The Pentagon is about a ten minute walk from the Pentagon City Mall parking garages and is reached through a pedestrian tunnel. Once through the tunnel, look for signs to the Metro entrance. No shuttle service is provided to or from the Pentagon. There is a charge for parking at the mall.
To or from the west:
There are two main routes: I-66 and Route 50. Route 50 is four lanes (or more in places), but is not limited access and does have traffic lights. I-66 is four lanes from Arlington to the beltway (I-495). Important note: All lanes of I-66 are HOV lanes during rush hours, i.e. a minimum of 3 people per vehicle. It also becomes bumper to bumper during rush hour.
To or from the south:
There is one main route: I-95/395. This is the main north-south interstate route along the East coast of the United States, so it carries a heavy traffic load most of the time. South of the beltway (I-495) this road is called I-95. Between the beltway and downtown Washington, DC, this road is called I-395. When this highway crosses the Anacostia River several miles northeast of the Pentagon, it leads directly onto I-295.
To or from the east:
Take the beltway (I-495) south until you crossed the Potomac River on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Then take Highway 1 north or I-395 north until you reach the Pentagon.
To or from the north:
Driving through the District of Columbia during rush hour is asking for trouble. Traffic is very heavy and navigation is difficult. One way to go from the north is to drive the beltway to the west of the city, then take the George Washington Parkway to the Pentagon. The other choice is trickier: you can drive the beltway to the east and then take the Baltimore Washington Parkway southbound to where it simply becomes I-295. Then you have two tricky alternatives:
- You can get off at the Suitland Parkway westbound, then cross the Anacostia River on the Douglas Bridge, being alert for signs to I-395 south. You will be on city streets for a mile or so. Be very careful at the I-395 on-ramp: there is no merge lane!
- Or you may take the Suitland Parkway eastbound long enough to drive underneath I-295. Then immediately reenter I-295 northbound and drive a little less than one mile to the Anacostia Bridge exit. This will take you westbound directly onto I-395.
The use of public transportation, including taxis, in Washington is recommended as on-street parking is limited and traffic is often heavy.
Washington, DC has one of the nicest subway systems in the United States. It serves the entire District of Columbia plus the most populous Maryland and Virginia suburbs. The Metrorail runs from 0500 (weekdays), 0700 (weekends) to approximately midnight (Sunday-Thursday), 0300 (Friday-Saturday). The time between trains varies from 3 to 20 minutes depending on the time of day and the rail line involved. About the only important part of the District not served by Metrorail is Georgetown.
The fare for a trip is based on time of day (rush hour vs. non-rush hour) and the departure and destination station combination. Each station has a lighted sign near the Fare Card vending machines that displays the Metro system map and the one-way fare to every other station in the system. You must purchase a magnetic strip Fare Card from one of the vending machines before you may enter the station. To get into or out of a station requires you to feed the Fare Card into the turnstile. Assuming your Fare Card has enough funds, the turnstile will return your Fare Card and then open to let you through.
To reach the Pentagon via the public MetroRail system, take either the yellow or blue line to the Pentagon stop. Exit the Metro and take the escalator up to the Pentagon entrance. For Metrorail map and more information, [Click Here] or visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority web site at www.wmata.com.
Union Station is the main intercity railway station in Washington. It is well served by Amtrak from cities up and down the East coast. A Washington Metrorail station (Red Line) is located there also. The Pentagon is one line change (to the Yellow Line) and five Metro stops away [Click Here] for AMTRAK schedules.
Union Station is also served by weekday Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) trains from Silver Spring, Kensington, Garrett Park, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown and suburbs further to the northwest. MARC service goes all the way to Martinsburg, West Virginia. MARC also runs two additional lines to the northeast. Their Penn Line goes all the way to Aberdeen, MD, northeast of Baltimore. MARC service is less frequent and more expensive than Metrorail service. Schedule and fare information can be obtained 24 hours a day by telephone from the MARC computer system at (800) 325-7245 or [Click Here] to download a schedule. MARC system timetables can often also be found near the US Post Office on the south end of the Pentagon Concourse.
Virginia Railway Express
Crystal City and Union Station are both served by Virginia Rail Express. There are two lines, one serving Fredericksburg to the south and the other serving Manassas to the west. Schedule and fare information can be obtained from (703) 658-6200 and also from http://www.vre.org.
Pentagon Area Map
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