Hidden inside Washington's embassies: A world of fun
Travelling the world is exciting on its own, but some cities offer additional opportunities to discover a variety of cultures besides the most prominent ones that exist. It is not something new telling that the US is an extremely diverse country. With that said, it makes sense that many Washington DC embassies are stepping up their game and offering lots of events to people who are interested in learning more about their culture. Exhibitions, cooking classes, concerts, and way more - there is a whole world of very exciting happenings that often take place with no entry fee.
Are you wondering what do embassies in Washington? You might as well use these opportunities and visit whenever you are in Washington DC and looking for some enriching experiences. With this article, I will give a few ideas about events if you are interested in a particular culture. I dearly suggest doing your research and seeing if your choice will have something for you if an embassy of your choice.
Art Gallery in the Embassy of Canada
This embassy is located in a building that looks spectacular both from the outside and inside. Every few months, they change the exposition. The themes range from authentic arts from Inuit artists to Canadian women artists and photography collections from well-known pop stars like Bryan Adams.
The exhibition is open to the public free of charge from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
Mexican Cultural Institute
Housed in the historical building of the Embassy of Mexico, this institution offers a program rich in anything Mexican. The calendar is busy with exciting concerts, movie screenings, seminars, discussions with Mexican artists, etc. Their website says all of the events are free of charge and open to the public!
Embassy of Haiti
The building of this small and welcoming Embassy of Haiti is extremely beautiful and offers free tours of their exquisite art collection. It is definitely worth visiting, especially because the ambassador himself often leads the tours. To support the businesses of Haitians, the embassy often also hosts small markets where you will be able to buy authentic crafts. Meanwhile, you might as well try to get into one of their cooking classes. Each time a celebrity Haitian chef hosts them, they will teach you to cook three signature dishes. These classes are quite hard to get into; therefore make sure to do your research and apply well before!
Guided tours are available Monday through Friday from 10:00 am – 4:30 pm.
Embassy of Argentina
It is not very surprising that the Embassy of Argentina is the one to offer free tango concerts and also a regular film series. What's even better, true tango fans can join in on the DC Tango Festival each spring to participate in milongas (tango dance parties). Don't worry if you are not great at this passionate dance - the embassy also offers some dancing classes so everyone can be prepared by the time the festival starts! And that's not all. They have several galleries which host different free exhibitions too. Sounds great, doesn't it? Now, during COVID-19 restrictions, they offer a row of useful Argentinian online resources to experience events from the comfort of your home.
Korean Cultural Center
Yet another establishment that will entertain any visitor dropping by! Besides the regular Korean movie nights and a changing exhibition in their gallery, they offer something truly exciting and very recognizably Korean. K-Pop! The annual festival, singing and dancing classes, and other smaller competitions for anyone interested in this style of music.
NB! Currently, some of the events have been brought online, so you can participate even from another country!
Japan Information and Culture Center
This culture center aims to bring Japanese culture closer to anyone interested and surely achieve it successfully through their varied events. Free film screenings, exhibition space as well as annual events connected to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. What's especially interesting is that you can apply for a virtual learning program to receive a bunch of materials to learn about Japan more thoroughly!
Embassy of Sweden
Even with the concept of their event series in their embassy, Swedes are yet again thoughtfully on top of their game! They host the widest range of events from fashion shows, free movie nights and lectures, Scandinavian popular music concerts, and Eurovision parties. What's even better is their appeal to creating a wider discussion on important societal issues through panel discussions and lectures of Nobel Prize laureates and activists. They also consider kids' engagement important too. Therefore each weekend, they open a room with toys and activities just for kids! Exciting indeed!
Goethe-Institut for Germany
They are often associated with German classes (the choice is super extensive by the way) and hosting conversation groups. However, in Washington DC, they also offer jazz performances every Thursday around lunchtime, a book club to discuss contemporary German authors in English, annual Oktoberfest parties, and German Cinema 101 series. Most events are free, but movies will cost $5 each.
Embassy of Austria
Austrian Cultural Forum organizes multiple events in the auditorium located inside of this embassy. It is mostly known for classical music concerts, it also offers bilingual poetry slams, hip hop festival, and silent films accompanied by live piano music. What a treat to your senses!
La Maison Francaise - event space of the Embassy of France
Located in Georgetown, this is nothing short of love for beautiful moments in life that is so typical to the French people. It is well known for its free French film screenings and offers concerts, various culinary events like wine tastings, and other extremely fun activities. Some years ago, they hosted a super fun World Cup viewing party that ended in celebrating with a lot of champagne! If you like good food, you would also enjoy having lunch at Le Cafe Descartes, a cafeteria and restaurant inside this embassy. It is open for anyone who fills a form on their website and will treat the taste buds with classic and quality flavours at no more than 26 USD per dish (35 USD for a three-course "menu of the day"). A chance to dine the French way in Washington DC, but at super great prices? Two rabbits with one shot!
Former residence of the ambassadors of Spain
This modern cultural center is bringing the best of contemporary art of Spain to the attention of all the visitors in their beautiful residency in Washington DC. A constant stream of exhibitions, films, dance performances, and concerts fills the beautiful space and entertains everyone interested in finding out more about Spain and the current and up and coming bits of the exciting art scene. They host discussions about Hispanic heritage and the connected themes, making it more relevant to everyone who identifies as Hispanic.
Do you see? It is a whole lot of fun and diversity to experience in Washington DC! And the best thing is - the list is not conclusive. And I will give you a hint - also many other embassies in the rest of the world host and support various events relating to their cultural values. If you are curious, just check the list, and who knows, you might even find events in your own country!
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.