US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Visiting the Nation’s Capital

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressVisiting the Nation’s Capital
By Sen. John Thune

Each year, millions of people from around the world travel to Washington, D.C., to take in the sights and sounds of our nation’s capital. Between all of the historic buildings and locations scattered throughout the District are great places to eat, rest after a long day on the National Mall, or enjoy a wide range of family-friendly entertainment opportunities. The spring season, in particular, draws families from around the country to Washington for spring break and other family vacations.

If your family is considering a trip to Washington this spring – or any time of year, for that matter – and you need help planning parts of your visit, you can always contact my office for assistance. We can help arrange tours of federal buildings throughout the city and provide tips on places to eat or stay. Visiting a big city can sometimes be an overwhelming task, so let us help alleviate some of that stress. While we’re always just a phone call or email away, if you’re already in Washington, you can always stop by my office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to say hello, schedule tours, or pick up some helpful information about the city.

I hope one of your first tours in Washington is through the Capitol building, which is a living part of history and an iconic symbol of our democracy. It functions as an office for members of Congress and staff and serves as a hands-on museum for school groups and other visitors. If you tour the Capitol, you’ll walk through the same hallways as members of Congress and can see firsthand important congressional debates and votes from the galleries of the House and Senate chambers. In addition to the Capitol, my office can help arrange tours of the White House, U.S. Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and many other federal buildings.

There’s a uniqueness to visiting D.C. throughout the year, but this season is particularly interesting because of the world- famous cherry blossom trees that explode with color each spring. The Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial becomes noticeably fragrant as the trees start to bloom, and end up painting the horizon pink and white. If you’ve never had the chance to see them in person and in full bloom, which is expected to peak this year between March 31 and April 3, it’s definitely worth the visit.

There’s one special event in D.C. that’s reserved just for you: our weekly South Dakota Sunrise Coffee. Nearly every Wednesday that the House and Senate are in session, Sen. Rounds, Rep. Noem, and I host a breakfast for South Dakotans who are visiting Washington. It’s a great opportunity to see familiar faces and make new friends, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the week. To be part of our next South Dakota Sunrise Coffee or to learn about how we can help you during your trip to Washington, more information can be found at or by calling any of my Senate offices.