If it's gavel-to-gavel action you crave this summer, you may want to obtain passes to observe Congress in action. First, check the Senate and Congressional calendars to find out when they will be in session (House: 202-225-3130; Senate: 202-224-2158) and then contact your U.S. representative in writing or in person for reservations at least several months before you plan to visit Washington.
Guided tours of the U.S. Capitol, requiring reservations, leave every 20 minutes, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, starting underneath the 180-foot domed Rotunda. On the tour are the Rotunda, Statuary Hall, House, Senate and the Crypt.
Visitors may also tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Guided tours are given once a day at 8 a.m. Reservations should be made at least three months in advance through your U.S. Representative.
Advance reservations are not required for self-guided tours that are available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.