Things to Do

Decode Clues and Track Down Prizes in This DC Spy Sites Scavenger Hunt

Photograph courtesy of the International Spy Museum.

For those who dreamt of a life more like The Americans, you can now try your hand with a new spy sites scavenger hunt around the city. Counting down to the grand opening of its L’Enfant Plaza location, the International Spy Museum organized a hunt—for kids and adults alike—covering decades of local DC spy history.

For the next six weeks, players will decode clues on the hunt’s website leading to hotels, parks, theaters and other spots that might seem commonplace but are connected to espionage (think: the Exchange Saloon). There are 36 dead drops throughout the DC metro area, including Virginia and Maryland.

spy map
spy clue 32

At the sites, players will find sleek, black “spikes” modeled after ones used in covert communications and intelligence operations. On the website, you can tap the object that appears onscreen—and grab the spike, of course—to secure the prize. There is only one spike placed at each location.

These spikes found at dead drop sites are similar to those used throughout local spy history.

Each week, there’s a chance to find six dead drops throughout the area; the first to locate each spike wins a prize (so there are winners every week), though if you arrive at a dead drop that’s already been claimed, you can still enter to win the final prize. Weekly prizes include tickets to the Opening Night Party (on May 11), museum memberships, and general admission museum tickets—the final prize is a private VIP tour of the museum. The last day you can enter is May 6, and the hunt ends May 12, opening day for the new location. 

For more information on the scavenger hunt, click here.

Sophia Ebanks
Web fellow