We’ve toured the US Capitol many times now, and each time we’ve secured a personal tour, which when you see the large public tours, the private ones are soooo much better. Plus, with kids, they can tailor the tour and make it shorter or longer, as needed. You also get to ride the train under the streets/buildings of DC that the Senators take – which makes the tours extra cool (it’s probably my favorite part!!)
To get private tours, you need to contact your Senator or Congressperson. Not every member of Congress offers private tours. One of our Senators offers them and the other will simply book your party tickets for the public tour. So I always book our DC tours through that one Senator, simply because I know he offers the private tours. You also need to book your White House tour through your congressperson. So it all depends on your congressperson.
To start our tour, we started in the Senator’s office. They then took us through the halls of the Senate office buildings and down to the basement, where you get on the train/tram into the Capitol Building. We then get taken on a private tour around the Capitol by the Senator’s aide.
Once the tour is over, the aide hands you passes to see the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers, which I believe is only available from your Congressperson (another reason to book with them!!!) No pictures can be taken in there, but it is always fun to see the chambers you always see on tv. I am always amazed at how small they look in person! I have no idea how they get soooo many people in the room for the State of the Union!
We always stop for a snack at the Cafeteria. The prices aren’t horrible, the food is decent – especially the dessert bar! When you compare the prices here to the Smithsonian’s, the Cafeteria at the Capitol is a steal of a deal (The Smithsonian’s are soooo expensive – seriously, $9 for a slice of pizza?!?! Are you crazy? The $5 at the Capitol suddenly seems cheap!)