Filter Esplanade Blog
Watch Our Nation at Work with U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress Tours
If you live in the Washington, D.C. area, you simply have to experience some of the landmarks of our country, including touring the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. So many decisions are made, and so much history is held, within these walls; visiting these three buildings is a truly powerful experience.
Here is your guide to taking in the sights and the history of three iconic buildings on Washington’s Capitol Hill:
By arranging a tour in advance, D.C. residents and visitors can explore their United States Capitol building, from the famed underground passages to historic artifacts to the voting chambers. You can arrange a tour online or through a representative, and it’s best to do so in advance. It’s totally worth the extra effort – the building offers rare documents to view, a tour through the passageways that members take to and from sessions, and even a chance to view the chambers where votes and debates take place.
The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the nation and stands as the final arbiter of the law and guardian of constitutional liberties. Witness history being made by attending an oral argument in this impressive and historic building. Starting the first Monday in October, the Court generally hears two one-hour arguments a day, at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., with occasional afternoon sessions scheduled as necessary. In addition, arguments are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in two-week intervals through late April. Visitors may attend these arguments, but seating is limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis. Entrance locations are marked with signs, and a police officer is always on duty to answer questions.
Library of Congress
Libraries sometimes get a bad rap for being “geeky,” but one trip to the Library of Congress will have you thinking libraries are actually quite cool! You can sign up for your own library card to this amazing collection of historical and rare books. Free one-hour tours are offered of the Jefferson Building, where you can learn about Thomas Jefferson’s life and works, as well as his influence on our country’s oldest cultural institution. Other tours are available, too, from a tour of the music division to a history tour of the library’s collections. The building itself is stunning, and a trip to the Library of Congress is a must for anyone interested in literature.