Van Ness and the International Chancery Center

Best known as site of the University of the District of Columbia campus, a model of the concrete design popular in the 1970s, the Van Ness neighborhood also features a surprising amount of green space, from Soapstone Park to landscaping around the modern architecture that defines the Van Ness commercial corridor. The most distinctive structure must be the former Intelsat Headquarters, said to resemble “a flotilla of spacecraft.” Beyond is a hillside where the National Bureau of Standards laboratory complex once stood (you can still see the main entrance gate.) In the 1960s, the U.S. State Department, seeking to address the pressing real estate needs of foreign governments, redeveloped the land as the International Chancery Center, the largest collection of special-built embassy buildings in the city. Singapore, China, Kuwait, Nigeria and tiny Brunei Darussalam are countries whose embassies most successfully reflect the architectural character of their home countries. Van Ness is also where you’ll find “Sir Isaac Newton’s Tree,” one of the quirkiest sites in the city!


Led by Hayden


"Having lived in DC a long time, I was not sure there was anything of interest in Van Ness. Boy was I wrong! The tour was interesting, the guide was well informed and nice, and I had a good time and learned a lot. A strong recommendation." - Goldstar reviewer


Discover more great D.C. walking tour adventures: Embassy Row and Renewing Urban Renewal


Out of an abundance of caution in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Washington Walks will not be offering walking tours in 2020. 

Approximately 2 hours
Available for private and group tours only. Please contact us for more information.

Available for private and group tours only. Please contact us for a quote.

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Embarks from outside the Van Ness-UDC Metro station's Connecticut Avenue West exit
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