It’s Fall, Y’all
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
Fall has officially begun! And while it may not feel like it weather-wise, events around the area are celebrating the season’s arrival. Fall festivals are in full swing at area farms, in local communities, even a 16th century village in Maryland, and they’re welcoming visitors for all kinds of fun. A few are listed here, and you can get details on the rest of them in the guide to autumn celebrations around the area.
Family Happy Hour Concert
Where: Big Bear Cafe | Bloomingdale, DC
When: Friday, 5:30-7:30pm
Join King Bullfrog for a ticketed concert for kid’s that conveniently takes place during happy hour. Family tickets include a buffet dinner for kiddos and 45-minute music show. King Bullfrog is a high-energy acoustic duo playing folk, blues, world, and original music for children and their grown-ups.
Where: National Parks everywhere
National parks are going fee-free to celebrate National Public Lands Day, so there’s no cost to visit those that usually charge admission. Take advantage and hit the trail at Shenandoah, Prince William Forest, Great Falls, Harpers Ferry, or head up to Baltimore to explore Fort McHenry. Find even more parks to visit here.
Capitol Hill Day
Where: Around Capitol Hill, DC
Join the Capitol Visitors Center, U.S. Botanic Garden, Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, National Postal Museum, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument for a celebration of the 226th anniversary of the laying of the U.S. Capitol cornerstone! Special activities for all ages will be hosted by all of the destinations — see the website for details.
Rock Creek Park Day
Where: 5200 Glover Road NW | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Happy Birthday, Rock Creek Park! Help celebrate Rock Creek Park’s Birthday & National Public Lands Day with speakers, volunteer activities (invasive plant management, plantings, trash cleanup, etc), information booths, ranger-led talks about recreational opportunities (hiking, biking, camping tips), fun facts about history in Rock Creek Park, and more! Event partners include: Rock Creek Conservancy, National Environmental Education Foundation, Toyota, Hispanic Access, Green Latinos, and more!
Thinking of You
Where: National Postal Museum | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
The National Postal Museum is participating in Capitol Hill Day as they celebrate Thinking of You Week. Join them to participate in activities that exercise your creative side while reaching out to the people important to you. Bring little visitors to Story Time at 10:30am and 11:30 am, customize a selection of free greeting cards, address envelopes in a new way during an artist-led activity, and make a child smile by sending a postcard to one staying at the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health.
¡Muévete! Hispanic Heritage Month Community Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Move on over to the Portrait Gallery for a festival of rhythms, dance, music and more in this bilingual celebration. Create art inspired by Latinx artists, learn to draw the human figure in motion, and move your body during performances and workshops with the Washington Ballet and the Discovery Theater.
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends through October 27
Admission: $12, free/2 & under
Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. An area favorite, kids love jumping in the hayloft, heading out on hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food cost extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!
Saturday Morning Family-Friendly Swing Dance
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $8, free/under 13
The whole family can get into the swing of dancing together! The music will be soft and the lights will be up, so moms and dads can get their swing on in a family-friendly setting. Children must be supervised by a guardian at all times. Adults do not have to be accompanied by a baby (but they must like babies!).
First Studio: Story + Workshop
Where: Kreeger Museum | Northwest DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am
Children ages 3-5 are invited to use their imaginations as they explore the paintings, sculpture, and architecture of The Kreeger Museum. Each First Studio includes a gallery tour, a story, and a hands-on art-making experience. Pre-registration is required — this program is limited to 10 children accompanied by a single adult companion.
Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce of 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, an animal petting zoo, food and art vendors, a beer garden, and tons of fun for kids. Enjoy entertainment all day as musicians, magicians, comedic performances, aerialists, stilt-walkers, and jugglers will keep the crowd amused.
Cooking Class for Kids
Where: Together We Cook | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm & Sunday, 4-6pm
Get the kids into the kitchen! Founded by a local mom of three, Together We Cook’s mission is to empower children to be confident in the kitchen, to inspire them to explore new flavors and make healthy choices, and to encourage families to cook and eat together. Two classes are being offered this weekend, and spots are still open in both: Lunchboxes and Snack for ages 10-12 on Saturday and Ravioli at Bon Vivant Cafe in Del Ray for ages 6-12 on Sunday. Visit the website to learn more and register!
Arts & Crafts & Storytime
Where: House of Sweden | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Bring children ages 3-10 to the House of Sweden for activities just for them! From 12-3pm, they can express themselves through art in special workshops — attendees are set up with everything they need to participate. (Note: This will also take place on October 12, November 2, and November 16). Then at 3pm, experience Swedish children’s literature (in English). And while you’re there, tour the photo exhibition ‘Swedish Dads,’ portraits 45 fathers who have chosen to stay at home with their children for at least six months.
Throwback Block Party
Where: Badlands | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $22.50/child, $5/adult
Get Ready! It’s the Badlands Throwback Block Party! Enjoy fun inside and outside for the whole family with memories and games you know from the 80’s and 90’s. Read more about the enormous play space in Rockville here.
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show
* Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In A Play!” brings kids’ favorite characters to life at Adventure Theatre
* It’s the final weekend for Cirque de Soleil: Volta under the Big Top at Tyson’s (find discounts)
* It’s opening weekend for The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Imagination Stage
* Reserve free tickets to see Christylez Bacon, Human Beatbox, this week’s Saturday Morning at he National performance
* InterAct Story Theatre’s Bobtail Bong Bong: A Monkey’s Tale is a world premiere interactive play for children
* The Royale just opened at Olney Theatre
* Broadway hit Cats is at the Kennedy Center (find discounts)
* See The 3 Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co.
