You can eke out the last bit of summer or start focusing on fall (or both!) with this round-up of special events and activities. Taking place indoors and out, in the heart of the city to farms miles beyond, there’s fun to indulge all interests — and seasons. Happy Weekend!
Celebrate from City Streets Country Farms
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by event
Fall may not have officially started, but seasonal festivals have begun at several area farms, on H Street (see below), and in locales that recall historic times (huzzah!). And they’re welcoming visitors for all kinds of fun. Get details on all of them in this guide to autumn celebrations around the area.
Where: The Bullpen at Half Street Fairgrounds
When: Friday, 11am – 11pm
Go for lunch, an after school snack, or al fresco dinner and stay awhile for entertainment and fun! Truckeroo, the food truck festival showcasing local eats on wheels, features tons of food options along with live music, games for all ages, and tasty beverages (for adults). Kids and canines are always welcome to enjoy it all, too!
Colonial Market Fair
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adult, $9/child, free for ages 5 and under
At George Washington’s old digs, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts, and entertainment for all. Artisans from across the nation show off their trades and sell their wares, while family entertainment delights audiences with 18th-century amusements. Try your hand at 18th century cricket — demonstrations and cricket games will be played throughout the weekend. General Washington will preside many festivities. And concession will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant stands. (Note: Admission prices listed above are online only; they are slightly higher there.)
The National Garden 10th Anniversary
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden
Help the USBG celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their very own National Garden! Highlighting the three-acres of garden space adjacent to the Conservatory, the day-long festival showcases the amazing diversity of American plants through the Mid-Atlantic Regional Garden, Rose Garden, and Butterfly Garden with special activities and programs. Highlights will include tasty treats with native plants, rose garden tours, hands-on activities for all ages, and much more! Read a little more about the National Garden in this KFDC post.
Gimme an H!
Where: H Street NE
When: Saturday, 1-6pm
The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and kids’ activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. I recommend taking public transportation there — parking is guaranteed to be difficult.
Where: Constitution Ave. & Pennsylvania Ave. NW
When: Saturday, 1-5:30pm & Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Celebrate Latino culture all weekend long! on Saturday, catch the parade along Constitution Avenue from the at the 45th Annual Fiesta DC. It all starts with the Parade of Nations along Constitution Ave. NW from 7th to 14th Streets. On Sunday, head to the festival on Pennsylvania Ave. NW from 3rd to 7th Streets to enjoy live performances, children’s activities, international cuisine, vendors, and much more!
King Street Art Festival
Where: Old Town Alexandria, King & Union Streets
When: Saturday 10am – 7pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
The King Street Art Festival returns for its 14th year with live music, special programming, and more than 200 artists’ work available for purchase at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Shop and learn about the works, try some art activities for all ages, and enjoy live entertainment, too. And the annual Ice Cream Bowl Fundraiser will be back! Purchase one of 1,000+ hand-made bowls created by the talented and prolific artists of The Art League’s Ceramics Department and enjoy local artisan ice cream from Artfully Chocolate in Alexandria – all for only $15 per bowl. Proceeds go to benefit The Art League’s Ceramics department.
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $6/adult, free for ages 11 and under
Head out to Solomons, MD, for an art-filled experience at a magical place! Browse and shop more than 165 artist booths throughout gardens and in the arts building. Enjoy entertainment from more than 30 performers on two stages. Kids will love activities in the Discovery Tent and Zany Zone, plus creative free-play in the gorgeous Fairy Lolly, the Studio School, and the Children’s Garden. Street performers — stilt walkers, mimes, live statues, and more — will entertain and mesmerize. There’s something for everyone at this anniversary celebration of the visual, performing, and creative arts. For more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden, see this KFDC post.
One Gold Coin–una moneda del oro
Where: Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission:$12.50/adult, $10/ages 4-11, free for 3 and under
Catch a performance of this favorite for young audiences from InterAct Story Theatre! One Gold Coin–una moneda de oro is a fun and engaging play for kids and families about the power of giving. Performed in English and Spanish with lots of audience participation, it’s a show that all ages can enjoy.
Lego Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Bring your budding architects to the Kogod Courtyard for a day of LEGOs, where they can use problem-solving skills and imagination to make works of art and architecture at LEGO building stations. Recreate some of the museum’s famous sculptures on display in the galleries or build your own new designs! Get inspired by the USPTO’s LEGO model of the museum’s historic building, which was home to the U.S. Patent Office in the 19th century.
Women in Aviation & Space
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Throughout the history of aviation and space exploration, women have fought to be on equal terms with their male counterparts. At this family day, enjoy learning about the significant contributions women have made despite the many challenges they faced. The day will feature presentations by women in the field, hands-on activities, and stories.
Honey Harvest Festival
Where: Brookside Gardens & Nature Center
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Brookside will be buzzing with fun on Saturday! Join them and the Maryland State Beekeepers Association to celebrate honeybees and pollinators. Talk to beekeepers, watch honey being harvested, buy local honey and bee products, plus enjoy family-friendly activities, live music, and crafts.
Where: Black Hill Visitors Center
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Celebrate the monarch butterfly’s amazing and inspiring metamorphosis and incredible journey to Mexico. Join us for music, food, dance, hands-on art, native plant sales, and plenty of opportunities to get up close with monarch butterflies. Participate in monarch tagging and learn about their habitats, and what you can do to make a difference.
