Sure, you can just show up and get corralled into a "visitor center." But if you want to experience the Capitol in a real way, contact your senator's office, and arrange for a tour. You'll need to actually plan for this -- like three months in advance -- but it's so worth it. See if you can't coax…
Don't miss the US Capitol visitor center! Great audio/video interactive stations, it's inside/under the Capitol building (good for hot or rainy days :), and will give you a fantastic history and tour of this beautiful building
Called Capitol Hill for a reason. Dome sits on edge of hill overlooking DC- so there is amazing view (one seen at inauguration). Plus there is the history inside, and nice park- like garden grounds to explore.
“Free entertainment for the whole family with sprawling grounds featuring exotic flora plus conservatory, rare plants gallery & butterfly garden. To top it off there are even free yoga classes Saturday Mornings in the spring & summer.”
“The most beautiful building in DC - combine this with visits to the Supreme Court and the Capitol. Make sure to get to the reading room viewing platform - there is often a line for this. Make this a Saturday trip (along with the Supreme Court) if you are weekend travelers - the Library is closed Sundays!”
“The bar at the Georgetown Four Seasons it the place to be if you want see the political elite and Hollywood crowd.”
“Fantastic books, cards, and local knick-knacks, this is a very well curated store with great finds!”