1. Spy Museum
The Spy Museum is high on the list of unique things to do in Washington, DC. Covering the history of spying over the many years of our country, this museum clues you in on many things that used to be Top Secret. Upon entering you will obtain a cover that you will carry through many of the exhibits in the museum. It is a great place to take children and is very family-friendly. There is even an entire exhibit entitled “Exquisitely Evil,” which covers fifty years of Bond Villains and just how close many of them came to crossing the lines of reality and make-believe. It is quite pricey as museums go, but worth it. The museum offers a $6 discount for military members and their families.
Ford’s Theatre museum access is free. However, because of the popularity, reserving tickets online for a timed entry — and paying the Ticketmaster processing fee — is highly recommended. But Ford’s Theatre also puts on live-action plays in the theater portion, and they offer 50 percent off tickets to the military for some of their performances.
For all the baseball fans out there, check out a Washington Nationals MLB game while you’re in town. You can receive a discount on select games and seatings. Pick up some food outside the gates or bring your own for an affordable couple or family outing.
The Newseum is located between the U.S. Capitol and the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. A must-see attraction in DC, it celebrates the freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs, and education. Spend a day there and get 15 percent off the adult rate on admission tickets.
A short jaunt from the heart of DC, you can find the coolest aquarium. With a full Black-Tip Reef mini environment and a dolphin show, the National Aquarium is something to check off the list when you come and visit the Nation’s Capitol. Military discount tickets can be purchased through their consignment ticket program, which means they can be purchased at one of the local base MWR offices (Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer, Bolling and Andrews AFB).
Another unique experience in the DC area is the Signature Theatre. They offer 25% off their full ticket price for veterans, military members and immediate family through the Blue Star Theatres program.
The Hard Rock Cafe restaurants have a long history of supporting the military, and here in the DC area you can get a 15% discount every day.
National Harbor, a national waterfront shopping and dining destination, thanks the troops for their service to our country with military discounts at participating shops, restaurants and kid-friendly attractions year round.
Bobby McKey’s in National Harbor offers a unique night of fun as two to four piano players in teams of two take requests and keep the crowd singing. They offer free cover charges for service members Monday to Friday (as well as spouses). You can also get 20% off your food and drink tab on Fridays.
The National Geographic Museum has a range of changing exhibitions, as well as a variety of events. Exhibitions have ranged from “Titanic: The Untold Story” and “Tomb of Christ” to “Sharks” and “The Greeks.” It’s great for all ages, and active duty service members can get a discount on admission.
Dozens of museums in Washington DC are free, but there are a few popular ones that are privately owned and charge admission fees. The following museums offer savings for members of the military.
- International Spy Museum – $6 discount
- National Crime and Punishment Museum – $2 discount
- Newseum – $3 discount
Here are some great places to save money.
- Washington Nationals Baseball – $3 discount
- Capital Wheel – $1.50 discount
- Washington Redskins – discount varies
- DC United – up 30 percent discount
- Ford’s Theatre – 50 percent discount on tickets to Ford’s Theatre performances
- Arena Stage – 20 percent discount
- Folger Shakespeare Theatre – 50 percent discount
- Wooly Mammoth Theatre – 10 percent discount
- Theatre J – $15 off
- Young Playrights Theatre – FREE tickets
- Studio Theatre – 20 percent discount
- Bobby McKey’s – FREE cover (standing room) on Friday Nights “Armed Forces Fridays”
Many hotels offer discounted rates to active and retired military personnel and their families. Below are details on some of the most well-known name brand hotels. If you can’t find the details, just call the hotel directly and ask.
Hilton Hotels – Save up to 15 percent off at Hilton Hotels, Hampton Inns & Suites, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, and Homewood Suites brands.
Marriott – The locally headquartered hotel chain has more than 3,800 locations that offer discounted room rates for military. Marriott operates hotels with more than a dozen brands, each categorized as luxury, lifestyle collection, signature, select service, extended stay, and destination entertainment properties. Learn more about Marriott Hotels and specific locations in Washington DC.
Kimpton Hotels – The European-style boutique hotels offer 10 percent off to veterans.
Starwood Hotels – Government rates are available for military personnel at Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, St. Regis, and W Hotels.
Choice Hotels – Choice Hotels offer guaranteed discounts at more than 2,700 participating properties including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotels.