Washington, D.C. is best known for its historic buildings, monuments and museums. With so many options available, it can feel a bit overwhelming to decide which museum to go to. Check out this list of five must-see museums and see exactly what our nation’s capital has to offer.

555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 292-6100

News buffs will fall in love with the Newseum, a dynamic and interactive museum that allows visitors to experience major news stories from the past and present through the eyes of the media. View Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, tour the Berlin Wall gallery or watch an interesting film about Hollywood, 4-D time travel or the press and the Civil Rights movement. The Newseum also hosts a variety of educational programs throughout the year, features an interactive newsroom and transmits nearly 1,000 front page news stories electronically in its Front Page gallery.

International Spy Museum
800 F St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-7798

Ever wondered what it’s like to be James Bond? Now you can at the International Spy Museum. Popular among kids and adults alike, the museum is recognized as the only public museum dedicated to the art of espionage. Come see the largest collection of spy gear, including disguised weapons, miniature cameras and hallow coins. The International Spy Museum also features interactive spy experiences, like Operation Spy where you have to decrypt secret messages and interrogate a suspect among other thrilling adventures. Visitors can also tour exciting exhibits and shop for spy-related souvenirs in the Spy Shop.

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Crime Museum
575 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 393-1099

Are you more interested in catching the bad guy than being the bad guy? Head over to the Crime Museum where you will find more than 700 artifacts related to the history of crime and what happens when criminals get caught. Learn more about all different kinds of bad guys, from the gunslingers of the Wild West to modern-day computer criminals. The Crime Museum also features a variety of interactive exhibits including a shooting gallery, safe cracking, a lie detector test and high-speed police chase simulators. The kids will love the hands-on workshops and scavenger hunt.

1000 Jefferson Dr. SW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 633-1000

Recognized as the world’s largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian museums is definitely a must-see destination for locals and visitors. See the Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History, view the original flag that inspired our country’s national anthem at the National Museum of American History or admire an in-depth collection of modern art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Other must-see museums in the Smithsonian collection include the American Indian Museum, Air and Space Museum, African Art Museum and the Portrait Gallery.

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National Building Museum
401 F St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 272-2448

To learn more about what makes building structures, like museums, so unique, pay a visit to the National Building Museum. This family-friendly museum features a variety of interactive exhibits, including the Building Zone where kids get a hands-on introduction to the art of making buildings and House & Home, where visitors learn more about materials used in housing construction as well as the wide variety of homes developed around the country. The National Building Museum also offers summer camps, a book of the month program and daily activities.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.