If your friends are jetting off to study abroad in exotic locations, or if you just returned from your own trip around the world, you may not be excited to be back in Foggy Bottom. Instead of getting jealous or booking a one-way trip back to your study abroad destination, here’s a list of nearby spaces that will remind you of far away places.
It’s no St. Peter’s Basilica, but this Roman Catholic church, shrine, gardens and catacombs in Northeast will transport you to Italy. You can visit the gardens at the church on your own time, but you’ll have to join a guided tour to see one of D.C.’s best kept secrets – the catacombs. While not as large or impressive as catacombs in Rome, the winding, narrow corridors at the Franciscan Monastery of Holy Land in America hosts sculptures and replicas of holy sites in early Christianity, including remains of two saints and relics that are nearly 2,000 years old. With Roman history right in the District’s backyard, you won’t need a ticket to Italy.
Franciscan Monastery of Holy Land in America. 1400 Quincy St. NE. Free tours; donations appreciated.
You don’t have to travel all the way to Paris to sip coffee in a cozy French cafe. Georgetown’s Café Bonaparte will take you there. The restaurant’s decorative outdoor tables and chairs give off a European vibe, and inside, its window-side tables are perfect for the Parisian’s favorite pastime – people-watching. Intimate seating and quaint decorations will heighten your authentic experience as you browse the cafe menu of omelets, croissants, sandwiches and savory crepes. Also serving brunch, cocktails, wine and beer, this quaint bistro will have you saying “oui, s’il vous plaît.”
Café Bonaparte. 1522 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Experience an underground art scene similar to London’s Banksy exhibits less than a mile from the White House. The Dupont Underground is a repurposed subterranean trolley station that was transformed from a public work to a public space, providing a creative outlet for artists and audiences alike. Originally opened in 1949 as a streetcar station, the underground tunnels and platforms were closed off in 1962 when the streetcar system shut down. Now they offer a cultural space that reflects diversity in the community of both art and artists, showcasing projects that may not fit into conventional art spaces in the District. Dupont Underground has an open call for regional video artists, so you can enter your solo or group exhibition for a chance to be featured.
The Dupont Underground. 19 Dupont Circle NW. History and Gallery tour, $16.
Oz Restaurant and Bar brands itself as the District area’s first authentic Australian restaurant, but its American flair ensures that you don’t have venture too far into the outback. If you’re feeling daring, impress your friends by ordering from the “Exotic Menu,” a separate menu from the lunch, brunch and dinner menus. It features a natural Australian camel burger, a berry marinated kangaroo skewer and teriyaki and honey marinated emu wraps. Oz’s relaxed atmosphere, modeled after an Australian home with an enclosed porch, rustic earth tones and painted wispy clouds on the light blue ceiling, make it feel like you’re dining under the Australian sky.
Oz Restaurant and Bar. 2950 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, Va.
For a taste trip to South America, head over to Nazca Mochica to experience authentic Peruvian cuisine. Choose from various ceviches, a traditional Peruvian raw seafood dish, like the ceviche mixto or the lime marinated ceviche clasico. The experience will bring you to the streets of Lima, where the dish is often sold by vendors. The dimly lit, minimalist interior with wooden accents adds to the space’s South American feel. Sip on a pisco cocktail, made with the Peruvian brandy, and be grateful you don’t need to catch a long flight to experience a taste of Peru.
Nazca Mochica. 1633 P St. NW