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The legislature convened on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.
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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minnesota Legislature

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Visiting the Capitol

Do you have travel directions to the Minnesota State Capitol?

An interactive map of the Capitol area, with driving directions and parking locations, from Geographic Information Services.

The Capitol complex is to the north of I-94 just minutes from downtown St. Paul. It is accessible from the east and west on I-94, and from the north and south on I-35E.

I-94 eastbound: Exit at Marion Street. Turn left. Go to Aurora Avenue and turn right. Go one block and enter Parking Lot AA.

I-94 westbound: Exit at Marion Street. Turn right. Go to Aurora Avenue and turn right. Go one block and enter Parking Lot AA.

I-35E northbound: Exit at Kellogg Boulevard. Turn left. Go to John Ireland Boulevard and turn right. Metered parking spaces line both sides of the boulevard.

I-35E southbound: Exit at University Avenue. Turn right. Go to Rice Street and turn left. Go one block, turn right and enter Parking Lot AA.

Are tours of the Capitol available?

Tours of the Capitol are offered through the State Capitol Historic Site of the Minnesota Historical Society. Tour guides lead the free 45-minute tours on the hour Mondays through Fridays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (last tour leaves at 2 p.m.); Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (last tour leaves at 2 p.m.); and Sundays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (last tour leaves at 3 p.m.). The tours begin at the Capitol's information desk at the end of the corridor to the right of the main entrance. Brochures in about 20 foreign languages also are available there.

Groups of 15 or more may request 90 minute tours that emphasize the Art, Architecture, Civil War and Women's History in the Capitol. Call at least two weeks in advance to reserve a tour time. These tours require a fee.

During the legislative session, the society offers "Voice of the People: Your Role in Minnesota Government," a half-day session for students in grades 9-12.

Also, special tour events are scheduled throughout the year. Some of these events require admission fees; others are free. A special events guide is available upon request or visit the calendar of events for current offerings.

For more information about the tours or to reserve a time, call the Capitol Historic Site Program at (651) 296-2881.

Who is allowed on the floor of the Senate?

The only people admitted on the floor of the Senate Chamber are members of the Senate and House, the constitutional officers, or ex-governors of Minnesota, judges of the Trial and Appellate Courts, members of Congress, members of the press, and Senate staff.

Who is allowed on the floor of the House?

The only people admitted on the floor of the House Chamber are members of the House and Senate, the constitutional officers, or ex-governors of Minnesota, judges of the Trial and Appellate Courts, members of Congress, members of the press, and House staff. In addition, some allowances are made for special visitors to go onto the House floor.

Are visitors allowed to attend sessions of the Senate and House?

Yes. Public galleries are accessible from the third floor of the Capitol. No passes are required except for opening day and when the Legislature meets in joint session. The Sergeant-at-Arms may be contacted for seats for groups in the galleries. No visitors are allowed on the floor of the Senate. Some visitors are allowed on the House floor, but they must obtain permission. No smoking is permitted on the floor of the Senate, the House, or in the galleries. Public photos are prohibited. Staff photographers in both the House and Senate are allowed to shoot proceedings. Applause, demonstrations, and food and beverages are also prohibited in the galleries.

Who do I contact to schedule an event at the Capitol?

The Minnesota Department of Administration is in charge of scheduling events on the Capitol grounds. You can find Public Events contact information on their site and information about events already scheduled.

Is there a guide to the Capitol for visitors with disabilities?

The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans has a site, Access at the Capitol, with information and a video series - Visiting the Minnesota State Capitol: A Guide to Accessibility Features for People with Disabilities (Accessible Video Series).

A Guide for Visitors with Disabilities: Minnesota State Capitol from the Minnesota Historical Society contains information such as entrances available for visitors with limited mobility and services available for visitors with hearing or visual impairment.

For more information, call 651-296-2881
TTY 651-282-6073
or email statecapitol@mnhs.org.

Where do I park when I visit the Capitol?

During Capitol renovations, parking locations and availability may change often. The Administration Department provides maps and information on the cost of parking. Also, see the parking locations on this map.

Disability parking locations may also change during renovations. See the current disability parking locations map. There are two disability parking spaces on Aurora Avenue.

Senate Media Services has a video about parking at the Capitol.

Since parking is limited during legislative sessions, busing may be easier. Freeway express bus service is available. Call the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), (612) 827-7733, for your specific route information.

What food services are available in the Capitol?

Many buildings in the Capitol complex have their own cafeterias. The Capitol cafeteria is in the basement and is closed when the Legislature is not in session. The Transportation and Centennial Building cafeterias are on the ground floor of each building. Menus are available online. The Capitol also has a snack bar on the second floor (where the House and Senate chambers are located) during the session. Several fast food restaurants are located within walking distance of the Capitol.

Is there a map of the Capitol?

The Minnesota Department of Administration provides a map of the Capitol Complex. Geographic Information Services has also created this map of the Capitol area, including buildings and parking locations.

Minnesota State Legislature