Capitol Hill Historic District, Washington D.C.
If you are a U.S. citizen, contact your congressman or congresswoman's office ahead of time and arrange a Capitol tour. This will give you cuts in line ahead of all the masses who are waiting in a 90 minute line for a tour. If you do it this way, your tour will be lead by the representative's staffer. Usually, the lowest man or woman on the totem pole gets the tour guide duty. I had to laugh at the thought of the college graduate staffer (no doubt an A student from an excellent university) landing a job on Capitol Hill and getting stuck with playing tour guide to the constituents. In government, I guess everybody has to start somewhere!
This picture was taken in our congresswoman's office while we waited for another family to show up. The person at the desk on the phone is not our congresswoman, Lynne Woolsey, but yours truly, trying to look like a hot shot politico mover and shaker. That's Washington for you - you leave your seat for one minute and someone is always anxious to move in.
The capitol is a beautiful builiding, one of the important monuments in Washington DC, it's located in the historic district, at the end of Washington mall that give a best view to see all the mall with the washington monument and the lincon memorial. Unfortunatly it's closed for visitors so you can just see from outside and take a pictures ;)
There's a special feeling on Capitol Hill if you are American. I felt a certain pride standing atop the stairs in front of the entrance to the Supreme Courthouse. As overlooks the White House, the building where the president resides, it is a symbolic reminder that the courts, executive branch, and congress are all political at the same level of power.
While standing there, I couldn't help but feel awed by the history that has taken place here. Roe vs Wade, Muhammad Ali's trial, and many other significant legal debates have made their resting place here. At the bottom of this picture were two groups, the media from all over the world and a bunch of students wearing tape covering their mouths to protest the fact that in Tennessee, there was an appeal relating to the separation of church and state issues. These individuals felt that having the 10 Commandments in their courthouse was not an issue of Church and State.
We really had a great time on this trip! Just enough length. The food was excellent. Our sail was a special event, the Cherry Blossom Princesses were on board. What a bunch of beautiful, friendly, well manered young ladies.
Our waitress was very nice. They sat us next to another couple from California. "Hi Bob and Sharon"! Hope you read this some time! We enjoyed your company!
Inside Eastern Market are many deli's where one can buy a myriad of meats, flowers, cheeses, and fresh bread, and find the most interesting characters, as I do. This guy actually jumped in front of my camera while I was trying to get another shot, then I called him back and said, Smile, your gonna be on VT.
The United States Capitol is the building which serves as home for the legislative branch of the United States government. It is located atop Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The building is characterized by a central dome (inspired as much by St Paul's Cathedral, London, as by St. Peter's, Rome) and two wings—one for each branch of Congress. The north wing is home of the Senate, the south wing is home of the House of Representatives.
Like many buildings, monuments and memorials in Washington DC, the design for the United States Capitol was the result of a design competition. The challenge to design the United States Capitol was won by Dr. William Thornton for his simple Greek style. This was elaborated further by other architects before construction began in 1793. Over the following decades large sections of the Capitol were completed although some were destroyed by British troops in 1814. The US Capitol was finally completed in 1826.
Since 9/11, the Capitol is open to the public for guided tours only. Tours are run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and all federal holidays except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
You can obtain free tickets for tours on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Capitol Guide Service kiosk located along the curving sidewalk southwest of the Capitol, near the intersection of First Street, S.W., and Independence Avenue. Tickets are available starting at 9:00 a.m. daily. Once you get your tickets you will be directed to the South Visitor Receiving Facility, which is located south of the Capitol; from there you head to the Capitol to begin their tour. Maximum tour size is 40 people.
The Congressional Special Services Office provides information about tours for the disabled by telephone at 202-224-4048 (voice) or 202-224-4049 (TDD). Additional accessibility information is available
I think I would miss a lot if I hadn't strolled around the Capitol Hill. Of course, you may get to the historic district just to see the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court or the Library of Congress, but take some more time there to see the human scale architecture, the old houses, the neat front gardens, the tiny stores, people going about their daily business...
