This post is part of the initiative “100 cities to home swap before you die” from

One of my favorite things about Washington, DC is its global nature. Yes, it is the capital of the U.S. of A., and you could easily spend a day or a week immersing yourself in Americana. But as a center of world power, nearly every country in the world has a presence in DC. The World Bank and International Monetary Foundation are based here. Embassies host cultural events. Every young person seems to have just come back from a year abroad or Peace Corps stint. There are influences from all over, and all of Washington benefits.

A perfect day for me in the city, then, would incorporate as many global influences as possible. We can start with an all-American breakfast in Capitol Hill. I’d choose the blueberry buckwheat pancakes at Eastern Market’s Market Lunch, where the orders are shouted and ready almost before you’ve made it through the line.

Visit the Freer and Sackler Galleries on the National Mall to view stunning collections of Asian art, then take the underground passage or cross the courtyard to the Museum of African Art.

Take a taxi up to the Hillwood Museum to view the fanciful collections of Russian art collected by Marjorie Merriweather Post, and marvel at the dacha she had built in her lush formal garden. Lunch at the Hillwood Cafe overlooking the gardens, or even better, wait for Sunday’s afternoon tea. You might wish you had your white gloves on.


Afterwards, take the Metro to Dupont Circle for a stroll down Embassy Row. This part of Massachusetts Avenue is home to more than 50 foreign embassies. See how many flags you can identify as you admire the stately mansions.

For dinner, we’ll head to Little Ethiopia, the neighborhood around 9th and U Streets NW, where a string of Ethiopian restaurants awaits you with stacks of spongy injera bread and piles of spicy simmered vegetables. Or let your taste buds take a trip to Thailand at Thai Crossing just a few blocks away. Whatever global cuisine you crave, you can likely find it somewhere in the city, or just outside in the multi-ethnic suburbs of Washington.


After dinner is when DC really gets its globe on. Washington is a transient city. People move here for a few years then move on, so Meetups and networking are a part of daily life. Check and you’ll find the DC Global Adventurers, the Avid World Travelers, and a plethora of language practice groups holding regular events. The International Club of Washington, DC lists many events on their home page chosen just for people interested in all things global.

Every day offers something different in DC, so you may need to stay a bit longer to really understand how special it is.