Information about Capitol Hill

Getting to and around Capitol Hill

Map of Capitol Hill:

Capitol Hill is accessible by the Metro via Capitol South (Blue, Orange, Silver) on the House side and Union Station (Red) on the Senate side. Refer to the WMATA website for more details.

There are three office buildings on the House side (Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn) and three office buildings on the Senate side (Russell, Dirksen, and Hart). All of the buildings are open to the general public during regular business hours, however, they do each have a security screening station at the entrances. At the security screening, you will be required to remove your outerwear (coat, hat, etc.), empty your pockets, put your things through a security scanner, and then walk through a metal detector. Unlike airport security, you do not need to remove your shoes or your laptop from its bag. Also, unlike airport security, you may bring food and liquid in whatever quantities you like. Lines are usually longest first thing in the morning (around 9:00 am) and right after lunch (around 1:00 pm). 

The buildings on the House and Senate sides are connected by underground tunnels: Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn are connected by tunnels; Russell, Dirksen, and Hart are connected by tunnels. There are signs to direct you to and through the tunnels.

The House and Senate sides are about 0.5-miles apart (measured along 1st St NE). The best option for getting between the House and Senate sides is to go back outside and walk the distance or hail a taxi. There is a tunnel system that goes beneath the Capitol Building, however, you will need a staffer to escort you. You should also be aware that you will not be allowed to bring any food or water into (or under) the Capitol Building. For a full list of prohibited items, refer to the Architect of the Capitol website.

The Architect of the Capitol also provides general information about the Capitol Visitors Center.


The map above includes information about some of the restaurants located "off" the Hill. For a Congressional Visits Day, you are not likely to have enough time to make it to one of these locations to eat lunch. However, there are several dining options in the various office buildings. Most of these options offer cafeteria-style dining. 

A note for those with dietary restrictions: Please consider your dietary needs and the available food options prior to arriving on the Hill. As indicated above, you are permitted to bring food into all of the office buildings. Many of these cafeterias have some vegetarian/vegan food options--at a minimum, there is a salad bar. Gluten-free options are usually limited to sushi or the salad bar. If you have a dietary restriction not discussed here, then please get in touch and I will try to help you find the information that you need. 

The House Side

  • Cannon Cafeteria: Cannon Twelve-138 (Hours: 7:30 am-4:00 pm Monday-Friday)
  • Longworth Cafe: Longworth B-223 (Hours: 7:30 am-2:30 pm Monday-Friday) 
  • Longworth Twelve: Longworth B-223 (Hours: 9:00 am-6:00 pm Monday-Friday) 
  • Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins: 
  • Rayburn Cafe: Rayburn B-357 (Hours: 7:30 am-2:30 pm Monday-Friday)

The Senate Side

  • American Grill: Dirksen, SDG-21 (Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-6:30 pm; Monday-Friday 8:30 am-4:00 pm when Senate is out of session).
  • Dirksen Cafe: Dirksen Basement, SDB-R7 (Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 am-3:00 pm; Monday-Friday 7:30 am-2:30 pm when Senate is out of session).
  • Dirksen Coffee Shop: Dirksen Basement, SDB-RE (Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-4:00 pm; Monday-Friday 7:30 am-2:30 pm when Senate is out of session).
  • Inside Scoop: Dirksen SDG-21 (Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am-6:30 pm; Monday-Friday 11:00 am-4:00 pm when Senate is out of session).
  • Cups & Company: Russell Building Basement, SR-B65 (Hours: Monday – Thursday 7 am-5 pm, Friday 7 am-4 pm; Monday-Friday 7 am to 4 pm when Senate is out of session); menu can be found here.

The Capitol

Dress Code for Meetings on the Hill

If you're coming to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and/or their staff, then we advise that you aim for "business professional" attire. Business professional attire usually means a suit of some kind. That said, your value in these meetings will be as a constituent and a scientist or engineer. You do not diminish that value if you don't wear a suit. If you have any specific questions about what is or is not appropriate to wear, then please get in touch.