Planning Your Visit to the Capitol

Hours and Days of Operation

The Capitol building is open to visitors Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guided tours are available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the last tour commencing at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday, guided tours are available from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., with the last tour commencing at 4:00 pm. In addition, Self-Guided tours are available during operating hours each day.

A downloadable Visitor's Guide for the Capitol is available.

This publication and many others are available on the publications page of the General Assembly Website.

Capitol Square Guided Tours

Capitol Guided Tours
Virginia State Capitol
Post Office Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218

804.698.1788
804.698.1906 (fax)

Call our main voice number 804-698-1788 to verify daily tour schedules and make group tour appointments for groups of 10 or more people.

Please Provide the Following Information When Arranging:

House Chamber Presentations

Jay Pearson (LEAD Office) provides an interactive experience for the Commonwealth's students in the historic setting of the House Chamber.

Recent renovations, restoration and expansion of the Commonwealth's Capitol can be seen from the outside of the building all the way into the House Chamber. We welcome school students from across Virginia to a experience a "hands on" educational presentation in the House of Delegates Chamber.

If you are interested in scheduling a legislative presentation for your group you may contact the Legislative Education and Development Office at:

804-698-1500, or
877-391-FACT

Senate Chamber Presentations

Are you a teacher looking for an innovative way for students to better understand and interact with state government while at the same time covering SOL topics in Civics such as explaining the legislative process, defending positions through discussion and debate, and the responsibilities of citizenship? Are you a member of a group that would be interested in learning more about state government and the role of your state Senator? If you answered 'yes' to either of these questions, then the Senate of Virginia Chamber Presentation is the answer for you.

Presentations are given by appointment only in the newly renovated Senate Chamber in the State Capitol. The Chamber is located on the west wing of the 2nd Floor. All visitors will be required to enter through a metal detector at the Bank Street entrance of the Capitol building. Students should not bring backpacks.

What is covered in a Chamber Presentation? Participants will actually become 'Senators' during the presentation. The presentations are led by a member of the Senate Clerk's Staff. Individuals are invited to sit at the members' desks and feel what it is like to represent the voice of approximately 180,000 constituents from that seat. The presentation will use the format of a mock session to better inform the visitor on the legislative process.

The presentation begins with a brief history of the Senate and the Chamber, political demographics of the body, organization and role of the Lieutenant Governor as President of the Senate, as well as the role of the Senate Clerk and finally, "How-A-Bill-Becomes-Law." After an interactive exercise on elections and the civic importance of each individual's vote, the newly elected 'Senators' are sworn into office and learn what a "day in the life" of a Senator is like during the General Assembly Session. A bill is then presented, and 'Senators' discuss and debate the piece of legislation (using the microphones at the desks) before taking a Passage vote using the electronic voting equipment. Staff has created mock bills which cover a range of topics geared to the age and interest of the group. If you have a particular bill topic that your group would be interested in debating the merits of, please make that known when scheduling your presentation. The presentation closes with a question-and-answer period.

Scheduling a Presentation: Please note that chamber presentations may not be scheduled during the legislative session, which runs from the second Wednesday in January through mid-March. In addition, due to the popularity of the program, requests should be submitted as early as possible. Please allow approximately one hour for the presentation. If you are interested in scheduling a Chamber Presentation for your group, you may contact the Senate Clerk's Office.

(804) 698-7400, or
(888) 892-6948

Please note that chamber presentations may not be scheduled during the legislative session, which runs from the second Wednesday in January through mid-March.

Capitol Entrances and Exits - Bank Street

Public Entrance: Commercial tour groups, school groups and the general public enter the restored and expanded Capitol from a new entrance plaza near 10th and Bank streets.

Street Traffic Patterns: Bank Street has become a two-way thoroughfare between 9th and 14th streets, in order to make the new public entrance more accessible.

Parking

Handicap Parking: Private vehicles with handicap plates are able to park and unload passengers on Bank Street near the new public entrance. There is no public parking on the Capitol Square grounds.

Motorcoach Parking: Three or four spaces are presently available on Bank Street between 10th and 12th Streets. Buses should not stay on Bank Street longer than 2 hours. As of 2008 the former “Bus Loop” behind Old City Hall is no longer available to school or tour buses visiting the Capitol. Overflow bus parking is available at the Virginia War Memorial, on 2nd Street south of Spring Street. Group leaders will need to be in phone contact with their drivers.

Public Parking: There are four free general public spaces (1 hour) on the north side of Bank Street, between 9th and 10th Streets. A limited number of metered public parking spaces (2 hours) are located on the west side of 10th Street, between Main and Bank Streets, on Bank Street, between Governor and 14th Streets, on the south side of Main Street, between 9th and 12th Streets and on 12th Street between Main and Bank Streets.

Pay parking lots and decks are nearby on 8th and Grace Street and 7th and Marshall Streets. Downloadable maps of nearby parking lots and decks are available, as well as rates for these areas.

Note: Due to the increasing construction in Downtown Richmond, some parking lots listed on the links above may not exist any longer. If you have any questions about parking lots in the capitol vicinity, please call the Capitol Tour Desk at (804) 698-1788 or email the Tour Desk at capitoltourguides@house.virginia.gov.

Visitor Guidelines

A Guide to Virginia Protocol and Traditions is a publication designed to serve as a guide for state agencies as well as the general public in how to interact with government officials.

The publication contains information on a wide variety of topics including formal and informal communications, order of precedence, and proper seating arrangements for government officials in social situations. It also outlines some of the ceremonies and traditions in the Commonwealth.

This publication is available on the publications page of our website.

Capitol Use Policies

The Virginia Capitol, one of the most historic structures in the Western Hemisphere, every year welcomes thousands of Virginia citizens and visitors from around the country and throughout the world. The Virginia Capitol is unique among historic sites because it also is a working government building. It is important to respect and safeguard the historic nature of the Capitol as well as preserve the public’s access to their government without impeding the day-to-day operations of state government and the conduct of the people’s business.

In accordance with local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations, interim rules regarding the Capitol and the House and Senate galleries have been established jointly by the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Senate at the direction of the General Assembly’s Committee on Joint Rules.

Capitol, Gallery and Mezzanine Use Policy - House

Capitol, Gallery and Mezzanine Use Policy - Senate


Groups interested in holding an event on Capitol Square will need a permit. Please see the Commonwealth of Virginia's Division of Engineering and Buildings (DEB) webpage for information on obtaining these permits.