Virginia’s Executive Mansion is the oldest governor’s residence in the United States which continues to serve its original purpose. Every day, the mansion welcomes groups, ranging from school children to international dignitaries, who explore its historic spaces. The kitchen dependency, constructed in 1813 and adjacent to the Mansion, will be restored and interpreted to tell the stories of the individuals, including enslaved persons, who served Governors and their families in the 19th-century.
This campaign will fund the development of programs and interactive experiences aimed at educating current and future generations on the ideals of liberty, representative government, and civic engagement. In addition, the projects will remind visitors of the pivotal role Virginia has played in the founding of America’s form of government. Focus areas will include significant milestones in Virginia history, representative government in action, and the compelling stories of influential, though often less celebrated, individuals.
Virginia Capitol Square Preservation Council was pleased to host the Virginia Capitol Square Fair, a community outreach and education event on Saturday, September 24, 2016. The event was a partnership with non-profit and public educators to offer families and visitors an array of history and conservation learning opportunities and to explore Virginia’s history and the natural environment. This event was free and open to the public and located on the historic grounds of the State Capitol to celebrate the Bicentennial of Capitol Square. Free parking was provided for all visitors.
Partners across the commonwealth highlighted their important work by providing engaging, SOL-based activities for children and families. While this event was focused on the outdoors, the Virginia State Capitol was open for tours and self-guided opportunities. Visitors had the opportunity to talk with Thomas Jefferson on why he designed the Capitol the way he did, hear Patrick Henry’s famous speech, and walk the historic grounds with Maggie Walker. Along with our special guests, visitors participated in a Capitol Police equipment and K9 demonstration, discovered how to maintain a healthy habitat in their own backyard, and searched for artifacts while learning the power of archaeology to uncover our past. We sincerely thank the following organizations for providing exciting activities: The Valentine Museum, National Park Service, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Department of Historic Resources, Department of Forestry, Children’s Museum of Richmond, John Marshall House, James Monroe Museum, St. John’s, Montpeleier, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Henricus Historical Park, Preservation Virginia, Commonwealth Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Wilton House Museum, Fairfield Foundation, Library of Virginia, The Division Capitol Police Commonwealth of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia Executive Mansion.
We also thank all students, teachers, and visitors who came to enjoy the Virginia Capitol Square Fair.
Please contact the Capitol Square Preservation Council Education Coordinator, Maggie Jackson, with any questions by phone at (804) 225-8051 or by email.
Among the oldest in the nation, this 12-acre park is home to the National Historic Landmark Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson, the oldest purpose-built U.S executive mansion still serving as a governor’s residence, and many monuments and memorials. Walk winding paths in a landscape that has both seen and shaped American history.
Garden secret: This park has an empty crypt. The George Washington Equestrian Monument was to be the President’s final resting place, but he remains buried at his Mount Vernon home.
Learn more about the Richmond Garden Trail
The Capitol building is open to visitors from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Self-Guided tours are available during operating hours each day our Capitol Visitors Brochure will help you get started.
Free one-hour guided tours begin Monday through Saturday no later than 10:00 a.m. for walk-in visitors (9:00 a.m. for groups by appointment), with the last tour commencing at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday, guided tours are available beginning at 1:00 p.m., with the last tour commencing at 4:00 p.m. In addition, self-guided tours are available during operating hours each day.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
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.
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.
Meriwether’s at the Capitol
Meriwether’s, a Dining Management Company headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers several dining options and venues for guests visiting the Capitol. The cafe in the new Capitol Extension.
Monday – Friday from 8:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Guests can enjoy a meal in the cafe, which does have limited seating, or use Meriwether’s take-out service. The cafe can be reached by phone at (804)698-7438.
A word of caution to our visitors: Food is not allowed in the original 18th-centry portion of the Capitol.
General Assembly Building:
Meriwether’s also operates a cafeteria in the General Assembly Building on the 6th floor. The cafeteria offers some hot meals, as well as sandwiches and beverages. There is also a sandwich express window open during session each year.
Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Vending machines are located in the basement and floors 2, 3, and 7.
The Virginia Shop at the Capitol (804)698-7661 is open to the public in the new extension.
Gift store hours:
Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Private vehicles with handicap tags are able to park and unload passengers on Bank Street between 9th and 10th streets, near the new public entrance. There is no public parking on the Capitol Square grounds.
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.
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, as well as rates, are available via Ridefinders Downtown Commuter Guide web page.
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 email@example.com
Capitol Entrances and Exits – Bank Street
Commercial tour groups, school groups and the general public will 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.