Quick links for activities galore around the area:
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Indoor Outings
* Pick-Your-Own Ops
* Bike Rides
* On the Water
* Swim Spots
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids
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.
Celebrate Alma Thomas
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 1-5pm
Join the National Gallery of Art for an on-site community celebration honoring pioneering artist Alma Thomas — their first big (Covid-safe!) event since reopening. Enjoy art experiences and activities, plus extra goodies like giveaways and discounts. NGA community events have always been fun and interesting for all ages, and this one is sure to be, too!
Art All Night – Capitol Hill
Where: Various Locations | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday – Saturday
Celebrates the visual and performing arts around one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods! Public and private spaces along the Eastern Market Main Street corridor and the Hill will transform into pop-up galleries and performance venues for an evening of art in its many forms. Check out exhibits and demos, groove at a silent disco, enjoy live performances, and more! See the website for the full schedule. (Note: You can find info about Art All Night in more DC neighborhood here.)
Life of a Neuron
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $24/adult, $17/age 4-15, free/under 4
Art meets science in this new exhibit at ARTECHOUSE, taking us on an artistic journey inside the brain. Trippy, captivating scenes swirl around the walls and floors, and side galleries have some interactive elements. Read more about it in this just-posted review.
Art Open House
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 4:30-8pm
The Hirshhorn will be open late to celebrate the opening day of their sprawling new exhibition. Laurie Anderson: The Weather is a sensory adventure created by Grammy-winning multimedia artist Laurie Anderson. Succumb to the power of Salute, a hallway of red flags that wave ominously in unison. Immerse in Four Talks, an environment hand-painted by Anderson with four sculptures, including a robotic talking parrot and a shaking shelf. And there’s much more! Masks required.
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.
Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Row, row, row your boat or kayak or canoe! Paddle season is still flowing on, and weather this weekend will be perfect to enjoy some time out on the water . Boating in DC has several locations in the District and a few NoVa Parks offer it, too. This post about places to go with the flow has more details.
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
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!
Grand Reopening Family Festival
Where: MLK Library | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library reopened its doors last September, but for obvi reasons they had to wait to celebrate it. They finally can, and all are welcome to an all-ages Grand Reopening Family Festival. The outdoor event will be full of fun activities, exciting performances by artists like go-go band Bela Dona, games for children, opportunities to connect with organizations from around the District, the 2nd Annual Know Your Power Teen Arts Festival, great author talks and interviews, food trucks and more! See the website for the day’s schedule and more specifics.
Where: Leesburg Executive Airport
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
The 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.
DC Bike Ride
Where: Throughout Washington, DC
When: Saturday, 8am – 12:30pm
Admission: $77/adult, $38.50/age 8-17, free/7 & under
The celebration of biking in DC is back! The closed-roads, car-free, 20-mile bike ride through the District gives bicyclists ages 3 and up the opportunity to pedal past some of the capital’s most iconic sites with the city’s two-wheelin’ community. End up at a Finish Festival by the U.S. Capitol with beats, eats, and fun activities for all ages. BYO ride or rent bikes on-site for only $12, thanks to a partnership with Unlimited Biking — they can pick-up and drop-off their bike at the event finish line for a seamless experience, and youth pricing is available for young riders.
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Peirce Mill is open again and hosting milling demonstrations on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month through October. Stop in to see the corn grinding demos, and while you’re there, explore more on a Family Scavenger Hunt! It’s also a great place to begin a Rock Creek Park hike. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.
UpCycled Craft Fair
Where: UpCycle CRC | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Join UpCycle Creative Reuse Center for its first ever UpCycled Craft Fair and Pop-Up Shop! Featuring over 20 local crafters and artisans, as well as a unique selection of items from the UpCycle shop (5380 Eisenhower Ave. Suite A).
Savor the Bay
Where: Sandy Point State Park | Annapolis, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $15, free/12 & under
How about a day filled with delicious seafood, live entertainment, kids activities, food demos and competitions, loads of shopping options, vendors, exhibits, contests? You can enjoy all that and more at the 55th annual Maryland Seafood Festival. Even better, it all takes place on the beautiful shores of the Chesapeake Bay. (Note that crabs cost extra — $35/half dozen)
Free Theatre in the Park
Where: Central Place Plaza | Rosslyn, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Join Synetic Theatre for a free pop-up performance of their family theater classic The Miraculous Magical Balloon — this week it will be performed as pat of Rosslyn Reads! Expressed through body and facial masks, pantomime illusions, and dazzling choreography, it tells a story of a traveling actor and his magical trunk, full of toys, tricks, and surprises. This show is beloved by audiences of all ages.
