Washington, D.C. Attractions That Require Advance Planning

Reservations and Tickets for Washington, D.C. Sightseeing

Exterior of the Supreme Court

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy

Many of Washington, D.C.’s attractions are open almost every day of the year and you can visit them at your leisure. There are a few places however that require reservations, tickets and advance planning. Find out how to visit these popular Washington, D.C. attractions.

D.C. Attractions That Require Reservations (or Lining up)

  • The U.S. Capitol - The Capitol Building is open to the public for guided tours only, Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. including all federal holidays except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Visitors must obtain free tickets for tours on a first-come, first-served basis. You should reserve a ticket in advance, especially during the busiest times of the year. Early morning is the best time to beat the crowds. If you would like to see Congress in action, you must apply in advance for a gallery pass from your senator or representative. Read more about visiting the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • The White House - Public tours of the White House are limited to groups of 10 or more and must be requested through one's member of Congress. These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and are scheduled on a first come, first served basis approximately one month in advance. You can submit a request up to six months in advance. You can visit the White House Visitor Center, located at the southeast corner of 15th and E Streets, without a reservation seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Read more about tours of the White House.
  • The U. S. Supreme Court - The Supreme Court is in session October through April and visitors may view sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seating is limited and given on a first-come first-serve basis. Lines begin forming before 9:30 a. m. Tours of the building are given when the court is not in session, and begin on the half-hour from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The building is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Advance reservations are not necessary. Read more about visiting the U. S. Supreme Court Building.
  • The Pentagon - Free guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Advance reservations are required. Tours must be booked from 8 to 90 days in advance. U.S. citizens can reserve a tour online or by contacting their Congressional and Senate Representative. Foreign residents must contact their embassy to reserve a tour. Read more about Pentagon Tours.
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Free timed passes are required to see the permanent exhibit. Tickets are distributed for the same day on a first-come first-served basis. You may order them in advance for a $1.75 service fee through tickets.com or by calling (800) 400-9373. Military and government employees do not need passes in advance if they are carrying identification and they are allowed 10 passes for their group. No tickets are required to visit the special exhibitions, the interactive Wexner Learning Center, the library, Archives or Museum Café. Free Timed Passes are required for the permanent exhibit. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • The Washington Monument - Take the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument and see one of the best aerial views of Washington, DC. Free time assigned tickets are required. The monument opens daily at 9:00 a.m., and tours begin every half hour until 4:30 p.m. Go to the kiosk on the Washington Monument grounds at 15th Street and Madison Drive. Advance tickets are available for $1.50 service fee. Call (800) 967-2283 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
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