U.S. Supreme Court Tours and Information

U.S. Supreme Court Tours 

"EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW" - These words, written above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building, express the ultimate responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.
 
The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. The number of Associate Justices is currently fixed at eight (28 U. S. C. §1). Power to nominate the Justices is vested in the President of the United States, and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Although the Supreme Court does not offer guided walking tours, visitors are encouraged to tour public portions of the building on a self-guided basis and take advantage of a variety of educational programs, including Courtroom Lectures, a Visitor Film, and court-related Exhibitions. In addition to the Courtroom, portions of the first and ground floors are open to the public. Highlights include the John Marshall statue, portraits and busts of former Justices, and two self-supporting marble staircases. The Courtroom is located on the first floor.

Court sessions, including handing down of opinions are also open to the public. Courtroom seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors should be aware that the business of the Court may from time to time affect public access to the building or alter programming offered. Please check Today at the Court on the homepage for the Court's daily calendar.

What do you need to know?

Building Hours & Entrances   
Monday – Friday (except Federal Holidays)
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

Visitors may enter the building from the Plaza doors located on each side of the main steps.  A wheelchair accessible ramp is located along Maryland Avenue on the left side of the building.
All visitors must pass through security screening before entering the building.  During the months of March – June, visitors should anticipate longer wait times to enter the building due to larger crowds visiting the Nation’s Capital.  

Location and Directions
 
The Supreme Court of the United States is located on First Street NE between East Capitol Street and Maryland Avenue, adjacent to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress.  View area map.
 
            By Metro (Subway):
The closest Metro stops are:    
Capitol South (Orange, Blue and Silver Lines, 0.3 miles)
Union Station (Red Line, 0.5 miles). 
 
            By Metro Bus:
The Circulator (Navy Yard Line), 96, 97, and A11 buses all stop in front of the Supreme Court Building.  The 32, 34, 36, and 39 buses stop at First Street and Independence Avenue, a two block walk from the Building. 
 
Additional information on riding the Metro is available at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
 
By Train:
Amtrak, VRE, and MARC trains service Union Station, which is located approximately 0.5 miles from the Court. 
 
By Car:
Street parking is extremely limited near the Supreme Court.  The closest public parking garage is located at Union Station. 
 
Please note that the Supreme Court is not accessible by private bus or passenger van.    Please see designated bus routes and restrictions.
 
Cafeteria, Gift Shop, and Building Amenities
A Cafeteria serving a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and beverages is open to the public from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
 
A Gift Shop is located on the Ground Floor and is open from 9 a.m. until 4:25 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The Gift Shop features extensive offerings of books and other instructive materials to enhance your understanding of the Court’s history.  Other offerings include educational games, learning aids, and gift items associated with the law and the Supreme Court.
 
For your convenience, an ATM, public telephone (TTY/TDD), and vending machines are available on the Ground Floor.  Public restrooms are located on the First and Ground Floors. 
 
Visitor Etiquette
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States; therefore, visitors are asked to follow a few general guidelines.
• Be prepared to pass through security screening at your point of entry.  All items must be screened in x-ray machines and all visitors will be asked to pass through metal detectors.
• Please tour the building quietly as working offices are adjacent to all public halls.  Any visitors unable to maintain proper decorum will be asked to leave by the Supreme Court Police.
• No photography or video recording is permitted inside the Courtroom. 
• Smoking is prohibited inside the building.
• Consumption of food and beverages is permitted only in the Cafeteria and vending machine alcove. 
• Visitors may not touch portraits, busts, or other artifacts on exhibition. 
 
Accessibility 
Building Access and Parking
Ramp access to the building is located along Maryland Avenue on the left side of the building.  Limited handicap parking is also available along Maryland Avenue.
Wheelchair Availability and Access
A limited number of wheelchairs are available free of charge at your point of entry.  Wheelchairs may be obtained from a Supreme Court Police Officer.  Elevators are available throughout the building with access to all public areas. 
 
Assistive Listening Devices
When Court is sitting, induction loop, FM and infra-red listening systems for the hearing impaired are available.  Devices may be obtained from a Supreme Court Police Officer or Courtroom Attendant as you are being seated. 
 
Visitors’ Film
The film is accompanied by open captioning at each showing. 
 
TTY Telephone
A wheelchair accessible, text telephone (TTY) is available in the vending machine alcove adjacent to the Maryland Avenue door.
 

How do I get scheduled for a tour?

Click here to visit the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing's official page.