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Around the world tour of sorts: Embassy tours in DC this month

May 07, 2022
5 min read
embassy of sweden washington d.c.
Around the world tour of sorts: Embassy tours in DC this month
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There’s plenty to be said for booking an epic around-the-world trip, but if that’s not in the cards for this year, there’s a nice consolation closer to home this spring in our nation’s capital. Free tours are returning at dozens of embassies in Washington, D.C., on two Saturdays in May.

Aerial photo of the Washington Monument with the Capitol in the background. (Photo by Andy Dunaway/USAF via Getty Images)

After a two-year hiatus, the embassy tours begin this Saturday, May 7, as part of “Passport D.C.,” a monthlong celebration of the rich culture the city enjoys thanks to its vast diplomatic community. The event actually includes 31 days of programming but is largely highlighted by a long list of international embassies offering everything from tours to dancing, shopping and food, beer and wine tastings.

Even better: It’s all free.

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The embassy open houses begin May 7 with the “Around the World Embassy Tours,” which feature open houses at embassies for countries from Eastern Europe, Central America, South Asia and the Middle East, among other places.

Then, on Saturday, May 14, a long list of European Union countries will open the doors of their embassies as part of the “EU Open House.”

Embassy of Denmark. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark)

All of the events do not require tickets and, again, won’t cost you a dime. However, organizers suggest you bring a government-issued ID in case it’s needed to get into a particular embassy or, perhaps more likely, to sample certain beverages. Organizers also recommend bringing a mask.

Italy's embassy in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of the Italian Government)

Related: Hotel review: The Ven at Embassy Row

Having attended college at American University in northwest Washington, D.C. — close to Embassy Row, where many of the embassies are located — I often marveled at how you could be driving so close to home but see buildings with architecture and decor so unique to the home countries they represent.

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Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland)

I never did get the chance to visit any of these embassies, though, so I see this as a great opportunity to experience a taste of the culture of many countries without actually booking and paying for an international trip.

This could be a good weekend activity, whether you live in the D.C. area or on the East Coast and want to drive or take the train to the city for a weekend getaway.

While many of the embassies are within walking distance of one another, know that others are a bit more spread out in the city, so your best bet may be to take an Uber or Lyft or ride the Metro. Or, you can hop on a Lyft Scooter; rides to and from the embassies are $2 off on May 14, when the EU open houses are taking place.

Cameroon's embassy in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Cameroon)

The list of embassies participating in the “Around the World Embassy Tour” festivities on Saturday, May 7, is long, but here’s just a small taste of what you could experience:

  • Barbados is showing art, and doing food and drink tastings with a chef and mixologist, to go along with genealogy tracing.
  • Cameroon’s embassy will feature traditional music, drumming and dances. It’s also hosting tastings of food from Cameroon and showing a traditional dress display.
  • Thailand’s embassy has classical dancing and Thai boxing scheduled, along with a cooking demonstration and products for sale.
  • Peru will feature dancing from the Andean and Amazonian regions and have jewels and alpaca and cotton garments for sale from vendors.
  • Iraq is showing paintings and photographs, hosting Dabke dance performances and offering food samples.
Iraq's embassy in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq)

And here’s some of what caught my eye from the European Union embassy open houses taking place on May 14:

  • Belgium will have a "comic book tour" of the country and offer freshly baked waffles.
  • Croatia will serve wine from the Dalmatian Coast's slopes. It will also take visitors on a tour of sorts of "Game of Thrones" filming locations.
  • Czechia will feature live music from a 1930s-style jazz band to complement the Czech beer on hand ... and a dog show.
  • Portugal’s embassy will offer samples of the country’s famous custard tarts.

Related: White House tours are back

There are many more countries participating in both events, so check out the full lists of embassy options on the official event websites to pick out which venues you’d most like to visit.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Sweden Abroad)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

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  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
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  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
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  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.