Are you ready to embark on a global adventure? We've got you covered - no passport, suitcase, or plane tickets necessary! In the heart of Fairfax County, you can embark on a diverse journey around the world without ever leaving the region. From savoring international cuisines to attending multicultural celebrations, our local businesses and attractions allow you to explore the world all in one place. Set your phasers on wanderlust and add these spots to your list - here's how to travel around the world in Fairfax County!

 

Through Delicious Food

Korean BBQ

Asia

If you like dining to be an adventure, go for the all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue in the towns that have the biggest selection in the region: Centreville and Annandale. Reservations are recommended during peak hours at So Korean BarbecueIron Age Korean Steak House, and Meat Project in Centreville. In Annandale, Honey Pig and Kogiya Korean BBQ have a cult following. While you can find Vietnamese Pho and Chá Gió throughout Fairfax County, some of the best are found in Falls Church, specifically at Eden Center, the largest Vietnamese commercial center on the East Coast. 

Herndon is a great spot to find a number of Indian restaurants, such as Kalpasi Indian Cuisine and Paradise Indian Cuisine, serving up savory curries and tandoori delights.

Plus, if you want a list of delicious sushi spots in #FXVA, look no further! 
 

The African Diaspora

Visit Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant in Herndon, where injera, flavorful stews, and communal dining create an authentic Ethiopian experience. Grab a taste of the islands at Caribbean Plate in Falls Church. Find comfort in delicious southern home cooking - from fried catfish to jambalaya pasta at Della J’s Delectables
 

Latin

With a broad selection of authentic Latin flavors, this region hosts different cuisines from North, South and Central American countries and beyond. Discover inventive twists on traditional Mexican cuisine at  Mama TigreLa Sandia, and Urbano. Enjoy Salvadorian delights at El Buen Sazon Restaurant and classic Peruvian dishes with a modern flair at Inca Social or the new Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar
 

Europe

L'Auberge Chez Francois

For a taste of France, visit the iconic L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls. Stepping into the restaurant’s main dining rooms, you are transported to Alsace, France through its old-world style atmosphere, stained glass windows, family heirlooms, and the warm hospitality of the well-trained wait staff. Chef Jacques Haeringer continues the family tradition that his father started in 1954 with contemporary cuisine marked by the diversity of traditional Alsatian cuisine and the infusion of homegrown crops from the restaurant’s on-site gardens. L'Auberge Chez Francois is continually ranked as one of the Top 100 restaurants in America by OpenTable.

Feeling lucky? Fairfax County is home to several authentic Irish pubs! Book yourself a seat at Ireland’s Four ProvincesNed Devine’sThe Old Brogue, or The Auld Shebeen. All of these restaurants have fantastic Irish fare, from fish and chips to beef stew. Or, jump over to their English neighbors at the award-winning Pure Pasty (pronounced past-ee) - a UK delicacy consisting of meat and veggies wrapped within a delicious pastry.

 

At Trendy Cafes

Le VigntPhoto courtesy Le Vingt Trois/Facebook

French-inspired cafe Le Vingt Trois Cafe (French for "The Twenty Three") is nestled into an unassuming office park in Herndon, but once you step inside, you will be charmed by the soft colors, warm decor, and the scents of fresh baked goods. Offering espresso drinks, lattes, sandwiches, and desserts, one visit won't be enough.

Head to small-town Vienna to visit Lily's Chocolate & Coffee - the self-proclaimed "first shop in the USA to serve Lokma," a beloved street food dessert that originated in Turkey, yet comes to Fairfax County from an Iraqi family who wanted to bring these sweet treats to the community. Made of small balls of fried dough, soaked in a sweet syrup, and sometimes topped with cinnamon or nuts, Lokma is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. (Find more interesting international desserts here.)

Nestled within The Boro in Tysons, a visit to Bluestone Lane offers an escape into the heart of Australian café culture right here in the USA. Promising the "finest flat whites in the world," they commit to using ethically sourced beans that are packaged with sustainability in mind.

