How to visit the White House and the Pentagon

White House

United States it is a very big country but thanks to cinema and television there are certain iconic places that tourists always want to visit. We can make a large list, but it seems to me that the two sites that are in the title of today's article are among the Top Five, right?

La Casa Blanca It is the seat of American power, at least that is how Hollywood and the Pentagon it is like a mysterious site of important military decisions. Are you going to the United States? So here I leave you everything you need to know when doing these two great tourist visits.

Visit the White House

tourist-photos-white-house

The White House It is the official residence of the President of the United States for the duration of his term, but those who visit Washington DC can pay a visit to learn American history and culture. Until a very short time ago, you couldn't take pictures, something frustrating, although helpful, but from last year outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama authorized the photos on the famous White House Tour.

Of course, new technologies have put a lot of pressure on this issue, but they also forced extreme security measures. So nowadays the photos tourists take inside the house can be uploaded to social networks with the hashtag WhiteHouseTour. So how can you sign up for a guided tour of the White House? First you have to make a reservation and you have up to six months before to do it and no less than three weeks.

white-house-tour

The request for the visit You must do it through the embassy of your country in Washington. You must leave contact information, dates and number of people that make up your group. Guided tours take place from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and Friday to Saturday between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m..

There are objects that you cannot enter to the White House: cameras, video cameras, food, drinks, cigarettes or pipes, liquids, gel, lotions, weapons, knives or sharp objects, backpacks, suitcases, wallets, etc. All these things can be left in nearby hotels, in lockers for which they charge a little but once you leave you have everything at hand.  The White House has no lockers, yes the hotels and the Union Station that is nearby. Yes, you can enter with keys, wallets, mobile phones and umbrellas.

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As I said above, from last year you can take photos with compact cameras and smart phones. No video recording and no selfie sticks allowed. The tour lasts half an hour once you pass the security measures. You will go through several rooms but you will not enter the part of the residence where the president and his family live, or the famous Oval Room and the West Wing. Yes, there are Secret Service agents everywhere and they are authorized to answer questions so you can interact with them.

Practical information:

  • How to get to the White House: The closest station to the entrance for guided tours is the Metro Center (13th Street exit). When you reach the top of the escalator, take the 13th Street South exit, turn right onto E Street and go straight to 15th Street. If you did not sign up for any tour and you are going on your own, you should arrive earlier. It is on 15th street that the queue forms.
  • The White House Visitor Center is a few blocks from the White House and is worth a visit. It has been restored, its new exhibit is made up of about 90 objects provided by the White House Historical Association and many of them have never been exhibited. There is Franklin D. Roosvelt's desk, for example, and a very interesting 14-minute video is also projected that it is advisable to watch before the same tour.
  • The entire visit lasts an hour and a half. This site is open every day except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years from 7:30 am to 4 pm and the entrance is freeto. Has a gift shop and there is a replica of the presidential desk in the Oval Room where you can take a photo. Finally, if you have a trip scheduled very soon, I will tell you that on December 1 the lights of the White House Christmas Tree will be officially turned on.
  • Tours of the White House are free.

Visit the Pentagon

pentagon

The Pentagon is located just outside of Washington DC, in Arlington. This is the Barracks GGeneral of the United States Department of Defense y It is open to guided tours.

These guided tours they can be booked up to 14 days before the trip and no more than 90 days in advance. Occur Monday to Friday, except holidays, between 9 am and 3 pm. Groups fill up very quickly so if you like the idea of ​​visiting, you should book early. The application for foreigners must be made through the embassy.

where-is-the-pentagon

Guided tours last one hour and cover about two kilometers inside this curious building that is one of the largest in the world. The history of the four branches into which the US military is divided will be explained to you and you will also be able to visit the internal memorial that was made after September 11, 2001. There is a chapel and a Hall of Heroes with the names of the dead.

tour-pentagon

There's no parking at the pentagon so you must arrive by public transport. The closest station is Pentagon on the orange line of the subway, but if you have a car you can leave it parked at the Pentagon City Mall and walk the five minutes that separate it from the military building through a pedestrian tunnel. The entrance of visitors is done through the Pentagon Tour window that is near the subway entrance.

memorial-of-11-s-pentagon

You must confirm or check in at least one hour before the tour scheduled because you will have to pass security measures and present the reservation confirmation papers and passports. Large bags or backpacks or mobiles, cameras or devices are not allowed Electronic of another nature. After the inside tour, I recommend you walk around, which is where the 11/XNUMX Memorial is, about ten minutes of walking following the signs.

One trip, one city, two great visits.

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