Visiting the US State Capitol Buildings (list included)

Whether you are an architectural buff, enjoy stately buildings, or love history, government, or art, visiting the US State Capitol buildings is a unique experience. Visting all 50 State Capitol Buildings also makes a great bucket list!

Each capitol has its own personality, from being the tallest building in the state (North Dakota) or the tallest capitol building in the US (Louisiana) to having a dome or not having a dome, to being rectangular to being circular. Iowa's capitol building features five domes! 

Below you will find a list of all the states with the capitols. Coming soon is a PDF you can print out to keep track of the ones you've visited or you grab this fillable form.

State Capitol list

Alabama (AL) Montgomery
Alaska (AK) Juneau
Arizona (AZ) Phoenix
Arkansas (AR) Little Rock
California (CA) Sacramento
Colorado (CO) Denver
Connecticut (CT) Hartford
Delaware (DE) Dover
Florida (FL) Tallahassee
Georgia (GA) Atlanta
Hawaii (HI) Honolulu
Idaho (ID) Boise
Illinois (IL) Springfield
Indiana (IN) Indianapolis
Iowa (IA) Des Moines
Kansas (KS) Topeka
Kentucky (KY) Frankfort
Louisiana (LA) Baton Rouge
Maine (ME) Augusta
Maryland (MD) Annapolis
Massachusetts (MA) Boston
Michigan (MI) Lansing
Minnesota (MN) St. Paul
Mississippi (MS) Jackson
Missouri (MO) Jefferson City
Montana (MT) Helena
Nebraska (NE) Lincoln
Nevada (NV) Carson City
New Hampshire (NH) Concord
New Jersey (NJ) Trenton
New Mexico (NM) Santa Fe
New York (NY) Albany
North Carolina (NC) Raleigh
North Dakota (ND) Bismarck
Ohio (OH) Columbus
Oklahoma (OK) Oklahoma City
Oregon (OR) Salem
Pennsylvania (PA) Harrisburg
Rhode Island (RI) Providence
South Carolina (SC) Columbia
South Dakota (SD) Pierre
Tennessee (TN) Nashville
Texas (TX) Austin
Utah (UT) Salt Lake City
Vermont (VT) Montpelier
Virginia (VA) Richmond
Washington (WA) Olympia
West Virginia (WV) Charleston
Wisconsin (WI) Madison
Wyoming (WY) Cheyenne

Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul
Minnesota State Capitol Building (St. Paul)

What is a state capitol?

The term “capitol” comes from Capitoline Hill in Rome. A capitol building is usually the gathering place of the state's governor for its legislature and offices. Some states (Alabama, Nevada, and North Carolina) meet in other buildings, but the governor's office is still in the capitol building.

State capital cities are often not located in the most cultural, most economical, or most populous city in their respective state; regardless, it is the seat of the state government.

Visit a state capitol – guided or self-guided tour?

I want to challenge you to visit each of the 50 states! Most capitol buildings offer guided tours or provide you with a flyer to do a self-guided tour. Most state capitol buildings are only open during the week, so visit the website before your visit if you want to see the inside.

I highly recommend a guided tour – the guides have many behind-the-scenes facts you miss out on with a self-guided tour. Guided tours take you to places not accessible on a self-guided tour. Times typically range from 30 minutes to an hour long. Free parking is often available.

North Dakota State Capitol Building in Bismarck
North Dakota State Capitol Building (Bismarck)

State Capitol Grounds

Take advantage of wandering the capitol grounds! Most capitols have beautiful gardens, monuments, and sculptures.

Visit Oklahoma's capitol to find it surrounded by working oil wells! You can see totem poles from Alaska's capital. While at the Colorado capitol, look for the mile-high step on the westerly side of the building (it has an inscribed marker).

Pennsylvania recently put a green roof on a portion of the building; you can visit the space. Utah's capitol features a reflective pool.

Night Time State Capitol Building Views

I suggest visiting the capitols in the evening. The lighting on capitol buildings is fabulous! Bring a tripod for the best results if you plan to take some photos in the dark. 

Night time view of the New York State Capitol Building in Albany
New York State Capitol Building (Albany)

Is there a better time of year to visit a state capitol?

Not really. It depends on personal preference. The spring and summer are extraordinary times to see lots of colors on the grounds. December is perfect if you want to see the State Christmas Tree lit up and the holiday decorations inside the building.

How do I keep track of what state capitols I've visited?

I've created a simple checklist to keep track of the capitols you've visited! Check it out in my shop (COMING SOON!).

If you can get inside, check the information or tour desk for a dated ink stamp that you can use to record your visit. The Capitol Collect website has the exact location for each capitol logo (and tells you where you can purchase the official capitol passport book).

What is the hype with the capitol passport book? The book provides short condensed histories for every state and includes exciting facts – you can be smarty pants to the tour guide! And, as previously mentioned, there is a place for each capitol stamp. It's a great keepsake, and the stamp includes the date of your visit!

Visiting the US State Capitol Building in Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona State Capitol Building (Phoenix)

Is it spelled state capitol or state capital? 

The word “capital” has a few meanings, including accumulated wealth, uppercase letters, or the city home to the country's or state's government. The term “capitol” refers to a physical capitol building. 

Do state capitols ever move locations?

50% of the current state capitol buildings are not in their original location! Oklahoma's capitol was the last to change locations, and that was back in 1910. 

Oklahoma State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma State Capitol Building (Oklahoma City)

Other US Capitol Buildings you might have yet to consider!

Besides the 50 states, five US territories have capitol buildings! And, of course, there is the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC! The US Capitol Building is the only US capitol building requiring you to make a reservation before visiting.

State Capitol Building Fun Facts

Largest State Capitol Building: Texas

Smallest State Capitol Building: Vermont

Oldest State Capitol Building: Maryland

Most expensive Capitol Building constructed: New York

State Capitol Building with the Largest Dome: Wisconsin

Only circular-shaped Capitol Building: New Mexico

State Capitol Building with the most types of marble: West Virginia

California State Captiol Building in Sacramento
California State Capitol Building (Sacrament0)

Final Thoughts about Visiting the US State Capitol Buildings

If you find yourself passing through an area while on a road trip, research if you can visit the state capitol. I hope you take the opportunity to enjoy the views and learn a fact or two. More often than not, the state capitol building is an architectural gem of a city just waiting for you to explore! 

Pin this for later:

Choose the image(s) that resonate with you to pin to your travel board on Pinterest!

The image showcases a close-up of a golden-domed U.S. State Capitol building against a clear blue sky. Below the photo is a text overlay with a green background stating "Guide to Visiting U.S. State Capitol Buildings."
The image is a composite of three separate photographs of U.S. State Capitol buildings, each showcasing different architectural styles and times of day. The top photo features a close-up of a golden statue group, the middle one displays a capitol building with a manicured garden in the foreground, and the bottom photo is of a capitol building taken during twilight, highlighting its illuminated dome. An orange text box with white text overlays the images, reading "Visiting U.S. State Capitol Buildings."
The image features a front view of the New Mexico State Capitol building, characterized by its simple yet stately architectural design with a brown facade, large entrance doors, and a state seal prominently displayed above the entrance. The composition of the photo with the clear sky and patterned foreground gives a sense of openness and accessibility. A green text box with white text at the top reads "U.S. State Capitol Basics."

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