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How to Tour the Supreme Court

Updated: February 13, 2024

This post covers how to attend a U.S. Supreme Court tour as well as courtroom lectures and oral arguments with tips on how to plan your visit and what you might see.  


The Supreme Court Building is located at 1 First Street St NE across the street from the US Capitol Building and the Library of Congress.

Use this link for directions to the Supreme Court

Or let us take you here on one of our pay-what-you-like Capitol Hill Tours.

It is a 7 min walk from the Capitol South Station Metro (Blue, Orange, Silver). Exit the station and continue north on First Street for two blocks.

It is also about a 15-minute walk from Union Station (Red), which has a paid parking garage. 

If you are new to DC's subway system, then read our guide on how to use the DC Metro system.

There are no parking facilities at the building. Street parking is very limited. You can reserve a space at nearby commercial garages through a service called SpotHero.

Supreme Court Hours:

The Supreme Court is open on weekdays 9 am - 3 pm, excluding Federal Holidays. The building is not open on the weekend.


Like most federal buildings, you will be required to enter through security. There are two doors on either side of the main steps on the plaza level to enter the building.  

Prohibited items include weapons and other dangerous items.


The Supreme Court currently does not offer guided tours; visitors are encouraged to tour the building independently (or on a tour with us!).  

In reality, visitors are limited to only the public portions of the building, which are mostly the exhibits on the ground floor as well as the Main Hall on the 2nd floor.  

There are several opportunities to visit the main courtroom (see below sections on attending a court lecture or to hear a case).

Once through security, you will be on the ground floor.

Here you will find a 24-minute film that covers the history of the building, with interviews with the Chief Justice as well as Associate and former Justices.

It's on this floor where you will also find the current exhibitions.

  • The Supreme Court Building: America's Temple of Justice
  • Reading the Law: Legal Education in America
  • Sandra Day O'Connor, First Woman on the Supreme Court
  • The Power of Image: Charles Evans Hughes in Prints, Photographs, and Drawings
  • Capturing Justice: Judicial Portraits by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Supreme Court Building Tours

We are able to offer small group private tours that visit inside the Supreme Court on private versions of our Capitol Hill & Library of Congress Tour!

This 2 hour tour would tour inside the Supreme Court Building, inside the Library of Congress & end with tickets to tour inside the Capitol Building with their professional docents (this tour would be an additional 50 minutes to our 2 hour tour)

Our almost twice-a-day public version of this tour does not guarantee entrance into the Supreme Court (though sometimes we can visit inside based on security and opening). On private tours, we can schedule it to ensure we can go inside the Supreme Court.

Contact us to book a private Capitol Hill tour that enters the Supreme Court!


Since this is a working federal building, you are limited as to where you can go on your self-guided tour.

The only way to visit the courtroom is by attending a docent lecture or attending a case.

Supreme Court Lectures

You can read about attending a case below but if you are visiting on a day that the court is not hearing a case, you can still have a seat in the courtroom and listen to the history of the court and the building.

30-minute courtroom lectures are held every half-hour from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.  

Seating is first-come, first-served, so during the busy spring and summer months, expect to get there early to wait in line.

For the most up-to-date information on when lectures are scheduled, visit the lecture calendar.


While you can visit the Supreme Court courtroom as a visitor for lectures, cases are also open to the public.

Called Oral Arguments, these are the 1-hour long sessions where each side is allowed 30 minutes to argue before the court.

supreme court tours

From the first Monday to October to Mid-April, cases are generally heard on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 10 am and at 11 am, with additional afternoon sessions as needed.

There are two ways to attend a Supreme Court case.

You could either secure a seat and witness the entire Oral Arguments, or you can catch a quick 3-minute glimpse of the proceedings. (the 3-minute line is suspended still as of Feb 2024)

These two lines form on the plaza before each case.

For a landmark Supreme Court case, some people will line up days in advance to guarantee a spot. On a non-high-profile day, people arrive around 6 am-7 am.

Normally, only the first 50 are able to get in for the entire session.

Numbered tickets are given out prior to seating to allow you time to go to the restroom, cafeteria, and cloakroom.

If you don't get a seat, you can also do a walk-through where you stay for a few minutes and then move on. You can rotate through as many times as you'd like by getting back in line. (This is not an option as of Feb 2024. We hope it returns soon!)

You can also attend Bench Mondays (Mondays, 10 am, mid-May through June) to hear the court opinions and decisions.

These are about 15 - 30 minutes long, but can also form long lines for high-profile cases.

To see what cases are being argued, visit the Argument Calendar.


How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

There are 9 Supreme Court Justices in total: 8 associate justices and one Chief Justice.

How do you become a Supreme Court Justice?

There are only two requirements to be a Supreme Court justice. It is not based on age, citizenship, or experience.

You must be nominated by the President and approved by Senate. It is a lifetime appointment that one holds until they retire.

Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court Chief Justice is a position appointed by the President, so it is not relevant to the length of time they serve on the court.

The current Supreme Court Justice is John Roberts.

Who are the current Supreme Court Justices?

  • Clarence Thomas (1991)
  • John Roberts (2005
  • Samuel Alito (2006)
  • Sonia Sotomeyer (2009)
  • Elena Kagen (2010)
  • Neil Gorsuch (2017)
  • Brett Cavanaugh (2018)
  • Amy Coney Barrett (2020)
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson (2022)


Why not make a half-day of it and visit both the U.S. Capitol Building as well as the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress?

Both are adjacent to the Supreme Court Building. 

You could also have lunch at the Capitol Visitor Center.  

For more information on visiting and touring both buildings, click on the links below.

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Follow On Instagram | I'm a historian & tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. I have written for HuffPost Travel and have been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. I've also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. I am the producer of the podcast, Tour Guide Tell All. I am an authority on D.C. history, and have led tours in the city since 2011. I currently resides in DC, but have also lived in London and South Korea, and have traveled to over 28 countries and every US State but Hawaii. I homeschool my 2 children by exploring the plethora of museums in DC. Read More...
Updated: February 13th, 2024
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