Hours and Days of Operation

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 Monday through Saturday are available beginning by 10:00 a.m. for walk-in visitors (or 9:00 a.m. for groups by appointment) and continue throughout the day, with the last tour offered at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday, guided tours are available beginning at 1:00 p.m., with the last tour offered at 4:00 p.m.

In addition, self-guided tours are available during operating hours each day.

The Capitol Building is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

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.


Dining and Catering

Capitol Cafe & Shop

The Virginia Shop and Meriwether’s café, both conveniently located in the Capitol Extension, welcomes visitors to enhance their visit to Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol with a charming keepsake and a tasty treat. The Virginia Shop offers a unique selection of gifts inspired by our Capitol and our Commonwealth. Meriwether’s café offers a distinctive menu, made to order using the freshest ingredients, of sandwiches, salads, sides and sweet treats.

The Virginia Shop at the Capitol
The Virginia Shop at the Capitol

The Virginia Shop at the Capitol (804)698-7661 is located in the Capitol extension. Gift store hours are Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The store is closed on Sunday. They offer a wide variety of state seal gifts, jewelry, books and more. If you are hosting a group trip to the Capitol, you can order gift bags for your guests in advance. Gift bags range from $2 per bag to $10 per bag.

After Exploring Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, stop by Meriwether's, for a made to order sandwich.
After Exploring Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol, stop by Meriwether’s, for a made to order sandwich.

Meriwether’s at the Capitol offers several options and venues for guests visiting the Capitol.

The Capitol Café located in the Capitol extension is open to the public, Monday through Friday. Guests can enjoy a meal in the cafe, which does have limited seating, or use Meriwether’s take-out service to enjoy on the lawn of the Capitol. Choices range from soup, salads, sandwiches and daily specials for lunch to snacks and fresh baked cookies. Or try a
specialty coffee drink for that afternoon pick-me-up, brewed with locally roasted, fair trade coffee. The cafe can be reached by phone at (804)698-7438

Breakfast Service Hours: open for breakfast beginning Thursday, July 20, 2017. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. each weekday.

Lunch Service Hours: Lunch service will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue through 3:00 p.m.

Hours During the Legislative Session: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., or half an hour after the adjournment of the General Assembly

Meriwether’s at the Suntrust Building

The cafeteria in the General Assembly Building (GAB) closed on June 30, 2017 due to the legislature’s move from the GAB to the Pocahontas Building. The cafeteria will reopen in a new location in the SunTrust Building (919 East Main Street, 3rdFloor – across the street from the Pocahontas Building) in October, 2017.

Hours – 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

During the Legislative Session – 6:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Due to the GAB Cafeteria closing, the transition to the new space, and the impact this will have on our exclusive caterer, Meriwether-Godsey, spaces in the Capitol will be unavailable to be reserved for special and after-hours events between June 19, 2017 and October 31, 2017. Special events sponsored by legislative groups will be considered on a case-by-case basis. You may contact Jennifer Welch with the Senate of Virginia at (804) 698-7460 or jwelch@senate.virginia.gov or Jay Braxton with the House of Delegates at (804) 698-1552 or jbraxton@house.virginia.gov for additional information.


Handicap parking

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.

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, 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 capitoltourguides@house.virginia.gov

Capitol Entrances and Exits – Bank Street

Public Entrance

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.