One thing that I like to do when visiting other countries is schedule a few visits to local startups to see how they work, how they are technically organised etc. A good place to look for that is twitter and the second one of course is Meetup
How do I do it? like this:
Last April, I was at Manhattan and visited GILT along with the meetup The New Enterprise: Migrating big systems to Scala, RabbitMq and AWS, since it was schedule for the day before I leave, I decided to give it a try.
GILT is amazing, the Manhattan office is gorgeous with big and clear spaces and full of cool people. Lauri welcomed me along with two engineers Matt and Giancarlo and then we discussed about api design, architecture and culture. I had a great time with both guys and would recommend you to do the same and see how great that is. After the talk we had like 15min remaining for the visit and Laurie showed to me the whole block and introduced me for a couple more GILT employees.
A few days later I went to the meetup and to know more how GettyImages and How Michael Hamrah - @mhamrah solved problems there. It was really incredible to see the presentation, interact with other startup and cool tech companies engineers and of course have Pizza for free :)
Tumblr office was crowded and you can see both Michael and Mike Brittain (from Etsy) at the end (right under the exit sign) before the presentation.
After the presentation Michael answered a few questions and we discussed about why choosing rabbitmq over activemq, how the event sourcing played well with Akka and how failure was handled on the overall architecture.
I had great time attending to the event and encourage you guys to do the same. If you're going off your city/country, try to attend a tech event or meetup and try to arrange this kind of visit to the companies located on your destiny.