Pentagon - On and Off Base Information

Pentagon Housing and Information:

Location: Home to Department of Defense Headquarters, the Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings. It is located in Arlington, VA, right across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.  The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself with over 23,000 employees, both military and civilian, assigned. It has 200 acres of lawn, 16 parking lots, 131 stairways and 19 escalators, a number of food and shopping vendors, dry cleaners and banking facilities. The building has approximately 17.5 miles of corridors.

The National Capital Region (NCR) is a high cost of living area.  Many people choose to live further away in Virginia or Maryland and commute to work at the Pentagon. Pentagon Operator:  703-697-1201, DSN: 312-227-1201.

For more specific information on working at the Pentagon, visit their homepage.

History: The Pentagon was conceived at the request of Brigadier General Brehon B. Sommervell, Chief of the Construction Division of the Office of the Quartermaster General, on a weekend in mid-July 1941. The purpose was to provide a temporary solution to the War Department’s critical shortage of space. Congress, cautious about the size of the expenditure and the enormity of the project, but anxious about events in Europe and the Far East that could require U.S. military intervention, appropriated the funds necessary to construct the War Department’s new home (approximately $83 million) on August 14, 1941. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 11, 1941.

Population Served: The Pentagon houses approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and approximately 3,000 non-defense support personnel.

Around Town: Scroll to the top for neighborhood reviews, miltiary housing, military friendly realtors, local businesses and fun things to do near the Pentagon.

Transportation: The use of public transportation in Washington is recommended as on-street parking is limited and traffic is often heavy. There is also a wait list for parking permits. As incentive for using public transportation, the National Capital Region has a mass transit benefit program that provides Federal workers up to $230 a month to help offset the cost of using public transportation to commute to work.


Washington, DC has an extensive subway system and has a stop at the Pentagon. It serves the entire District of Columbia plus the most populous Maryland and Virginia suburbs. The Metrorail runs from 5:00 a.m. (weekdays), 7:00 a.m. (weekends) to approximately midnight (Sunday-Thursday), 3:00 a.m. (Friday-Saturday). The time between trains varies from 3 to 20 minutes depending on the time of day and the rail line involved.

The fare for a trip is based on time of day (rush hour vs. non-rush hour) and the departure and destination station combination.

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, visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website.

Virginia Railway Express

Crystal City and Union Station are both served by Virginia Rail Express (VRE). 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 by calling 703-684-1001.


If you choose to drive, the Pentagon is about a ten minute walk from the Pentagon City Mall parking garage 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.

From the North -- Take I-270 South to the I-495 South (Capital Beltway). Merge onto George Washington Parkway. Take the exit toward VA-27/Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove/I-395/Pentagon. 

From the South -- From West of the Potomac River, take I-95 North. Merge onto I-395 North. Merge onto VA-27N/ Washington Blvd. toward the Pentagon.

From east of the Potomac River, take I-295 (North or South, depending on starting point) to the I-395 South. Merge onto the I-395 South. Exit the Boundary Channel Dr/ Exit 10A toward Pentagon North Parking. Turn left at Boundary Channel Dr and right at North Rotary Rd. Follow Rotary Rd. around for bus drop-offs.

From the East -- If close to the Potomac River, follow the "From the south" directions above, starting with "From East of the Potomac River." If farther from the Potomac River, take I-495 South (Capital Beltway). Then follow the "From the South" directions, starting with "Merge onto I-395 North."

From the West -- Take Route 50 East toward Arlington. Exit the VA-27 E/ Washington Blvd. Merge onto VA-27 S/Washington Blvd.


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 Maryland Transit information line at 800-325-7245.

DoD Bus Service

The Pentagon Circulator is a free shuttle service for all personnel and the public from the Pentagon Transit Center (PTC) to North and Boundary Channel Parking. 

The Department of Defense has established a DoD bus service that operates during normal duty hours. The buses are available for use by DoD personnel on official business. The service is free and all DoD installations or activities in the metropolitan Washington area may be reached by one or more of the lines. A complete schedule is available at the information booth in the Concourse or by calling 703-693-3768. 

Additional Information

WHS Transportation Options

Housing: There is not a housing office at the Pentagon. If you want to live on a military installation the closest Air Force bases to the Pentagon are Joint Base Anacostia Bolling and Joint Base Andrews. The closest Army Bases are Fort Meyer and Fort Belvoir. For questions concerning your housing needs please visit the Air Force Housing or the Army Housing website. This website is designed to support you in the transition to your new home and community. Use the resources accessible through the site to become familiar with the housing options and support services available to you.

Base Location

Arlington, VA 22202

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