As your Senator, I would like to personally welcome you to our nation's capital and offer my assistance during your stay in Washington, DC.
I urge you to experience all that the city has to offer and wish you a pleasant stay. No matter what time of the year you are planning to visit, you will find a rich mixture of diverse historical attractions, museums, monuments, and an exciting variety of arts and cultural venues with endless leisure and entertainment opportunities.
Please take a few moments to acquaint yourself with the information below and links to individual tour information to help plan your trip and discover many sights to see. It is our hope that your curiosity will be piqued by the information provided and that the links will be comprehensive and useful for planning your trip, well in advance.
After deciding which tours you would like to request, simply go to the Tour Request Form, fill out the information requested, including which tour or tours you are interested in, and submit.
Also, while in DC please join Senator Tester, Congressman Daines, and myself for our weekly Montana Coffee open house every Wednesday morning when the Senate is in session. I would enjoy talking with you then and having our picture taken together. To sign up for Montana Coffee, please select "Montana Coffee" on the tour request form.
My staff is ready to assist you and is happy to answer any questions you might have. We can be reached at (202) 224-2651 or toll-free at (800) 332-6106.
Mel and I wish you a safe, enjoyable, and memorable trip.
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If you are planning to visit our nation's capital, my office can attempt to arrange tours and tickets to some of this city's fascinating sites. These include tours of the White House, the Capitol building, and passes to the Senate and House of Representatives visitors' galleries. Please note that because these services are very popular, we typically require notice of five to six weeks in advance, and request fulfillment is determined only at the discretion of attractions.
Once you have previewed all available tours and submitted the Tour Request Form, the office will begin the process of scheduling your tours. Please note that each tour has specific requirements necessary for scheduling purposes. For example, some destinations accept requests no earlier than 3 months in advance whereas other tours will not accept requests without at least one week's notice. The White House tours are the last to be confirmed, and sometimes are confirmed with as little notice as two weeks.
You will be contacted by the Director of Constituent Services within a week of your tour request. It's not advisable to wait for a confirmed tour before making travel arrangements because attractions sometimes confirm tours with very short notice.
Tips for making your tour request:
Please plan ahead. Many tours fill up quickly, especially during holidays and in the spring and summer months.
When listing your arrival and departure dates on the Tour Request Form, please only list your available tour dates. This will ensure that we do not schedule a tour on a day that you will be coming in or leaving town.
We are happy to work around your schedule, so please keep us updated if you make other plans during your visit to Washington, DC.
Please tell us if you've contacted any other Congressional offices with a tour request so we can work together to avoid scheduling conflicts and double bookings.
As soon as your travel plans are firm, fill out and submit the Tour Request Form.
If you have questions or concerns about the Tour Request Form, please contact the Director of Constituent Services at (202) 224-2651 or toll-free at (800) 332-6106.
My office can attempt to arrange various tours. To learn more regarding these tours, click on each below.
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1. How do I get around Washington, DC?
Washington, DC is a major, modern city with plenty of transportation options. For travelling around DC and the surrounding area, the Metro, DC's subway system, is clean and easily accessible throughout most of the city. Fares range from $1.90 to over $5.00 and change depending on the time you travel and the distance between your stops. For more information about the Metro, visit http://www.wmata.com/rail.
Washington is also a very walkable city, and most attractions are within walking distance of each other. For locations that are not accessible by Metro, Washington has plenty of taxis that can be hailed from the street or called ahead to your location. For an estimation of a taxi fare, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/local/dc-taxi-fare-calculator. DC also has a very extensive bus network, with information found at http://www.wmata.com/bus.
Driving in DC can get crowded, especially during rush hours in the morning and late afternoon. The streets in DC are organized in a grid pattern with overlapping diagonal streets named after U.S. States and Territories. DC has access to interstates I-66, I-295, and I-395 along with many other U.S. and local routes. The "Beltway", or I-495, circles the surrounding DC suburbs. Having a map handy to navigate the streets while driving, and to avoid the many one-way streets or temporary closures, is invaluable. Keep in mind that parking can be hard to find and expensive in the District.
2. I'm flying into DC. How do I get to a Metro station or my hotel?
There are different public transportation methods to help you get to your final destination. Washington Regan National Airport has a direct link to the Metro on the Blue and Yellow Lines. Washington Dulles has a bus (5A) that runs from the airport to different Metro stops, including Rosslyn on the Orange and Blue Lines. DC Airports also have taxi stands and shared ride companies that will take you directly to wherever you are staying if you do not want to use public transit. For time schedules and fares for the airport buses, visit http://www.wmata.com.
