The Pentagon is a vast, impressive, and historic complex, but being the national headquarters of the Department of Defense and given its crucial role in protecting the nation’s security, the entire reservation, with one notable exception, is strictly a no-photography zone. And, for that matter, it’s very much a no-loitering zone as well. And the Pentagon Police don’t mess around.
The exception is the Pentagon Memorial on its southwest corner, which is well worth a visit and where you are allowed to take photos and spend time reflecting.
- The following items are not prohibited inside the building, but cannot be used along the tour route:
- Electronic devices (i.e. cell phones, picture or video cameras, PDAs, blackberries, laptops, etc) and tobacco products. You are encouraged to leave these items in the hotel, bus or van or at home as it will slow down the processing into the building.
With the exception of the Pentagon Memorial, and for pretty obvious reasons, the Pentagon is one of the unfriendliest places for photography in the area.
For special events that use the vast Pentagon parking lots as staging areas, like the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally or the U.S. Army Ten Miler, you probably won’t run into trouble so long as you stick to taking photos of the event and don’t try to take photos of the building or its security measures. But, of course, your best bet is to take notice of whatever security personnel tell you.
Washington DC Visitor Guides
If you're coming in from out of town, here are some of the most popular guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit.
- Elise Hartman Ford
- Publisher: FrommerMedia
- Lonely Planet, Karla Zimmerman, Virginia Maxwell, Amy C Balfour
- Publisher: Lonely Planet
- Van Dam Stephan
- Publisher: VanDam, Inc.
- Fodor's Travel Guides
- Fodor's Travel
And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's rich history.
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
- Barbara Noe Kennedy