‘A wonderful opportunity’: Dozens of embassies open their doors for Passport DC’s embassy walk

One of the great things about D.C. is its status as an international city, with people speaking a panoply of languages, eating various foods and listening to different kinds of music. And this weekend, people will have the chance to sample a lot of cultures in one day.

The 12th annual Passport DC will see 52 of D.C.’s 175 embassies, from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, open their doors to show off samples of their cultures and traditions in D.C. in the Around the World Embassy Walk on Saturday, May 4. Think of it as an embassy crawl. And admission is free, although attendees are encouraged to bring a government ID.

The event centers on “two deep, dense concentrations of embassies” — around Dupont Circle and near Van Ness Street, said Steven Shulman, the executive director of Cultural Tourism DC, which organizes the event.

Four embassies are participating for the first time this year — Myanmar, Guiana, India and Panama. Cameroon is showing off its recently restored embassy on Massachusetts Avenue.

“It’s a great chance to see, take in a lot of different pieces of history and culture in one go,” Shulman said. “We have a wonderful opportunity … to see the world through their eyes, and to see ourselves through their eyes. It’s a wonderful learning experience.”

He added, “If you want to look into what your predecessors might have done, lived, look like, visit an embassy that’s related to you.”

While Shulman predicted “thousands” of people lining up for embassy tours, he said the embassies will be ready with outdoor entertainment for people waiting in line.

And did we mention food? “Nearly every embassy has some kind of sampling going on,” Shulman said. “It depends upon what part of the world you’re interested in — what you want to eat.”

See the full list of embassies.

Entertainment at the 2018 Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Entertainment at the 2018 Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC) (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Belizean Ambassador Daniel Gutierez and his wife, Erin Ryan, greet visitors at last year's Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Belizean Ambassador Daniel Gutierez and his wife, Erin Ryan, greet visitors at last year’s Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC) (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Tea is served at the Moroccan Embasy during 2018's Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Tea is served at the Moroccan Embasy during 2018’s Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC) (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Henna painting at the Moroccan Embassy during the Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Henna painting at the Moroccan Embassy during the Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC) (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Visitors pose with a dancer in costume outside the Embassy of the Dominican Republic during the Embassy Tour in D.C. on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Visitors pose with a dancer in costume outside the Embassy of the Dominican Republic during the Embassy Tour in D.C. on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (WTOP/Dennis Foley) (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Chilean musicians perform classical music for Embassy Tour attendees on Saturday, May 7, 2016 in D.C. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Chilean musicians perform classical music for Embassy Tour attendees on Saturday, May 7, 2016 in D.C. (WTOP/Dennis Foley) (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
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Entertainment at the 2018 Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Belizean Ambassador Daniel Gutierez and his wife, Erin Ryan, greet visitors at last year's Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Tea is served at the Moroccan Embasy during 2018's Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Henna painting at the Moroccan Embassy during the Around the World Embassy Tour. (Courtesy Cultural Tourism DC)
Visitors pose with a dancer in costume outside the Embassy of the Dominican Republic during the Embassy Tour in D.C. on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Chilean musicians perform classical music for Embassy Tour attendees on Saturday, May 7, 2016 in D.C. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

If you can’t make it to the big event on Saturday, you’ll get another chance to check out some embassies on Saturday, May 11, as the European Union Open House will open 28 members nations’ embassies.

Whether you go to either event, or both, “I think there’s lots to learn,” Shulman said. “All we have to do is expose ourselves to it, visit an embassy or two, maybe more, and do our own comparison between countries and ourselves.”

The embassy walk is part of the monthlong Passport DC celebration, which includes an Asian street market, the flower festival at the National Cathedral (also this weekend) and more.

See the map of the walk, courtesy of Cultural Tourism DC:

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