Next date: May 6, 2023 10:00 am
If you’re familiar with the 6 Secret Cities of the DMV, you already know that our nation’s capital is a collection of several world villages.
Nowhere is this more evident than Passport DC’s World Embassy Tour, the greatest block party of the year in our city. Music, dances, traditional food and cocktails abound amid the diplomatic residences and office buildings of Washington’s Embassy Row.
How do I get to the Embassies?
Described by some as DC’s Epcot Center, only bigger, our nation’s diplomatic core extends from DuPont Circle to National Cathedral, with some embassies sprawling deep into Tenleytown. The distributed nature of the party — paired with the massive crowds it draws — can make it hard to attend without some advanced planning. My advice is to avoid an overly ambitious agenda. Even if you pick some of the less popular embassies with no lines, you’re not going to hit more than five embassies in a day.
Tips for riding Metro to the World Embassy Tour
If you want to get within walking distance of the most events, take the red line to Dupont Circle. But be warned, you won’t be the only one with this idea. The lines outside the Embassies nearest Dupont Circle are horrendous. Consider, instead, the Van Ness station (also red line), which is walking distance from Ghana, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Singapore on week 1 and Austria andSlovakia on week 2.
Where are the best places to park near the Embassies?
The streets around DuPont Circle become parking lots after 9am and you won’t be able to leave your car anywhere. Your best bet is to arrive early or check out one of the maps below to find a cluster outside Embassy Row.
Embassy Row: In 2018 we parked on the street just blocks away from the dancing, music and mini-bazaar at the Embassy of Afghanistan. Although they’re no longer participating — the Taliban are not a festive bunch — the streets around the Afghan Embassy have more ample parking and are walking distance to the rest of Embassy Row.
International Court: In 2022, we parked close to Pakistan, Libya, Gambia and Uganda. There’s plenty of parking on International Court on the Egyptian Embassy side just after you turn off Van Ness. For week 1, this will put you right next to Pakistan and a few blocks from the tailgate party for Libya, Gambia and Uganda at UDC. For the EU world tour, you’ll be right next to Austria and Slovakia.
German Ambassador’s Residence: On even years, France and Germany come together at the extensive grounds of the house of the German Ambassador to co-host a huge outdoor party, complete with music, wine and a biergarten. There is ample street parking around the residence. In 2022, we parked on the corner of Charleston Terrace and Kenmore, just off Reservoir road and beat the crowds (though Philippe Étienne and Emily Haber did shoo us off a park bench for a photo op). Avoid this spot on odd years, though, as France will host Germany on those years and there are no other options within walking distance.
Map of the Embassy World Tour (week 1)
Although you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants near most of the embassies on the map below, most participating embassies offer traditional dishes from their country for free. Some even offer librations such as a rum tasting or a favorite mixed drink. So pick an embassy and stay for the day. You’ll find all you need.
Map of EU Open House Embassies (week 2)
On Week 2, the Saturday after the May 9 anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, European embassies open their doors and offer music, performances, free screenings of foreign films, and food food food. As with the World Embassies, the EU Open House is spread out over a large area, with two major clusters: Embassy Row (Mass Ave between DuPont Circle and Rock Creek Park) and Connecticut Avenue around Cleveland Park and Van Ness. Click on the map below to see EU Open House event locations:
Week 3: Asia Street Festival
On the Saturday immediately following the EU Open House, you’ll find a street fair along Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Third & Sixth Streets, starting at 11am. Performances and a shopping bazaar will keep you entertained, and in this far more concentrated and easy to navigate venue.