With the leaves beginning to turn colors, seasonal celebrations in full swing, Halloween creeping up, and crisp, cool weather in the forecast, this weekend practically screams autumn. Immerse in it all at one of many events that embrace fall or just enjoy the season as a backdrop to another fun activity — you’ve got your pick of ’em. Happy Weekend!
Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members
The National Zoo’s annual not-so-spooky haunt is one of DC’s most popular Halloween events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, live entertainment, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Costumes encouraged!
Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm
See the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Fun for the whole family!
More Wicked Fun
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
This time of year is always a scream with loads of ways to get the Halloween party started early. From mini train rides through the woods to haunted tours to festivals inspired by the holiday, details on where the tricks and treats are happening can be found in this annual post.
Fall Fun on the Farm
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
Celebrate the season at one of many area festivals on the farm. From pumpkin patches and apple picking to corn mazes and hayrides to giant slides and jumping pillows, there are activities galore to help folks relish in the fun autumn brings. This post has details on many fall festivals happening around the region.
Where: DC REI, 201 M Street NE
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Join REI for 3-day Block Party to celebrate the Grand Opening of the DC Flagship store! Doors open Friday at 10am with some big band fanfare (hint, hint) and the party will continue all day. Saturday and Sunday they’ll expand the bash to a main stage with tons of live entertainment, Outdoor School classes, s’mores, screen printing, a climbing wall, beer gardens, and more. All three days the first 500 people in line receive a custom DC Camelbak bottle with a gift card, plus there will be free breakfast and coffee each morning. Everybody who attends all weekend can help REI decide how to split up $100,000 among 5 regionally focused outdoor non-profits.
National Trademark Expo
Where: U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
When: Friday, 10am – 5pm & Saturday, 10am – 4pm
This free, family-friendly event is designed to educate children, small business owners, and the general public about trademarks and their importance in the global marketplace. The Expo features children’s workshops, an kids’ area with arts & crafts and other hands-on activities, costumed characters, a scavenger hunt. Outside, a Ford Model T, UPS Truck, the The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, and Mr. Peanut Nutmobile will be on display. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is located at 600 Dulany Street in Alexandria.
East of the River Book Festival
Where: Rocketship – DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Readers of al ages can enjoy a literary event that highlights the work of self-published authors and small presses — the perfect place for diverse books. The day will be full of dramatic presentations from readers, storytellers, poets and word-artists. Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character or author, so get your costume ready (it is the week before Halloween)! Rocketship – DC is located at 2335 Raynolds Place, SE.
Under the Big Top Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
The circus is in town, right in the Kogod Courtyard! Smithsonian American Art Museum takes you under the Big Top for an afternoon of dazzling feats with performers from Acrobatic Conundrum (hope you’re not afraid of heights!), plus carnival games, bag of popcorns, circus animal-inspired mask making for guests.
Hirshhorn Fall Fest
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Gather with friends and family for a museum-wide festival celebrating the return of fall, DC’s rocking music scene, and Hirshhorn’s immersive new exhibition, Ragnar Kjartansson. Bands will play throughout the day, unique tours of the exhibit will be offered, and a bier garden will welcome the 21+ crowd.
Fall Harvest Family Days
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/kids 6-11, children 5 and under are free
Celebrate the autumn season at George Washington’s old digs! Watch as a replica of one of Washington’s boats launches into the Potomac River with a costumed crew. Enjoy autumn activities, including wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, 18th-century dancing demonstrations, a straw bale maze, farrier (blacksmithing), corn husk dolls demonstrations and early-American games and music. And Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half-price this weekend only!
Outdoor Movie Night
Where: Hemlock Overlook Regional Park
When: Friday, 7:30pm
Join Adventure Links for their October Halloween Movie Night series under the stars. Every Friday night in October they’ll be showing a Halloween movie on an outdoor movie screen — this week it’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Bring a blanket and enjoy a free movie! You can see their site, meet the staff, and even sign your kids up for summer camp.
Where: House of Sweden
When: Saturday, 12-4:30pm
House of Sweden welcomes the public to help them celebrate 10 years as the flagship of Sweden’s public diplomacy in the United States – it was in 2006 that they opened their doors as the flagship of Sweden’s public diplomacy in the United States . The festival will feature concerts, interactive family fun, Swedish food, artist talks, games and more. And it all takes place at the beautiful Georgetown Waterfront, where house of Sweden is located.
Where: Brookland Pint
When: Saturday, 9am
It’s breakfast designed with little ones in mind! This event features a free Pint Sized Breakfast for the kids, storytime with Barnes & Noble, an interactive performance by Only Make Believe, and Pint Sized Pumpkin Painting. Seating is first come, first serve. Your $5 ticket purchases your child’s Pint Sized Pumpkin; the rest of the morning’s activities are included with it. Limited quantity is available, so get yours pumpkin today!
