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

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.