General public tours
Guided public tours of the Washington State Legislative Building are offered seven days a week hourly--between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m on weekdays, and between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends. Tours are free and begin every hour on the hour and last 60 minutes. Public tours begin at the Tour Information Desk which is located on the second floor of the Legislative Building, just inside the main entrance doors. Tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Group size is limited to 25 people per tour time.
The Legislative Building is closed on Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
New Capitol Campus Botanical Tour
(Available August 5 – September 26; Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 a.m.)
Designed in 1927 by nationally recognized landscape architects Frederick Law and John Charles Olmsted, the "Washington State Capitol Campus has one of the most extensive and intact Olmstead-designed capitol landscapes in the nation". This free horticulturalist guided tour will introduce visitors to the many varied historic trees and significant plantings of this nationally recognized design. The tour is 60 minutes of standing and walking and is ADA accessible. Appropriate for grades 4th – Adult. Tour begins at the flag circle on the north side of the Legislative Building.
Group and school tours
The Washington State Capitol tour office accepts requests for tours throughout the year. Please use the online tour request form or give us a call at (360) 902-8880 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our staff will be happy to help you determine what works best for your group’s needs.
Please see the Teacher Information Page for additional planning assistance and helpful hints.
Other useful links for school tour:
How much time do you need for your visit?
This will vary depending on the number of people, type of tour requested, and the time of year that you visit. Plan on a three hour tour if you are scheduling a school tour, one or two hours for all other groups.
The State Capitol Tour Office offers a variety of standard tour options. We can also tailor a tour to fit your particular time constraints or logistical needs. A tour can range from a minimum of thirty minutes to a maximum of three hours.
Legislative Building Tour
The Legislative Building is the crowning piece of the Washington State Capitol Campus and is home to the Washington State Legislature and the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer. Completed in 1928, it boasts one of the tallest free standing masonry domes in the world and houses the largest chandelier ever made by the Tiffany Lighting Company. The tour of the Legislative Building includes the North Foyer, Rotunda, State Reception Room, and Legislative Galleries. This tour is targeted to all groups and last approximately one hour.
Adventure Tour, available to groups of 15 or more (Available from May through December; Monday-Friday only)
Using stories, visuals and interactive exercises, this tour introduces younger children to Washington State history and representative government through a hands-on adventure tour of the Washington State Capitol Building. As part of this tour, each child receives a ‘Capitol Adventure Tour’ coloring book to take home. This tour is 30-45 minutes and is specifically designed for K-2nd grade.
Teachers can supplement this tour with a self-guided ‘I SPY’ scavenger hunt of the Capitol Campus.
Governor’s Mansion Tour
The oldest standing building on the Capitol Campus, the red-brick Georgian style Executive Mansion has been home to Washington’s Governors since 1910. Fully restored and furnished with many antiques from the American Federal period, the mansion is open for public tours on most Wednesdays by reservation. Morning and afternoon tours are available, but group size is limited to 25. This tour is available for 4th grade and up.
Please note: School group tours of the mansion are limited to a 15 minute walk-thru if part of a Civic Education or Legislative Process Tour.
Civic Education Tour, available to groups of 15 or more (Available from September-June; Monday-Friday only)
This tour is an introduction to representative democracy and the three branches of government and includes information on the Legislative Building’s function, operation, symbolism and history. Also included is a visit to the Temple of Justice, the home of the state Supreme Court, where students participate in a mock court hearing. The tour includes visits to the Rotunda, the State Reception Room, legislative galleries, and offices of elected officials. The tour is three hours (including a lunch period) and is specifically designed for elementary and middle school students.
Legislative Process Tour, available to groups of 15 or more (Available from September-June; Monday-Friday only)
This tour offers an in-depth look at the legislative branch of government. The tour includes a 45-minute class on “How a bill becomes a law,” a comprehensive mock committee hearing exercise and visits to legislative process locations, such as the House and Senate chambers, committee hearing rooms and the Legislative Information Center. This tour is three hours (including a lunch period) and is specifically designed for high school students and adult groups.
Monument and memorial sites
The Washington State Capitol Campus is home to many Veterans Memorials including the Winged Victory, POW-MIA, Medal of Honor, WW II, Korean War Memorials, and Vietnam Veterans. Self-Guided memorial brochures are available at the Visitor Information Desk and at the Legislative Building Tour Information Desk.
Chief William Shelton's Story Pole
Severe decay resulted in the removal of the 70-year-old Story Pole on November 3, 2010. At this time, there is no plan for a replacement. It was formerly located at the northeast lawn of the west campus, on the south side of the General Administration building.