Worth the money: DC museums that charge admission

1 Nov

Newseum © David Monack

It’s easy to get spoiled living in DC with all the free museums that are available. You can pop in during your lunch break, while waiting for a friend or to see a specific exhibit you’ve heard about. But some museums charge an admission fee, which hopefully won’t discourage you from going. Here are some of my favorites.

International Spy Museum: This museum near the Verizon Center is pretty new, having opened in 2002. It’s got a lot of interactive exhibits and you’ll leave feeling paranoid that everyone around you is a spy. A lot of kids go to this museum, but as an adult I really enjoyed it. My favorite part is the fake air shafts that you can crawl through, spying on other visitors. I’m surprised how crowded this museum can get considering that admission is pretty pricey: $18 for adults and $15 for children. You can purchase tickets in advance, which I’d probably recommend for weekends and during tourist seasons. Tip: Goldstar often sells discount tickets to the Spy Museum.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art: There’s no shortage of art museums in DC, so it’s easy to procrastinate about going to the Corcoran, but I encourage you to make the trip. The museum is the largest privately supported cultural institution in DC, and they focus on American art. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and admission for adults is $10 (kids are free and students are $8). The closest Metro stations are Farragut North and Farragut West.

Newseum: One of my favorites! I loved the Newseum when it was in Arlington and was really happy when it finally reopened six years later in 2008 at its new space near the Mall on Pennsylvania. The new building is amazing and the exhibits are always changing. An added bonus is that there usually aren’t a lot of kids at the museum, so it’s typically pretty quiet. I love the interactive exhibits and for a small fee you can read from a teleprompter like you’re on the news; they give you a photo and when you go home you can view your video online. They’ve also got a huge balcony with an amazing view of the Capitol. Adult admission is $19.95 and kids are $12.95. I’ve heard that the Newseum has struggled financially since reopening, so you’ll often find special discounts on their website in an attempt to increase the number of visitors.

The Phillips Collection: I only recently went to this art gallery, and I don’t know what took me so long. Located near Dupont Circle, the museum houses modern art in an intimate setting. I think brunch in Dupont followed by a visit to the The Phillips Collection would be a great Saturday afternoon. The museum recently had a small fire (no artwork was damaged) and so now is an especially great time to support repairs by visiting. The gallery isn’t opened Sundays or Mondays, and admission costs $12 for adults and is free for kids.

One Response to “Worth the money: DC museums that charge admission”

  1. Janette November 1, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    It’s so fun to get in the zone at the Spy Museum! You truly feel like an FBI or CIA agent when you are there- very cool! I have heard amazing things about the Newseum, but still haven’t been. The price of admission seems a bit high, but everyone that I know that has gone has said it is totally worth it. Are cameras allowed in? Haven’t heard of the other museums and collections- thanks for the info!

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