Embassy Row

International DC on display

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Technically, the phrase “Embassy Row” refers to the length of Massachusetts Avenue that extends northwest of Dupont Circle as far as the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. Along this two-mile stretch avenue lie the diplomatic outposts of about 50 foreign countries.

Many embassies reside in gorgeous mansions built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by wealthy doyennes and millionnaire entrepreneurs. A stroll up the steady incline of Mass. Ave. takes you past many such notable structures, like the Beaux Arts model at 2020, for instance. Once the family home for mining millionnaire Thomas Walsh, the 4-story, 60-room palace built in 1901-1903 now belongs to the Indonesian Embassy.

Be on the lookout, too, for interesting statues, like Gandhi’s, across from India’s Embassy; the Islamic Center; and the peaceful Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden.

Embassies lie in other parts of Dupont Circle, …..and for that matter, in other parts of the city. A super source for exploring Embassy Row and embassies placed elsewhere is the Electronic Embassy, which includes a listing of diplomatic addresses for all 180 or more foreign countries with whom the U.S. has diplomatic relations, and a pretty good guided tour, with detours to embassies that lie off of Mass Ave.

Embassies are generally not open to the public for walk-in visits, but public tours of about 75 participating embassies do take place two Saturdays in May every year, thanks to Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC program. It’s also possible to attend classical music concerts hosted by individual embassies and staged at the embassy or ambassador’s residence as part of the Embassy Series; tickets are pricey, but usually include a buffet and drinks.

Finally, a number of embassies regularly offer art shows and cultural events that promote their own countries, and welcome the public to attend; you can access the individual websites of those embassies you are most interested in, or you can check out the events calendars posted on the websites of Diplomatic Connections and DC Embassy Events.

Metro: Dupont Circle on the Red Line. Either exit.

At A Glance

Embassy Row
Washington 20008


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