Guidelines Going Through Security in Washington, D.C.

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Capitol Building

No... liquids, gels, sprays, aerosols, sharp objects, food, weapons.

They will let you bring in essential medication like epi pens or inhalers but saline solution in a medical kit will need to be thrown out. Any type of edible products - candies, unopened bags of chips, fruit will be tossed. Packets of gum is okay! I've had them ask me to throw out my hand sanitizer before. A good theory is if you don't want to throw it away, don't bring it!

Nail clippers and cuticle scissors count as sharp objects. Because I've been asked this before - bottled water counts as a liquid. However, you can bring in empty bottles.

If you bring something not allowed in, they make you go back outside to throw it away!

You will need to take off your jackets, hats, belts and take all electronics and metal objects out of your pockets! Bags will go through scanner as well.

Library of Congress / Archives

No... weapons. That's about it. Please dispose of opened food and drink.

Unopened food and drink can be brought through as long as it stays in your bag.

You will need to take out all electronics and metal objects and place all bags through the scanner.

Smithsonian Museums

Please present your bags for inspections. In most museums it is a person who looks into the bags. At the Air & Space there is a scanner. If you do not have a bag, you can just walk through! You do not need to wait in the bag line or check in with the guard. They are ONLY checking bags!

Holocaust Museum

All electronics, keys, metal objects should be put through the scanners in addition to all bags.

All opened drinks must be consumed prior to entering the museum except water. However, you will be asked to take a sip from your water before continuing through security.

Gum chewing is not allowed anywhere in D.C. Ever. 🙂

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 28 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 4) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.
Updated: septiembre 24th, 2021
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