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Watching Senate in Session

Hours: The Senate gallery is open to visitors whenever the Senate is in session. The visitor gallery opens 30 minutes before the Senate convenes and closes upon adjournment or recess for the day.  The Senate gallery is typically open during scheduled recesses of one week or more, and visitors are admitted to the gallery from 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., Monday – Friday. On recess days, visitors are welcome to stay until 4:30 p.m., at which time the gallery closes.

The Senate gallery is closed on weekends and holidays (unless the Senate is in session), and during any recess or adjournment of less than one week. For information on whether the Senate gallery is open, please call 202-224-0057.


Passes: Passes are required to enter either gallery at any time. Visitors may obtain gallery passes from the offices of their senators or representatives. Gallery passes are available for international visitors at the House and Senate Appointment Desks on the upper level.

Safety and Security: Before entering the Capitol Visitor Center, all visitors are screened by a magnetometer and all items that are permitted inside the building are screened by an x-ray device. For more information, view the list of prohibited items (

Webcast:  Please visit to view live and archived Senate floor proceedings.