A trip to the nation’s capital can be an exciting and educational experience for a family vacation or a class trip. Visiting Washington can be made all the more memorable with tours of the many historical landmarks that represent the spirit of the United States. The office of Senator Blumenthal is more than happy to assist in submitting tour requests to the Capitol, White House, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Pentagon, FBI Headquarters, State Department Reception Rooms, Kennedy Center, Treasury Building, Library of Congress, Interior Department Monuments, and the Supreme Court on behalf of Connecticut constituents. Although Senator Blumenthal’s office does play a role in the submission process, it is important to keep in mind the decision of a tour’s confirmation lies solely with the tour offices of these agencies and is not guaranteed.
The White House is open to self-guided group tours of any size that typically run for 45 minutes to an hour. Tours are held Tuesday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tours are not offered on Sundays or Mondays. As a result of the number of tour requests the White House receives on a daily basis, a two to three month window is recommended for submissions. A request can be submitted no earlier than three months in advance but no later than 21 days prior to the desired date. Although rare, White House tours can be subject to last minute cancellations and rescheduling.
U.S. Capitol tours are offered Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are led by professional guides. Depending on availability, our office also offers staff-led tours for Connecticut constituents. Visitors may view Congress in action from the galleries of the House and Senate floors. The floor galleries are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday through Friday when Congress is in session. Gallery passes can be obtained at Senator Blumenthal’s office, which is located in suite number 706 of the Hart Senate Office Building. It is recommended that Capitol tours be booked at least one month in advance.
Bureau of Printing and Engraving
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing allows visitors to see the production floor while millions of dollars of U.S. paper currency are printed. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 8:15 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Between the months of April and August, additional tours run every fifteen minutes between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Tour groups are limited to ten people or fewer, and it is recommended that a window of at least two months is given for a request.
The Pentagon offers hour-long tours to highlight the missions of the six military branches, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the rest of the Department of Defense. Requests to tour the Pentagon must be sent no later than two weeks in advance and no earlier than 90 days in advance. As a result of high security and the number of requests submitted, tours of the Pentagon are very difficult to obtain.
The FBI Experience is a self-guided tour of the FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., which highlights the Bureau’s work to protect the nation. Visitors will learn about the FBI’s internal operations and history, as well as its unique role in law enforcement and national security. All visitors must be U.S. citizens or valid green card holders. Tours are offered Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and requests can be submitted up to five months in advance, but no later than four weeks before the requested dates. To learn more visit https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/fbi-headquarters/the-fbi-experience.
State Department Reception Rooms
The Department of State offers tours of their Diplomatic Reception Rooms. These rooms are used by the Secretary of State and other high level government officials for the signing of treaties, summit negotiations, the promotion of peace, and more. The rooms contain 18th century American furniture, paintings, and decorative art collections. These 45 minute tours are offered Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. As a result of the high volume of requests, the Department of State asks that requests be made at least three months in advance.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, home to groups such as the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, offers tours between 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, as well as 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on weekends. The tours include stops such as the Presidential Box, Robert Berk’s Bust of President Kennedy, and a free Millennium Stage concert at 6:00 p.m. every day.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is home to the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, and more. The Thomas Jefferson Building is decorated with works from over 40 American painters and sculptors, and includes the Great Hall, Gutenberg Bible, Minerva Mosaic, and the famous Main Reading Room. The hour-long tours are offered on weekdays at 9:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., and 1:45 p.m.
The Department of the Treasury offers hour-long guided tours every Saturday from March through December at 9:00 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:15 a.m. The tour of this National Historic Landmark includes stops at the Andrew Johnson Suites, the West Dome, and the Cash Room. Tours are only available for citizens and legal residents of the United States.
Department of Interior Monuments
These guided tours are led by National Park Service Rangers and stop at the Lincoln, World War II, Vietnam War, Korean War, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials. Three-hour tours are offered Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. starting at the Department of Interior. Strollers, car seats, and wheelchairs are not allowed. Groups can include up to 13 people, and requests must be submitted at least one month in advance.
When the Supreme Court is not in session, 25-minute courtroom lectures are offered to visitors. The lecture covers topics such as the judicial functions of the court and the history of the Supreme Court Building, itself. As a result of limited availability, groups must have six people or fewer. Groups larger than six may also attend the lectures, but most visitors will be seated on a first come, first served basis. Visit https://www.supremecourt.gov/visiting/courtroomlectures.aspx for more information.