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See the Pentagon on a Guided Tour

​Did you know the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense opens its doors to the public?

The Pentagon, America’s symbol of military strength located in Arlington, is the world’s largest low-rise office building. With advance planning and some background checks, you can receive a 1.49 mile walking tour of the massive building that is like a self-contained city.

The Pentagon Tours program lets more than 100,000 visitors annually see the corridors and hallway displays. Tour guides are active duty personnel from the National Capital Region’s military ceremonial units, and it’s no easy job: a guide walks backwards the whole time while presenting 33 pages of tour info memorized verbatim.

For tourists, it’s a great way to get your steps on a vacation to the capital area. Find out about all the shops and services available to Pentagon employees and be dazzled by the various gifts to buy at the Fort America gift shop, from challenge coins to Pentagon apparel.

Visitors get to see a memorial quilt honoring the victims of the terrorist attack in 2001. After a hijacked airliner hit the building on Sept. 11, 2001, it took a year to rebuild the damage to the outer rings of the building. Following a visit inside the Pentagon, see the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and you’ll have a chance to contemplate, read excerpts on the individual lives and also sign a memory book.

To sign up for the 60-minute Pentagon building tour, reservations can be requested at the Pentagon website 14 to 90 days in advance. Tours run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, not weekends and federal holidays.

At least one form of current photo identification is required for visitors over age 18 such as a U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card, driver’s license meeting REAL ID standards, photo ID issued by federal, state or local government, Native American Tribal Document, U.S. Border Crossing Card, Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card, foreign passport or a foreign passport with a temporary stamp or temporary printed notation on a machine readable immigrant visa. Leave your camera in your bag because you are not allowed to take photographs or use electronic devices during the tour. Weapons and large bags are prohibited.

Planning a capital visit? Book now!

Author: Kathleen Murphy