Game on, Greater Washington
Where: FedEx Field
Admission: Free (but some activities are extra)
The American Diabetes Association is teaming up with the Washington Redskins for this one-of-a-kind festival featuring activities for the entire community, from rappelling and zip lining, to biking and fun runs, and everything in between. Including a ton of family and kid friendly events (kids’ zone with glitter tattoos, inflatable bounce and slide and so much more), the adventure-filled day is designed to raise funds for diabetes education, programs, research and advocacy. Registration fees vary depending on activity but the Kids’ Zone and entrance is free, and it’s an awesome opportunity to check out the Redskins stadium like never before, all while having fun for a good cause.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* This weekend is your last chance find Knuffle Bunny at Adventure Theatre
* Catch the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s fantastic production of Romeo & Juliet (recommended for older children or make it a date night)
* Reserve free tickets for Discovery Theater’s Fabluous Fairytales, this week’s Saturday at the National performance
* The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is on the Imagination Stage
* See (and smell?) Flowers Stink, a collaboration between the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Kennedy Center
* Hansel & Gretel are the new stars on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Imaginary Friends is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* The Olney Theatre presents The Diary of Anne Frank
* See the superbly acted The Little Foxes at Arena Stage (recommended for teens and up)
* Enjoy The Best Haunted House Ever, Encore Stage & Studio’s theatre by kids for kids
* Make it a date night to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Kennedy Center
* Ruthless, The Musical is running at Creative Cauldron
Last Call for Merriment
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under
It’s the final weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the annual faire that recalls medieval times with an English Tudor village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. I highly, highly recommend going if you haven’t been yet. And I recommend getting tickets online in advance — they sold out last weekend and had to turn folks away. Huzzah!
Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart
Where: EagleBank Arena
When: Through Sunday
Tickets: $15-80 (look for a discount)
Follow your heart straight to adventure at Disney On Ice! Characters from many of the beloved films make appearances — and perform lots of thrilling feats — on ice. Inside Out‘s emotions, Dory and friends, Elsa and Anna, are just some of the fan faves who will delight and wow.
Fibre Arts Festival
Where: Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Local fiber farms and yarn spinners will be attending the Glover Park-Burleith farmers’ market with hand spun yarn from Maryland! Plus the opportunity to use an antique loom and purchase hand knitted hats, scarves, pet toys and more! There will also be 2 sheep for a mini petting zoo! Perfect for people of all ages – there will be live music, tons of fresh local produce, sustainably raised meat and eggs, fresh cut flowers, baked goods, plus breakfast and lunch options. Additionally, there will be bike repairs and sales and free yoga from 10am to 11am!
Earth Celebration and Re-Use It Sale
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: Saturday, 8-11am
The Audubon Nature Preschool brings the gift of wonder to children and you can help support it at their annual Earth Celebration and ReUse It Sale. Go on family nature walks, shop for gently used children’s items, enjoy naturally delicious homemade treats and a morning cup of coffee, and make connections with Nature Preschool staff and families. Read more about Woodend in this KFDC post.
River Park Yard Sale
Where: Eastern Market in front of Rumsey Pool
When: Saturday, 8am – 1pm
Score some deals (and treats!) at the annual River Park Nursery School’s Yard Sale and Bake. Find great bargains on kids items, including baby gear, clothes, sports gear, puzzles, games, toys and delicious baked goods while supporting a Capitol Hill nursery school! Proceeds support River Park Nursery School, which has a 50-year tradition of providing quality instruction that encourages individual growth and development. Rumsey Pool is located at at 635 North Carolina Ave. SE.
Dance for the Floor
Where: Joe’s Movement Emporium
When: Saturday, 7pm
Dance the night away with Joe’s Movement Emporium! Dance for the Floor: A Joe’s Movement Emporium Fundraiser, with a goal of raising money to install a new hardwood dance floor in the theater.The evening will feature three studios worth of Hand Dance, salsa and swing dancing with a “floor-raising” program in the theater featuring Joe’s dancers of all ages. Admission includes dance lessons, open dancing, and light fare Purchase tickets online or at the door.
Ride with Recess Outings
Where: Capitol Hill
When: Sunday, 10am & 4pm –
Admission: $40/On a Recess bike, $30/BYOBike
Join Recess outings on a bike ride! Opt for To Market, To Market at 10am, designed for anyone up for a leisurely exploration of DC, with world-class markets serving as the bookends along the route as you meander from Eastern Market to Union Market and back again. You can also try Underrated Anacostia, an 8-mile ride from Capitol Hill then along the river highlighting the beautiful Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Get more details about both rides here.
Celebrating French Animation
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Let little imaginations soar with a selection of animated shorts by French filmmakers. Kids can discover the surrealist poetry of Robert Desnos creatively visualized in a series of nine films, including The Sun of Bagnolet Street, Once Upon a Leaf, and Paris. Recommended for ages 7 and up, all films are in French with English subtitles. The program lasts approximately 55 minutes.
Friends Community School Fall Fair
Where: Sunday, 12-4pm
When: Friends Community School
Friends Community School welcomes the public to enjoy a day of fun activities at their annual Fall Fair. The event will include student-run old-fashioned games, a moon bounce, a toy and book sale, entertainment, and plenty of good food prepared by local restaurants and school families. The fair will take place rain or shine. The school is located at 5901 Westchester Park Drive in College Park, MD.
Yummy Yummie Pop-Up
Where: The Escape Lounge
When: Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Score some adorable kids clothes this Sunday! The Escape Lounge on H Street is hosting a Yummy Yummy Goodness Pop-Up Shop, featuring lots of fall and winter specials. Stop in to browse & buy and, perhaps, stay for an Escape the Classroom challenge — Sunday only, get a FREE escape game for children with a $50 purchase from the pop-up! Read more about the Escape Lounge in this KFDC post.
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale
Looks like we have a beautiful fall weekend ahead! Take advantage of the crisp, sunny weather with some time outdoors — go on a hike, explore a garden, play in the trees, find a new playground, go fossil hunting, tour a historic site. This post has an extensive list of places and ideas for al fresco fun.