3. How do I navigate the Metro system?
The Metro has 5 different lines designated by color: Red, Blue, Orange, Green, and Yellow. All trains on a certain line stop at every station covered by that line. Trains and platforms are marked by the color of the line and the final destination of the train. For example, a train to "Glenmont" on the Red Line is traveling to Glenmont but will stop at every station on the red line along the way. Helpful maps are posted throughout the Metro system to help with finding the correct train and line to get to your final destination.
Metro fares are calculated based upon the length and time of travel. Fares are posted above each of the fare machines located before you enter the station platform. Be aware that trips using a paper farecard instead of the plastic Smartrip card cost $1 more than the posted fare. If you have any questions, stations have staff on duty when the station is open. The system does not run 24 hours, with the system closing around midnight from Sunday to Thursday and on holidays and at 3:00 am Friday and Saturday. For the specific time a station closes, look at the signage for the last train posted at every station.
To help make riding the Metro easier, keep in mind all food and drink are prohibited on the Metro system. Also, it is common practice on all escalators to stand on the right side of the escalator and to walk on the left side. Washingtonians tend to be in a rush! Finally, keep your farecard handy as you travel, as it will be needed to pass through a fare gate both when you enter and exit the Metro system. Each person must have his/her own farecard. The whole metro system meets ADA requirements. For more information on navigating the Metro, visit http://www.wmata.com.
4. Why is the U.S. capitol city called Washington, DC?
The Constitution specifies that Congress has the power to create a "federal city" from which to conduct its business. From this power, the city called Washington, named after George Washington, was built as the national capitol. At the time, the area surrounding Washington was rural and pastoral, so Congress named the parts outside of the new city the "Territory of Columbia," after Christopher Columbus. When the territory and the city were merged into one administrative unit, the City of Washington was placed in the newly named District of Columbia, making the city's name Washington, DC.
5. What is the story behind the Cherry Blossoms? When do they bloom?
In 1912, Japan donated a set of flowering Cherry trees to the United States as a token of friendship. These trees, planted around the tidal basin, formed the core of a large collection of cherry trees in Washington, DC. Today, the beauty of the tree's pink or white springtime flowers is celebrated with a National Cherry Blossom Festival held in the spring. For more information on the historic Cherry trees, visit the National Park Service website at: http://www.nps.gov/cherry/cherry-blossom-history.htm.
6. Where is Montana Avenue in Washington, DC?
Montana Avenue is located in the northeast area of Washington, DC closest to the Rhode Island metro stop on the Red line.
7. What is the weather like in DC? Should I pack my winter coat?
DC has four distinct seasons. Summers tend to be hot and humid, with high temperatures averaging in the mid to high 80's with plenty of humidity to make the air feel more like the mid 90s. Summer nights stay warm in the high 60s to low 70s. Winters are somewhat mild, compared to Montana standards, with average high temperatures in the mid 40s and low temperatures in the mid 20s. Snow in the winter does happen, but accumulations are usually lower than in Montana. Spring and fall have highs in the mid 50s to lower 60s and above freezing nighttime lows. Be prepared with an umbrella for rain in any season, but especially during the spring!
8. What are some helpful maps?
- Map of the DC Metro System (http://www.wmata.com/pdfs/pocket_guides/english.pdf)
- Map of Capitol Hill (http://www.aoc.gov/cc/images/Visiting_Capitol_Map_legend.jpg)
- Map of the National Mall (http://www.nps.gov/nama/planyourvisit/index.htm -- Left side of this page)
9. How can I get a taste for the jazz scene in DC?
Every Friday evening from late May until the end of August, the National Gallery of Art hosts the Jazz in the Garden Series from 5:00 to 8:30 pm. This free concert series features an array of jazz artists performing a wide variety of styles, including salsa, blusion, vibraphone, and Afrofunk. Guests may purchase food and beverages from the Pavilion Café and its carts located around the Garden or bring their own picnics. Security officers reserve the right to inspect all items brought into the Sculpture Garden. For the safety of visitors and works of art, access to the Sculpture Garden will be limited if the space becomes too crowded. Concerts may be cancelled due to excessive heat or inclement weather. For more information, please check out: http://www.nga.gov/programs/jazz/.
10. What is Senate Recess?
Recess is a temporary interruption of the Senate's proceedings, sometimes within the same day. The Senate may also recess overnight rather than adjourn at the end of the day. Recess also refers to long breaks, typically for holiday periods, pursuant to concurrent resolution and often allows Senators to more easily go home to the state. To learn more about Senate proceedings and other terminology, please visit www.senate.gov.
11. How does legislation move through Congress?
Without a doubt, one of the most beloved (and helpful) explanations of the legislative process is the song "I'm Just a Bill" from School House Rock. This classic can be accessed at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-eYBZFEzf8. You can also track the progress of legislation through Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php.