A continuing series about awesome social distance activities in DC to keep you entertained during the outbreak and inspired to keep daydreaming about your next adventure in the Nation's capital.
One of our favorite things about living in DC is exploring the food, music and events from the international communities that call the city home. Incredibly, there are 175 embassies and international organizations in the city!
Around this time of year, we’re usually eagerly awaiting Cultural Tourism’s annual European Union Open House programs like a kid at Christmas. As soon as the participating embassies are announced, we start reading up on the respective countries and plotting the best sequence of activities that would allow us to visit as many as possible. It’s a marathon event, not a sprint!
Of course, nothing is “usual” right now. But just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this global event. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s 70th-anniversary celebration has shifted online in an event called “Home With EU” from now until May 31. You can learn how to cook a traditional Danish open-faced fish sandwich, attend a Swedish circus, learn a contemporary Finnish dance and listen to a Croatian concert all in the same day and from home.
And if you’re dying of wanderlust, we’ve curated 16 additional ways to experience some of DC’s international flavor without stepping foot on a plane. So get for a journey around the world; no passport or TSA pre-check needed.
DC is home to the largest Ethiopian population outside of Africa. Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the city’s authentic Ethiopian menus and soak in some culture from your bed or couch. Check out Dukem on U Street (order on GrubHub) or Ethiopic for carry-out or free delivery.
2. National Museum of African Art
Check out the museum’s digital version of their latest exhibition Caravans of Gold and explore the fascinating story of the African medieval gold trade featuring selected objects.
3. Asian art
Experience the beauty of Asian art and from Tokyo to Istanbul with the Freer and Sackler museum’s, podcasts of live performances, digital art exhibits and embark on a variety of audio journeys through Freer|Sackler’s vast collections as artists, researchers, and special guests share insights and discoveries.
The 60-foot-tall, intricate Chinatown Archway is a signature of DC’s Chinatown neighborhood. It’s also a classic Instagram spot and overlooks one of the busiest intersections in the city, at 7th and H Streets NW. The Archway, which was constructed in 1982, features 7,000 tiles and 272 painted dragons and is filled with an array of colors.
Located near the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, DC’s best spot for viewing cherry blossoms, the Japanese Lantern is a remarkable stone statue that is lit during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. The famous Lantern was gifted by the governor of Tokyo in 1954, standing as a symbol of the friendship between Japan and America.
6. Museum of the Palestinian People
The Museum of the Palestinian People — which opened last summer — has a virtual museum tour that highlights their permanent collection, 3D experience of all exhibits and a preview of their new exhibit, Art of Palestinian Women, including stories from each of the Palestinian Women Artists themselves. You can follow their social media accounts for delicious Palestinian cuisine recipe every Thursday and weekly videos about different artifacts prepared by their docents.
The Austrian Embassy and Austrian Cultural Forum have curated a long list of movies, concerts, readings and performances that are available for you to enjoy during self-isolation; check their social media accounts for updates. If you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll get access to codes that give you access to their Digital Concert Hall where you’ll enjoy virtual performances by renowned Austrian and international artists.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy has partnered with Telescope to present French Streams, a weekly selection of the best of French cinema available online. It’s free to use with a database of 450,000 titles and one-click access to over 100 streaming services. Every week, French Streams rounds up 5 of the greatest French Films, carefully curated around a theme, and Telescope offers different options to watch them online.
You’ll need a Netflix account for this one, but you probably already have one right? Binge-worthy German TV series are having a moment. Let the Goethe Institut highlight all the best must-see “made in Germany” shows and where to watch them. You can also check out their free film library until June 30, and tap into modern German culture, art, lifestyle and literature.
The Italian Embassy in Washington and the Italian Consulates have joined together for the "Stay at Home and #cookitalian" campaign. The Facebook video series features Italian and Italian-American stars entertainment, culture and cuisine in the USA at home showcasing their favorite recipes. The simple recipes can be easily reproduced in your kitchen, using original Italian products readily available on the US market. All the dishes are paired with a classic Italian wine.
Enjoy Spanish culture at home, thanks to the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain. Their range of digital projects includes: “Un café con,” a new series of virtual talks with the Ambassador of Spain, Santiago Cabanas, and Spanish influencers living in the U.S. Spanish culture online, along with recommendations for Spanish movies, music, art and more. Also check out their selection of music from Espana with new beats added every week on Spotify; more playlists coming soon.
Catch up on events at the House of Sweden (located in Georgetown) with, a weekly selection of Swedish culture and virtual events in their #SwedenatHome newsletter.
On the music front, several Swedish and international artists are helping brighten up their fans' time at home by performing online concerts from their own homes. Little Dragon was scheduled for a US tour this spring and Washington DC at 9:30 club on April 15. Instead they created a live session from their studio in Gothenburg.
And on the classical side of things, enjoy live-streamed concerts with the Swedish Radio choir and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from Berwaldhallen in Stockholm - this spring they are for the first time ever performing without audiences.
Bring the taste of Cuba to your living room with sandwiches and croquetas from the Colada Shop with at-home delivery by Caviar.
14. El Salvador
Salvadorans are one of the largest immigrant groups in the nation’s capital, making the pupusa a signature DC food that can make any work-from-home breakfast, lunch or dinner special. A traditional pupusa is made of corn dough filled with melted cheese, pork, beans, salsa and a fermented cabbage mix similar to sauerkraut. La Casita Pupuseria brings DMV natives pupusas in Nationals Park, Northeast DC, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Germantown. If you’re feeling creative in the kitchen, try your hand at your own classic Salvadoran dish.
15. DC Language Immersion Project
DC Language Immersion Project, a non-profit that works to further linguistic and cultural competence in DC and beyond, lists free virtual language-learning resources for educators, parents and students of any age.
16. Immigrant Food restaurant
Immigrants, they get the job done! The Venezuelan chef of one of D.C.’s most celebrated new restaurants, Immigrant Food, collaborated with two foreign policy wonks on his latest venture, a fast-casual place a block away from the White House that aims to represent immigrant cultures with flavor combinations like Peruvian-Chinese, Swedish-Irish, and Ethiopian-Salvadoran. Food is available for delivery and takeout.
Curious? There's more!