Each May during Passport DC, embassies in Washington, D.C. host free open houses on consecutive Saturdays. In 2017, May 6 is “Around the World Embassy Tour” and May 13 is European Union Open House. The best embassies have cool exhibits, native food and drinks, and short lines for admission (see cheat sheet below).
The event is super popular and can get extremely crowded. Some strategic planning can reduce your time spent in lines:
Stay away from Massachusetts Ave. Massachusetts Ave is the epicenter of embassies. It might seem like you could visit more embassies that are close together, but really you end up waiting in super long lines.
Chart your path before you start. Check out the maps ahead of time and plan your route (Click here for European Union). The embassies are clustered and you can generally see several that are nearby each other while avoid Massachusetts Ave as much as possible. Also, use the cheat sheet with the best embassies listed.
Start early. The crowds get bigger as the day goes on.
If you can only pick one, choose Around the World. Both days are amazing, but the European Union day is busier with fewer embassies and more attendees.
Best embassies cheat sheet:
We have attended Passport DC for the past four years, but have not been to every embassy. These are notes about our favorites.
Around the World
Barbados: Party atmosphere. Cheap drinks. Short line.
Botswana: Dancers with fun music. Long line.
Costa Rica: Free beer. No line.
Gabon: Free food and beer. Fashion show. Helpful staff. No line.
Dominican Republic: Free beer. No line.
Japan: Technology displays, teriyaki, mochi. Worth the long line.
Qatar: Incredible food. Photo booth. No line, but crowded.
Saudi Arabia: Cool exhibits and free food. No line.
Belgium: Free chocolates. Inexpensive waffles. Long line.
Czech Republic: Cool ambassador residence. Short line.
Finland: Many free samples. Long line.
Germany/France: Co-hosts. Beer garden. Food samples. Meals for purchase. Large grounds. Short line.
Hungary: Vizsla dogs to play with. Short line.
Netherlands: Techno party with free Heineken and food. Long line.
United Kingdom: Tons of exhibits. Short line.
What are your favorite embassies? Which ones have we missed? Tell us in the comments!
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I am Sterling, one of the Two Fish Traveling. I grew up in Montana, worked in DC, and left to see the whole world.