Where: 800 block of Upshur St. NW | Petworth, DC
This free neighborhood festival is organized by and for the residents of Petworth, but all are welcome to enjoy. Celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods, festivities include Petworth history storytelling, live music and performers, kids activities, tasty food, and a dog show. View the schedule here.
Family Movie Night: Sing
Where: The Lane | Ivy City, DC
When: Saturday, 6-9pm
Admission: $20/child, free for adults & members
Join The Lane for a special screening of Sing on Saturday evening. Hosted on the expansive roof deck, Family Movie Night includes unlimited popcorn (and popcorn clean-up), and is free for members. Snacks and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase from the social club’s café, and blankets will be provided for families. Slots must be booked here. the cost for non-members is $20 per kid, adults are free
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: Tickets start at $28
DC United is home this weekend with a match against FC Cincinnati on Saturday. Parking can be tricky, so consider taking public transportation. Idea: Take Metro to the Navy Yard and have a pre-game bite to eat then it’s an easy walk to the stadium. El Bebe, The Salt Line, and All Purpose are very convenient and my top recs for family-friendly spots to eat there.
Art All Night – Shaw
Where: Shaw neighborhood, DC
When: Saturday-Sunday, 7pm – 3am
The Shaw neighborhood is celebrating it’s 10 Year Anniversary of bringing Art All Night to DC. Back and in-person, “Welcome Back!!” is the theme, and there will be DIY arts & crafts, paint parties, musical performances, and art installations, including live mural painting and Shaw’s annual Art Market. (Note: You can find info about Art All Night in more DC neighborhood here.)
Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in 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 50th 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: Central Place Plaza |Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Score some great reads at this all-day book sale features over 10,000 gently used books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records between $2 and $6. There will also be live music, a performance by Synetic Theater, an onsite bar hosted by Open Road, coupons to Assembly (Rosslyn’s new gourmet food hall), and a craft station (courtesy the of Arlington Public Libraries Book Truck).
Final Carousel Celebration
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free (unlimited carousel rides $5)
It’s your last chance to join the months-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Glen Echo Park‘s historic Dentzel carousel. Along with spins on the carousel, there will be hands-on arts & crafts for kids, performances, and more fun. It’ll all take place safely outdoors and in the open-air pavilions.
Final Weekend for Fashion + FUN
Where: Georgetown Park | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday, 5-9pm | Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 9pm
Admission: $28/adult, $19/age 4-15
Just a few days left to go “Inside the Wardrobe” at this art installation/fashion funhouse in Georgetown. The 20,000 square foot space contains more than 20 exhibits/spaces, all them wildly creative, fashion-inspired, interactive, even kind of trippy. You can try on paper doll cutouts, play with size in a fun house, get a close look at beautiful handiwork, take pics in whimsical and delightful settings, strut the catwalk, and much more. Read more about it and see some snaps from a visit there in this KFDC post!
Kick it with Spirit
Where: Segra Field | Leesburg, VA
When: Sunday, 5pm
Admission: Tickets start at $25
The Washington Spirit, our womens pro soccer team, is playing Kansas City on Sunday. Not that this match will take place at Segra Field in Leesburg. And the Spirit are doing a Food Drive to support the Capital Area Food Bank: Fans who donate four non-perishable food items will receive two free tickets for the Spirit vs. Racing Louisville FC match on October 9 at Audi Field!
Cantaré — MUCHA MÚSICA: A Musical Journey to Latin America
Where: Online | Wheaton Family Theatre Series
When: Saturday, 11am & Sunday, 2pm
The Wheaton Family Theatre Series is back! Cantaré, Latin American Music introduces audiences to the beautiful songs and rhythms of Latin America in an exciting interactive performance. Drawing from the musical heritage of the Caribbean, Central and South America, Cantaré performs songs in Spanish and Portuguese, while sharing the music’s cultural and historical background. Great for all ages!
Dear Evan Hansen
Where: Movie theaters around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater
The movie version of the Broadway musical opens this weekend. It hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but I loved the stage production so much, I still plan on watching the film and wanted to include it here. The show first debuted at Arena Stage six years ago, and seeing it was one of the most moving musical theatre experiences I’ve had. It’s rated PG-13, and you can read my review of the musical for a little more insight.
***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Plan for ways to enjoy autumn in the DC area (that are not farm festivals), with these 10 ideas.
* Are you looking for a day care or early childhood education option? KinderCare has several centers around the DC area, including a recently reopened Watergate Campus.
* You can donate a book for a child in foster care through East City Bookshop’s Family & Youth Initiative Book Drive.
* Because I love everything Ted Lasso (and because it’s really good and thought provoking), this piece from WaPo’s On Parenting blog about teens watching the show is a great read. (My teen watches it!)
* Think these might be my go-to comfy winter shoes.
* Hehe, this made me giggle.