 

Through Architectural Marvels

Reston Town Center

Find European-inspired architecture right here in Fairfax County at Reston Town Center. The bustling hub combines elements of the ideal downtown: the vitality of an Italian piazza and the diversity of a French boulevard. Fountain Square serves as a beautiful centerpiece for the open-air plaza. Famous names and specialty shops are plentiful, and year-round special events, a seasonal ice skating rink, and a multiplex theater add to the fun for visitors and residents alike.

Down the street, Lake Anne Plaza echoes with the same influences, though this time highlights some Brutalist architecture. Reston's founder, Robert E. Simon Jr., recalls in this Washingtonian interview, that he drew inspiration for the fountain from Lake Geneva, the conceptualization of the plazas from Portofino, and the high-rise design came from Tapiola, outside of Helsinki.
 

Eden Center - Falls Church - Obvfx - Shopping - Restaurants

At the Eden Center in Falls Church, you'll find architectural features that honor Vietnamese culture. At the entrance stands the elaborate “Lion Gate” arch, with curved edges swooping towards the sky and concrete lion statues standing guard on either side. The central Clock Tower, an exact replica of downtown Saigon, was erected as a reminder of the home away from home for the thousands of immigrants who settled in the Washington DC Metropolitan area after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Be sure to sample foods from the countless local restaurants, bubble tea shops, and more that make this plaza a center for cultural immersion. 

 

Through Unique Activities

Balian Springs - Alexandria - Spa - Wellness
Image courtesy Balian Springs


Relax

Spa World's massive Korean-style bathhouse features large bade pools, several poultice rooms, and saunas to indulge in. You can also make an appointment for their massages and body scrubs and pamper yourself with luxury. At Balian Springs, enjoy a 100,000-square-foot social wellness club that offers hydrotherapy pools, saunas, lounges, and spa treatments inspired by Bali, Indonesia.  


Shop

Head to Springfield Town Center to shop handmade clothes at Ethiopian Twice Boutique, which offers garments made by traditional weavers known as "shemanes." The shop specializes in Ethiopian clothes, which can be custom designed or altered, church pastor's apparel, and wedding dresses - alongside Ethiopian jewelry, arts, and crafts. 


Dance

TSR (The Salsa Room) Tysons is the perfect place to let loose and practice your salsa dance moves. This club has Bachata and Salsa classes throughout the year and has DJs mixing popular Latin party music every weekend.
 

Korean Bell Garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Reflect

Another way to find your Zen? Pay a visit to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ Korean Bell Garden – the only traditional public bell garden of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

 

By Attending Special Events

Native American Festival - Riverbend Park - Indian Festival - OBVFX - April GreerNative American Festival at Riverbend Park (each September)


Fairfax County offers a vibrant tapestry of multicultural special events throughout the year, allowing you to immerse yourself in a world of diverse traditions and celebrations. Here are a few to consider:

  • For a celebration of Korean-American friendship and culture, the annual KORUS Festival takes center stage, featuring live K-Pop performances, dance acts, international cuisine, a talent showcase, and more. 
     
  • The annual Asian Festival on Main in The City of Fairfax is a yearly extravaganza (in 2024: May 19) that celebrates the rich tapestry of Asian cultures. This event serves as a platform to showcase Asian heritage through food, captivating arts and crafts, educational insights, and captivating performances. 
     
  • For a dive into history and tradition, the Virginia Native American Festival at Riverbend Park every September gathers tribal members from across the Commonwealth. Visitors can see performances of the Rappahannock Native American Dancers and Drum group, explore tribal vendors, shop for traditional crafts, and view hands-on demonstrations, including the use of bows and arrows. 
     
  • The Reston Multicultural Festival, each September, is an annual celebration of Reston's vibrant diversity and community spirit, inviting people from all backgrounds to come together and experience the rich melting pot of cultures that make up this unique community. 
     
  • When winter descends upon Fairfax County, the Winter Lantern Festival enchants with a breathtaking display of over 1,000 Chinese lanterns. Each handmade masterpiece is inspired by Chinese myths, legends, and zodiac signs. 


For these annual events, dates are pending for the upcoming year. Be sure to keep an eye on our events calendar to stay in the know for when the dates are set.

 

Whether you're craving Latin flavors, European architecture, or anything in between - Fairfax County invites you to traverse the globe right here in our backyard. Which locations will you add to your global itinerary?