* And Panda Monium is the featured Tiny Tots show there this weekend
* Make it a date night for Jitney at Arena Stage or The Tempest at Synetic Theatre
* Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre (read my review) and Escaped Alone at Signature Theatre are also KidFree suggestions
Peppa Pig’s Adventure
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: September 28, 12pm & 3:30pm
Tickets: $33+ (find discounts)
Peppa Pig Live! is coming with the all new action-packed live show featuring favorite characters as life size puppets and costume characters in her new live show, Peppa Pig’s Adventure! Join Peppa on an exciting camping trip to the woods with George and her school friends, including Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. With lunchboxes packed and Daddy Pig driving the bus, Peppa and friends are excited about their outdoor adventure, full of singing, dancing, games and surprises!
Meet the Orchestra: That String Thing
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Saturday, 10am & 11:30am
Meet a quintet of string-playing members of the symphony orchestra through this engaging, educational and intimate program for young people. Learn about the music they play and hear the beautiful sounds come to life. Then, join us for an instrument petting zoo to meet the musicians and see their instruments up close!
Where: Leesburg Executive Airport
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
The 10th annual Leesburg Airshow will take to the skies with thrilling aerobatic demonstrations, sky divers, and more! Witness a showcase of impressive aircraft, classic cars, and a variety of exhibitors on the tarmac, food vendors, flight schools, and aviation clubs among them.
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through December 1
Admission: $16/adult, $8/child
The newest art-meets-technology exhibition at ARETCHOUSE opens this weekend and it’s another cool, immersive experience that will appeal to all ages. You can engage with dance performances and play with augmented reality videos (and enjoy an AR cocktail if you go KidFree in the evening)! Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm.
I Like the Me I See! Book Release Party
Where: African American Museum & Cultural Center | North Brentwood, MD
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free, but RSVP
Award-winning performer and teaching artist Culture Queen brings her empowering, one-of-a-kind brand of affirmative entertainment to her first picture book, I Like the Me I See! In celebration, Culture Queen is hosting a Book Release Party for kids and families. The program will include a reading of I Like the Me I See! and a performance of the song upon on which the book is based. There will also be a celebratory cupcake toast, plus book and CD signings. RSVP here.
Family Night in the Park
Where: Colesville Presbyterian Church | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 5:30-8pm
Admission: $15, child age 2+, $5/adult & child under 2
Silver Spring Day School welcomes all to join the fun at a Family Night in the Park. The event will include dinner, dessert, moon bounces, face-painting, raffle prizes, and a show by The Great Zucchini, magician extraordinaire.
Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Downtown Historic Occoquan, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! For the 49th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from across the US. Find one-of-a-kind, hand crafted items galore! Located just 20 minutes south of Washington, DC, but far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, exhibitors and shoppers alike will enjoy the small town oasis nestled along the Occoquan River.
Where: Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 12th-14th St. | Downtown DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 7pm
You’ll be whirling like a dervish from all there is to enjoy at the Annual Turkish Festival on Sunday. Watch Turkish dance and stage performances, enjoy a Turkish coffee and tea and have and find out your destiny from the ever-popular Turkish fortune-tellers who read fortunes from coffee grinds, and sample Turkish cuisine from local restaurants. Shop an authentic Turkish bazaar with vendors showcasing everything from Turkish jewelry to clothing to home accessories. And a Kid’s Tent will provide an interactive introduction to Turkey with hands-on activities for children of all ages.
Family Day & Kids Concert
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 2-6pm
The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is marking its 8th birthday with a Family Day celebrating history while looking towards the future! They’ll have Civil War-era activities and figures, a team of coppersmiths and blacksmiths, horse-drawn wagon rides, Turley the Magician, face-painting, balloon animals, and a Winks Photo Booth for portraits and on the spot prints. And at 4pm, King Bullfrog will hit the stage with high-energy original, folk and blues songs carefully tailored to get children dancing and delight grownups.
Fall Fun Fest
Where: Armed Forces Retirement Home |
When: Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $10 suggested parking donation
Join the Friends of the Soldiers Home for their 6th Annual Fall Fun Fest at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. The free family-friendly event includes live music, arts & crafts, a petting zoo, bounce house, face and pumpkin painting, and many more activities for kids and adults. Food truck and stands will offer concessions for purchase.
Rocknoceros + Cider
Where: Capital Cider house | Petworth, DC
When: Sunday, 10:30-11:30am
Get ready to twist, shake, rattle, and role as Rocknoceros gets the family on their feet dancing to upbeat tunes. Coach Cotton, Williebob, and Boogie Woogie Bennie have been making award-winning music for the whole family since 2005. Bonus: All adult ticket holders will be able to enjoy the normal weekday happy hour – $4 pours of house cider, $5 craft beer, $6 local wine & $7 cocktails – from 10am-noon (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere)! Make it a brunch and show — the full food menu will be available, too.
DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure
Want even more options for fun things to do with the kids around the area? If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors
***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Plan for ways to enjoy autumn in the DC area (that are not farm festivals), with these 10 ideas.
* The Torpedo Factory’s annual Art Safari, offering all kinds of art adventures for all ages, is coming up on October 20!
* The Natural History Museum is hosting a Post-Halloween Smithsonian Sleepover on November 2.
* The Child & Family Network Center’s 2nd Annual Relay for Pre-K, a fundraiser supporting their mission to provide free pre-kindergarten to at-risk children in Alexandria, is next weekend.
* If you’re a fan of Alison Roman recipes, you’ll be excited about this, too.
* So, this was a highlight of my, like… life.