This is a different "face" of Washington D.C. that makes you realise the city is not just about the U.S. governmental bodies, memorials and crowds of tourists - some people actually live there :-)
There are two ways of touring the Capitol, one is to contact your Congressman for a VIP tour of the Capitol, the other is to wait in line for same day tickets. I would highly recommend visiting one way or the other, this was one of the most interesting places I visited on this trip!
I was able to get on a VIP tour, since it was October it was easy to do with short notice but contact them as soon as you know you are going. The tour starts in the Congressman's office (Indiana is in the Rayburn Building, the buildings are all in a row). An intern in his office took us to the Capitol where we met our Congressman, had our picture taken with him and then the tour of the Capitol started. We were not able to see where the Senate sits but we did get to see where Congress sits, the Rotunda and the Old Supreme Court (I don't think the general tours go there).
I've posted a bit more about my visit in my travelogue.
The U.S. Capitol Building is the centerpiece of a complex of buildings which house the US government's legislative branch. This branch of government, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, is responsible for passing laws which must then be approved by the President. The Capitol complex also contain the museum of American art and art history.
The 19th century architecture of this building combines styles derived from the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. The Capitol building, and the remaining buildings that make up the compex, were designed to create a balanced structure consistent with the ideals and goals of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
Today, the Capitol covers a ground area of 175,170 square feet, or about 4 acres, and has a floor area of approximately 16-1/2 acres. Its length, from north to south, is 751 feet 4 inches; its greatest width, including approaches, is 350 feet. Its height above the base line on the east front to the top of the Statue of Freedom is 288 feet; from the basement floor to the top of the dome is an ascent of 365 steps. The building contains approximately 540 rooms and has 658 windows (108 in the dome alone) and approximately 850 doorways.
This is a gorgeous building to look at, although the sun reflecting off the white dome can be blinding at times.
It's conveniently located near The National Mall, Monument, Smithsonian, National Archives and Union Station..
Take the time to check out the Architecture of the Capitol.. both inside and out. It is defnitely interesting and looks very different from different angles and from each side.
I recommend that you walk around the outside of it before or after you take a tour of the building.
Hours: M-F: 9am-4:30pm
Until 8pm in summer
Be sure and walk around the capitol grounds. The building itself is fantastic architecture but the view of Washington is excellent as well.
Here is a view of the Washington Monument from the capitol.
The Capitol building is divided into three sections: The North Wing, which houses the Senate, the South Wing for the House of Representatives and the Rotunda. The magnificent Rotunda is the area under the Capitol dome. On its ceiling is Constitino Brumidi's fresco, "Apotheosis of Washington". The bronze 19-foot tall statue, Freedom, tops the dome itself. No building in the District of Colombia is permitted to be taller than the statue, so that nothing may stand above Freedom.
The 45-minute tour of the Capitol begins in the Rotunda, and makes its way around the halls of the building. Along the way, tour guides point out the historical significance of the paintings and statues that adorn the halls. The tour is very informative and will instill an appreciation for the historical and architectural importance of the country's most recognizable office building.
Until 8pm in summer
Admission cost: Free
The Capitol building is one of the city's unmistakable landmarks. The cornerstone of the building was laid by George Washington himself in 1793. With the exception of certain extenuating circumstances (when the British burned the Capitol), it has housed the Senate and the House of Representatives since 1800.
Hours: M-F: 9am-4:30pm
Until 8pm in summer
Wander around the great neighborhoods on "the Hill" during the weekend and you will stumble upon Eastern Market (off of the blue or orange line metro stop entitled Eastern Market). It is a great place to people watch, look at the talent of local artists (painters, jewelers and sculptures) to sampling the delicious local cooking of bakers and the fresh local produce from farmers in the surrounding suburban areas of Maryland and Virginia.