Dulles Plane PullWhere: Dulles Airport
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Airplane tug o’ war, anyone? This annual event is Special Olympics Virginia’s “heaviest” fundraiser, pitting teams of 25 against one another to see who can pull a 164,000+ pound Airbus 12 feet the fastest. And the public is invited to watch it all go down. Along with the tug o’ airplane, there will be live music, a car show, military and civilian aircraft displays, business exhibits, and children’s games and entertainment. Gates open at 10:30am. Go here for directions and parking information.
Georgetown Community Day
Where: Georgetown University, 37th & O Streets NW
Join the Georgetown community for a day of fun and family-friendly activities! Enjoy the celebration where there will be free food, face painting, moonbounces, and so much more. The community fair will include tables from local schools, community organizations, and University departments with information, giveaways, and more.
All Aboard for a Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Chug on down to Vienna to watch model train and trolley activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC). Every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything. To satisfy popular demand, expect an occasional sighting of Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, Virginia just down the street from the red caboose.
Where: Revel’s Grove in Crownsville, Md
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $22/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under
Enjoy the bounty of merriment at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The annual faire recalls medieval times with a village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. This is one of my very favorite events in the DC area, and it could very well become one of yours, too. Huzzah!
A Rainbow Rockin’ Morning
Where: Jammin Java
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $8/person, $25/4-pack
Get ready to rock the rainbow at a concert especially for kids! The talented Rainbow Rock tunesters will entertain the kiddie crowd with a combination of classic and original children’s songs from their CD “Meet the Rainbow.”
Let Down Your Hair!
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am & 1pm
It’s opening weekend for Rapunzel at the puppet theater in Glen Echo Park. Recommended for ages 3.5-9 years old, the show uses “coloring-book” charm and the simplicity of hand puppets in this production designed to delight its younger audiences. And really little ones can enjoy Old MacDonald’s Farm, the featured Tiny Tots show on Saturday morning.
18th Century I Do’s
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adult, $2/ages 3-12, free for 2 & under
The Claude Moore Colonial Farm family and their neighbors cordially invite you to celebrate with them on this joyous occasion. Witness an 18th century-style outdoor wedding ceremony. You can even dance with the bride and groom afterward and taste an authentic 18th century wedding cake! It’s an outing as fun as is it educational.
Family Workshop: Afghan Fighter Kites
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 1pm & 2-4pm
Children ages 6-12 and adults are invited to visit the exhibit Turquoise Mountain with teaching artist Mukhtar Ziarmal and learn about kite fighting, a popular activity for kids in Afghanistan. Then return to the classroom to collaborate with family and friends on constructing and decorating your own kite. Register in advance.
Where: Leesburg Premium Outlets
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Moon madness! Area trendsetters can look forward to a festive afternoon in honor of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrating the moon at its brightest and roundest point. Shoppers of all ages are invited to the Food Court to enjoy savory mooncake samples, construct one-of-a-kind lotus lanterns, and take advantage of extra-holiday savings on festive fall fashions!
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 6:30-9:3pm
Inspired by the story of African American families who built their homes in historic neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River by candlelight after returning home from a long day’s work, this Lantern Walk is hosted by 1th Street Bridge Park and Washington Performing Arts. Create a lantern and join for an evening of performances celebrating the community!
Where: National Zoo
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
¡Celebramos! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month at ZooFiesta! See animal demonstrations and learn about animals native to Latin America, such as golden lion tamarins, sloths, Andean bears, and anteaters. Meet Zoo experts and learn how they are working to save these species and more. Family activities include animal feedings, arts and crafts, musical entertainment, educational activities highlighting conservation research in Central and South America, and authentic gourmet cuisine at a Latin American inspired food bazaar. Bring the whole familia!
Cavalcade of Streetcars
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: $7/ages 18 and up, $5/ages 2-17
Hop on for a day of fun! Along with the museum’s array of exhibits, enjoy trolley rides on several of the cars from the museum’s collection. This event only happens a few times a year so take advantage while you can!
Spin through Glen Echo History
Where: Glen Echo Park
Admission: $25/adult, free for ages 9 and under
Join Oscura Society DC as they go for a spin and learn about the Dentzel Carousel of Glen Echo Park. Field agent Julie Seigel will lead a tour the grounds, and National Park Service Ranger Janet Greene will illuminate the remnants of the amusement park and share how the carousel itself served as a site of protest during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Historian and co-founder of the National Carousel Association Barbara Fahs Charles will discuss the creation and twenty-year long restoration of the Dentzel Carousel. Afterward, guests will be treated to a group ride and a small picnic!
Pirates & Princesses, Sea & Tea
Where: Pirate Adventures, Annapolis
Admission: $27, $12/ages 2 and under
Ahoy, your little majesties! Pirate Adventures is teaming up with Party Time Princesses for an event to please both young buccaneers and royalty. Ariel and Tinkerbell will be visiting the Pirate Adventures party room on Sunday, giving patrons a chance to mingle them after an excursion on the Chesapeake. The Meet and Greet, including a Princess Tea Party, will be available after the 9:30am cruise and before the 12:30pm cruise. Enjoy photo ops, singing songs, and tea and treats as part of the special fun!
Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
Hit the trail with the fam to enjoy the nice weather and some quality time. See very beginnings of autumn hues, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post, started in the early KFDC days and updated several times since, has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids.