International Spy Museum, Washington DC

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Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to be a spy? Have you thought about whether you have the skills to pick a lock, break into a safe or do surveillance on your enemy? On our recent trip to Washington DC, we had the opportunity to take a tour through the International Spy Museum and see artifacts of real life spies plus a huge collection of James Bond memorabilia.

Hobbies on a Budget received tickets or discounts for the purpose of this article. All opinions are my own. Amazon Affiliate links are included for your convenience.

International Spy Museum – Washington DC

The International Spy Museum is located just a couple blocks way from the National Mall and around the corner from Ford’s Theatre. You can purchase tickets at the door but it is recommended to get them online early so you don’t have to wait in line.

Real life tip: Arrive at the museum early in the day to get ahead of the crowds! This is a popular museum and it fills up quickly!

For James Bond fans, this place is a treasure trove! You know you’re in for some fun when one of the first things you see is Zao’s Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day right in the lobby where you stand in line!

You start your tour in an elevator up to a room where you are given the opportunity to take on a secret identity. You are instructed to memorize your information and then watch a brief movie talking about the stories of spies.

Umbrellas are pistols, dead rats are microphones, femme fatales are men fatales. Gain access to a wild world of gadgets, weapons, bugs, cameras, vehicles, and spy-tech that defies classification.

There are hundreds of actual artifacts that have been used by spies throughout history, like the famous lipstick gun, cameras concealed in rings, briefcases, vases and jewelry. You get the chance to try out your skills at surveillance and can even sneak through the ductwork above the museum.

International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains

Once you get through the real life spy exhibits, you get the chance to walk downstairs and go through all the James Bond movies.

If you are a fan of James Bond, you will feel like you are in a paradise! You can see the outfits that have been worn in the movies, gear from the movies and even see Jaws’ teeth from Moonraker.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, also wrote the classic children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

Ian Fleming

Things to Know

  • You cannot take food and drink into the museum.
  • Strollers are not permitted in the museum. There is a parking area before you enter.
  • Plan to spend 1-2 hours
  • Your ticket is good for all day, you may leave and reenter the Museum with a valid ticket.
  • For younger children, make sure you ask for the museum scavenger hunt!

Find International Spy Museum

800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC
P: 202.393.7798

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The International Spy Museum is conveniently located only a few blocks from the Smithsonian Museums and National Mall and is just around the block from Ford’s Theatre.

Have you ever been to the International Spy Museum? What looks like the neatest thing you would want to see and explore? I’d love to hear!

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  1. I think I would be fascinated by all the actual gadgets and artifacts that were really used by spies. I would really love to visit there.

  2. Looks like a good time well worth whatever it costs. I would love to visit. I especially like the artifacts that villians used.

  3. I have been to the Spy Museum and it’s super cool. I was bummed to find out that, since 9/11, you can only go on the FBI tour if you apply several months in advance and get a security clearance, because I remember going on the FBI tour as a kid. The Spy Museum more than made up for it, though.

  4. Oh wow, I have not heard of this place before. Sounds like so much fun and so educational too! I love that you get to take on a new identity upon entering!

  5. The most amazing thing is that I have not yet been to the International Spy Museum and I live within an hour of DC.
    So many museums, so little time!! The International Spy Museum is on our must see amazing list!

  6. I have never been to the Spy Museum. I would love to go. This will be on our vacation list for sure. Sounds likes a lot of fun. The children love interactive things. Thanks!

  7. This is a new museum to me! I would love to visit this museum, all the awesome James Bond memorabilia, and who knew Ian Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?!! And all the cool spy items used over the years! Spend all day there? Heck, I’d probably spend a week. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this wonderful museum, it’s going on my bucket list!

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