of the District of Columbia and others.
Congress in Session
If you ever wanted to see your government in action, then booking a visit Congress while it’s in session is a great way to do that. Again, it’s fairly easy to obtain passes. You just need to contact your congressman. You can also view the galleries when Congress is not in session. They are open to the public Monday-Friday from 9 am to 4:15 pm, but you want to make sure and check. Sometimes, the times change. You can find out more about what times are available and other information here.
Seeing where our laws are upheld and overturned can be exciting. Visiting the Supreme Court offers that opportunity. You can take a free self-guided tour of the beautiful building, as well as try to see one of the courtroom lectures, view the visitor’s film, or any court-related exhibitions. Of course, the building is also beautiful. Highlights of the ground and first floor include a statue of John Marshall, portraits and busts of the Justices, and two gorgeous marble spiral staircases.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Bureau, like the rest of the government buildings, is free to visit. It’s open to the general public Monday through Friday from 9 am to 10:45 am and from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. Groups are allowed access from 11 am to 12: 15pm. Tickets are required, however. There’s a ticket booth located on 15th Street and it opens at 8 am. You’ll need to get there early, because most days (according to the Washington.org site) the tickets are gone by 9 am.
This is a very interesting place to visit as you can actually see the money printed as you view the production floor. The tour lasts 40 minutes and includes an introductory film, a viewing of the production floor, and the visitors center.
The National Archives houses some of the greatest documents that makes this country what it is today. You can view the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. There are also exhibits which can be seen in the Exhibit Hall.
Admission is free to public and the hours are from 10 am to 5:30 pm. That last admission allowed is 30 minutes before closing. Check out the official website for more details.