DC is home over to over 175 embassies, and representatives from countries across the world live and work for their embassy right here in Washington, DC. There are a number of ways to experience the culture of these different countries via the embassies, so here are some ways in which you can explore the world without leaving the city!
A large concentration of embassies is present along Massachusetts Avenue NW between 18th and 35th streets, leading this area of the city to be called “Embassy Row”. Walking around these blocks, you can see some of the major embassies like Italy, Australia, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, and more. Visitors can also schedule tours of some of the embassies in advance, while another way to explore is to take a walking tour with Washington Walks, where you can get the history behind the buildings. Even if you are short for time, a walk around here will give you a glimpse into some of the beautiful architecture and mansions that house the embassies.
Passport DC and Embassy Chef’s Challenge
During the month of May, many embassies are open to the public as part the annual Passport DC series of events, which includes Open Houses, heritage festivals, and an Embassy Chef challenge. This highly anticipated month-long event brings locals and visitors to tour the embassies, experience the music, culture, fashion, and food of other countries. If visiting in DC during May, definitely take advantage of these events. Details are available on the Cultural Tourism website.
Many embassies also host events and cultural programs throughout the year. The Embassy Series hosts concerts (ticketed, usually) in partnership with the embassies, where visitors can see musical performances by visiting artists, usually followed by a reception in the embassy or at the ambassador’s residence. Keep track of upcoming events and purchase tickets here.
Additionally, many embassies have special events for days of significance. The French embassy has a Bastille Day celebration, the Swiss Embassy hosts raclette evenings, and such. Keep an eye on the individual embassy websites for these.
International Club of DC (ICDC)
The International Club of DC conducts many events in conjunction with the embassies, including cultural nights, dinner soirees, galas, and more. Keep an eye on their calendar to find events of interest – they usually have many events each month.