Embassy Row

It All Started in the Gilded Age

Washington’s Massachusetts Avenue, better known as Embassy Row, is now home to a multitude of ambassador’s residences, chanceries, and other edifices that serve D.C.’s diplomatic community.

It was another set of transplants, however, who established the area as the “it” neighborhood of Gilded Age D.C.: the nouveau-riche. We’ll introduce you to the families who decided to showcase their novel fortunes in the nation’s capital: members of the first ranks of mining, railroads, banking, publishing, politicians, and speculators in the 1880s and 90s.

Spendthrift offspring, the Great Depression, and other misfortune eventually drained the resources of many families. Only 50 years later, embassies, clubs, and other institutions were buying up their mansions for as little as 10 cents on a dollar.

From Noveau-Riche to Diplomats

Track the evolution of the neighborhood as you learn about:

  • Beaux-Arts architecture, the area’s dominant style;
  • Luxury micro-apartments carved out of the former home of a countess-turned-newspaper-editor;
  • The high life of the last private owner of the Hope Diamond, Evalyn Walsh McLean, and her spirited (and controversial) chum, Alice Roosevelt Longworth;
  • The country’s oldest patriotic organization (and home to one of the first diplomats to live on Massachusetts Ave);
  • A traffic circle that serves as a virtual time capsule, showcasing preserved turn-of-the-century buildings;
  • The benefits—and challenges—of having embassies as neighbors.

Led by CherylChristina, MarkMartinMary Anne, or Meg.


"We are visitors to the city and learned a great deal about a beautiful and historic section of town, but I suspect even long-time residents would enjoy this tour. Highly recommend."- TripAdvisor reviewer


What embassies are on Embassy Row?  Of the more than 175 embassies in Washington, D.C., a majority are found along Massachusetts Avenue and its adjacent Kalorama neighborhood.  The segment of Massachusetts Avenue known as Embassy Row starts at Scott Circle and extends all the way to Wisconsin Avenue, NW.--from the Embassy of Australia all the way northwest to the Embassy of Great Britain!


People who liked this D.C. walking tour also liked: Georgetown and Kalorama


Stay tuned for 2022 public tour dates.


Also available for private and group tour bookings. Please email info@washingtonwalks.com for more information.

Approximately 2 hours
Reservations REQUIRED and limited to fifteen (15) participants on public tours.

$25 per person for public tours. 

Please email us for a private or group tour quote.

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Embarks from outside the Dupont Circle Metrorail station (Dupont South exit--by the entrance to Krispy Kreme on 19th Street, NW)
Questions? Answers here.