If there is one thing Washington, DC has an abundance of it is museums. One of the greatest things about living in DC is the sheer amount of free activities and sites. It is easy to forget DC has even more to offer. As you plan your trip, put aside some cash to visit the locations listed on our best of the pay museums in DC.
Newseum: “Extra, Extra, Read All About It!” Newseum chosen as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Museums in the US, this museum is a must see in DC. Few other institutions make history come alive quite like the Newseum. See how the media plays a role in our lives and affects how we perceive events. Get up close with historical artifacts and tons of informative exhibits; like one of my favorites dealing with headlines from around the world. Closed only three days a year on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. They are a short walk from the Archives Metro stop. Check their website for current prices, discounts and hours.
National Museum of Crime & Punishment: This museum provide guests of all ages with insight into our nation’s history of crime and its punishment. Further information is given on law enforcement, forensic science, and crime scene investigation. The are plenty of interactive and educational exhibits on hand for your enjoyment. If you think you have a future in forensics, give one of their workshops a try as they are run by real forensic scientists. The museum also served as the television studio for the popular America’s Most Wanted series that dramatizes unsolved crimes. They are a short walk from the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop. Checkout their website for current prices, discounts, and hours.
International Spy Museum: The International Spy Museum boasts the most extensive collection of spy artifacts ever displayed. It also provides visitors interactive exhibits exploring all the aspects of espionage, including its contemporary role. The institution is the only public museum in the United States dedicated solely to espionage and its significant impact on world events. The Spy Museum also offers two distinct interactive spy experiences; one that takes you out into the city on a GPS guided mission and another that occurs inside the walls of the facility. They are a short walk from the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop. Check out their website for current prices, discounts, and hours.
Dupont Neighborhood, DC:
Anderson House and Heurich Mansion (The Brewmaster’s Castle): In 1905 the Florentine-Italian inspired Anderson House was completed and took its place as one of the capital city’s most stylish mansions. Today it stands as a museum and home of The Society of the Cincinnati. The society is our nation’s oldest patriotic organization founded in 1783, and its mission is to continue to promote the founding fathers principals. The Anderson House is free. We highly recommend visiting both of these locations to compare the difference of architecture and living styles within the 10-year span.
The Heurich House, also known as the Brewmaster’s Castle, is another mansion in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The Heurich House was completed in 1894 with comfort in mind. The owner greatly loved to host friends in his private Bavarian-style pub in the basement. This is a stark contrast to the cold, sleek feel of the Anderson House. The museum stands as one of the most intact Victorian houses in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house needs work, but still an excellent example of the lifestyle for that time. On a side note for all you trivia buffs, due to its construction of poured concrete and reinforced steel, the house was the city’s first fireproof home. Dupont is the closest Metro stop. Check out the websites for current hours: Anderson House and Heurich House.
The Mansion on O Street: O Street Museum Foundation promotes life and art from every culture. As a result, their collection consists of a wide range of paintings, photographs, sculpture, books, artifacts, and music, from all over the globe. “Think with your heart, feel with your mind” is their motto as you search the museums over 100 rooms and scour for 32 secret doors looking for designated items on one of their treasure hunts. The mansion is also a functioning hotel and restaurant, so no two visits are the same, as different rooms will be available for exploration each time. They also host musical shows and have a fabulous brunch set up. Dupont Circle is the closest Metro stop. Check out their website for current activities, prices, discounts, and hours.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens: George Washington was the commander in chief of American forces in the Revolutionary War and the first constitutional president of the United States. Mount Vernon, situated along the Potomac River in Northern Virginia, served as his home for more than 40 years. Just 16 miles south of Washington, D.C. you can spend the day exploring the plantation of America’s first, first family. You can see George and Martha’s burial crypt, tour their house and the full grounds which includes various barns, sheds, and animals; you might even run into the turkey that is pardoned each year by the president. The easiest way to reach Mount Vernon is by bus or driving. Biking the 15 or so miles on the Mt. Vernon trail is also an option. Check out their website for hours, prices, discounts, and events.