Step into the shoes of a spy at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. Hear stories about real operatives and intelligence officers, see the gear and gadgets they used, and learn the techniques of espionage. The immersive experience sends you undercover on a covert mission—with a formal debriefing at the end to evaluate your work.The Basics
The International Spy Museum offers an engaging, hands-on experience as well as fascinating exhibits. Visits start at the Briefing Center, where you’ll get a covert identity, and galleries cover topics like stealing secrets and covert action. Highlights include listening devices, a WWII submarine, and the axe that killed Soviet leader Leon Trotsky.
Avoid lines at this popular museum by pre-booking admission and taking advantage of mobile ticketing. A visit can be combined with a trip to the National Mall or Capitol hill, or can be made in conjunction with a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Spy Museum is great for families and for those interested in espionage.
- Tickets are valid for 15 minute windows; if you do not arrive on time, you may have to wait for another open slot.
- You’ll need two to three hours to explore this sizable museum.
- Luggage can be stored in the free lockers on site.
- Strollers are not allowed in the galleries; you can store your stroller in the Lobby Cloak Room.
- The Spy Museum is fully accessible for guests with disabilities.
How to Get There
The International Spy Museum is located at 700 L'Enfant Plaza, south of the National Mall. It is walking distance from several sights (including the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial) and near the L'Enfant metro station. Many hop-on hop-off bus tours stop just outside the museum.When to Get There
The International Spy Museum is open seven days a week, all year round. The museum is a popular weekend destination, and it can be crowded during peak summer tourist season, so to secure a time slot, pre-book discounted tickets online and plan to visit early in the day or during the off-season, between September and February.
How to Explore Washington DC on a Budget
With so many must-see attractions, DC is a destination where costs can add up. Fortunately, visitors who plan ahead can save money by purchasing area passes: For a dose of culture, get a multi-attraction pass, which allows you to choose from dozens of popular museums and historic sights. If you prefer exploring the city, opt for a single- or multi-day sightseeing pass, which typically includes hop-on hop-off bus tours and water taxi rides.