Review: Spy at Night

Photo courtesy of Ghost_Bear
Spy, courtesy of Ghost_Bear

If you’re interested in changing up your happy hour plans, then heading over to the International Spy Museum’s “Spy At Night” is for you.

Every Friday and Saturday from 6pm-10pm, the museum stays open to offer guests (read: spies in training) a late night glimpse into the lives of spy operatives.  According to the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum, Peter Earnest, Operation Spy combines real-life details and mission deliverables from past spy operations, and he should know: he’s former CIA.  I can’t give too much away–it’s confidential, and would ruin the mystery behind the experience–but what I can tell you is that Operation Spy is completely different from the museum. The entire experience is a cross between a 24 episode, Disney’s Haunted House, and a dining experience at Jekyll & Hyde. It’s an hour long, interactive ride that requires you and 9 other tour participants to work together and complete the assigned mission.  Every decision your team makes will impact your end result, so you better think quick.

With your admission, you also get to participate in a weekly revolving selection of different pre-tour activities, like Handwriting Analysis, Cipher-Decoding, Spy Trivia and Meet A Real Life Spy.  If you want to participate in all the special activities, I suggest getting there at about 7pm, so you can enjoy the activities while waiting for your Operation Spy tour to begin.  You’ll also be able to enjoy your, admission included, beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) or any of pre-spying food (not included in admission) you might desire.  I’d highly recommend trying the White Knight cocktail, as you’re not likely to experience the drink anywhere else.

All in all, my Spy At Night experience was amazing.  It was a fun, engaging and off-beat way to start off a Friday night.  It is a recommended experience for everyone, DC local or tourist.

Rebecca Johnson

A born and bred New Yorker, Rebecca made the big trip “down south” to DC in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. She spends her days strategizing/planning/ideating how interactive products can help her clients and change the world. In her free time, she explores DC’s ever expanding bar, restaurant and small business scene, plays a crap ton of soccer, attends concerts that contribute to her sleep deprivation and embarks on local adventures. Read why Rebecca loves DC or follow her on twitter.

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7 thoughts on “Review: Spy at Night

  1. Hey! Thanks for your review on the Spy at Night! I’m wondering, do you get to tour the museum as well, or is it just the Spy at Night activity? Also, how is the “pre-spying” food and what are the prices like?

  2. JLK: The museum is closed on SpyNight, but there are additional activities pre your Operation Spy activity.

    I didn’t get a chance to sample the food, but from the menu it looked like traditional fare (burgers, hot dogs, etc.) With your Spy At Night admission you get an alcoholic beverage, so the price was right on that.

  3. Thanks for the info!
    We’re visiting DC for a week, so if I could only do one thing, tour the museum or do the Spy at Night, which is better, do you think?

  4. Jana: It kind of depends on how you feel about kids, in my opinion. The Spy Museum has a pretty kid-friendly focus, so it’s a popular choice for school field trips, not to mention a place to families to take kids who aren’t in school (like if their school is on spring break or something). So when we went, we found that the kids were a little on the noisy side, running around a bit (especially in the climb-through-the-air-ducts room). Which is fine, they’re kids, but it DID interfere with our ability to participate in some of the more interactive and multimedia exhibits. Spy at Night seems like a more adult-focused experience.

  5. In my opinion, Spy At Night is appropriate for teenagers and up, provided younger teens have adult supervisor. That’s just my opinion.

    Having done both the museum and Spy At Night, I definitely prefer Spy At Night. It’s engaging, interactive, involves role playing, and is fun. The museum is definitely a good time as well, but you’re mainly walking around looking at glass cases and reading.

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