International Spy Museum

Museum in Downtown & Penn Quarter

Image by Jason Colston Getty Images

One of DC’s most popular museums, the International Spy Museum is flashy, over the top, and probably guilty of overly glamming up a life of intelligence-gathering. But who cares? You basically want to see Q’s lab, and that’s what the Spy Museum feels like. Check out James Bond's tricked-out Aston Martin, the KGB's lipstick-concealed pistol and more. Kids go crazy for this spot, but be warned: lines form long and early. Ease the wait somewhat by reserving online.

There are all kinds of artifacts and interactive displays, and guests are invited to play the role of a secret agent by adopting a cover at the start of their visit. You can try to identify disguises, listen to bugs and spot hidden cameras throughout the museum. A lot of the exhibits are historical in nature, focusing on the Cold War in particular (a re-creation of the tunnel under the Berlin Wall is an eerie winner). The museum also offers several tours, such as ‘Spy in the City’ ($15), a sort of GPS-driven scavenger hunt across DC. Expect even more intrigue when the museum moves to its new, twice-as-big digs at L'Enfant Plaza sometime in 2019.


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