Fall officially begins this weekend, and there are so many ways to welcome it. Opt for a quintessential autumn activity and head to a farm for hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches, or join an urban festival on a hip city street. Head to one of the coolest museums in the area for a BIG and super fun event. Celebrate Hispanic heritage with a parade and party downtown or at the Zoo. Go behind the ballet curtain at an annual open house. See a show, go veg, make some art, indulge in seafood, do yoga, race for a cause. And if you still need more options, check out some of DC’s mainstays for family fun. Happy Weekend!
The Big Build
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Any kid (or adult, for that matter) with an interest in building and construction will absolutely dig the National Building Museum’s big annual event celebrating all things, well, building. The Great Hall will be full of different stations where guests of all ages aren’t just welcome, but encouraged, to try their hands at all kinds of construction and design techniques. There will opportunities to build a brick wall, explore construction vehicles, carve stone, build a log cabin, imagine a sculpture of plumbing pipes, create a hardware wind chime, and so much more. And it’s all totally free!
Fall Festival Fever
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Various by festival
Fall has begun, and seasonal festivals are ON at several area farms, along H Street NE in the city, even a 16th century village in Maryland (huzzah, Ren Fest!), and they’re welcoming visitors for all kinds of fun. Get details on all of them in this post about autumn celebrations.
Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/kids 6-11, children 5 and under are free
Take a day trip back to 18th-century America at Mount Vernon’s Colonial Market & Fair. Watch artisans and craftspeople from all over the country demonstrate early techniques of their crafts, many of which will be for sale. Enjoy live entertainment including music performances, puppet shows, a sword swallower, a fire eater, and a miracle medicine man. And this weekend only, Potomac River sightseeing cruises, courtesy of Spirit Cruises and Potomac Riverboat Company, are free-of-charge. Admission to the Fair is included in the entrance fee to the estate. Food will be available at extra cost. For more information and the full performance schedule, visit the Mount Vernon website.
Dulles Plane Pull
Where: 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.
Gimme an H!
Where: H Street NE
When: Saturday, 12-7pm
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. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.
DC Veg Fest
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Bring the kids to the largest celebration of vegetarian and vegan living in the area. Now in its 6th year, DC VegFest is a full day of delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine, cooking demos, music, and more. A Kid’s Area will feature a Q&A with a local vegan and her kids, who will answer questions about being vegan; demos of delicious kid-friendly vegan food, and musician Norm Hogeland. Attendees will enjoy free food samples from So Delicious, Tofurky, Larabar, Way Better Snacks, and more along with tasty vegan cuisine from nearly two dozen food vendors including Vegan Treats, Bread & Brew, Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, Dama Ethiopian and more.
DC State Fair
Where: Old City Farm & Guild
When: Saturday, 12-7pm
Good news for us: Being an actual state isn’t a requirement to have a state fair! This agricultural, culinary, and artistic showcase of the District will be a full day of competitions and other fun and educational activities for all ages. Festivities include contests of all kinds – photography, knitting, kids art and poetry, pickling, pies, ice cream, jams, and more. Get a taste of it all, plus do some browsing among the vendors, at the Old City Farm & Guild located at 925 Rhode Island Ave NW.
Where: National Zoo
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
¡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!
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* Be wowed by the acrobatic feats and playful performances of the Big Apple Circus!
* Catch an opening weekend show of Stuart Little at Adventure Theatre (get $10 off Friday’s performance using the code PJ10 and bring the kids in PJ’s!)
* Experience your favorite superheroes all in one epic event at Marvel Universe LIVE! at the Patriot Center
* See Rapunzel let down her hair as The Puppet Co. presents the marionette version of the classic fairytale.
* The Kazoobie Kazoo Show with Rick Hubbard is the Saturday morning performance at Jammin’ Java
* Enjoy Alice in Wonderland at Workhouse Arts Center
Baltimore Seafood Festival
Where: Canton Waterfront Park
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Starts at $29, ages 10 and under are free
Head up to Charm City for the Inaugural Baltimore Seafood Festival. Along with the area’s restaurants featuring their favorite seafood dishes, there will be live music, cooking demos, and a family area with toys, games, face painting, and more.
Colonial Autumn Chores
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adults, $2/children & seniors
Help the colonial farm family prepare for winter with their autumn chores. Learn to spin wood for yarn, help preserve the last of the garden’s bounty, clear brush from fields, stack wood for the hearth, help repair old fencing or participate in other 18th century farm tasks. The farm family welcomes all extra hands! Great event for families and small groups. Comfortable clothes and work gloves recommended.
Where: Georgetown Cupcakes
When: Saturday, 10am – 9pm while supplies last
I think Georgetown Cupcake wants to see just how long their line can get. The shop famous for its mini-cake treats is celebrating CBS’s new drama series “Madam Secretary” by giving away FREE Madam Secretary Red Velvet cupcakes on Saturday. If you’ve got time to queue up on the M Street corner, drop by Georgetown Cupcake this Saturday for a freebie. Each one will feature a special fondant topper adorned with a custom “Madam Secretary” logo. One free cupcake per person, no purchase necessary.
Where: Pennsylvania Ave. 7th to 14th Streets NW
When: Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Celebrate Latino culture at the 43rd Annual Fiesta DC. It all starts with the Parade of Nations along Constitution Avenue at 10am. Later at 1pm, festivities on Pennsylvania Avenue will include several stages featuring live performances, a children’s activities, international cuisine, vendors, and more.
Washington Ballet Open House
Where: TWB Studios
When: Sunday, 2-5pm
Get an inside glimpse of The Washington Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet. The afternoon will be filled with ballet and dance, face painting, food trucks, treats, crafts and more. Watch Company dancers and catch special class demonstrations from students of the northwest and southeast campuses of the School. Snap a photo with professional dancers, take part in “Make a Ballet” and step into a performance preview. TWB Studios are located at 3515 Wisconsin Avenue NW.
Prevent Cancer 5k
Where: Nationals Park
When: Sunday, 7;45am (check-in)
Admission: See website for registration fees
Join the Cancer Prevention Foundation at Nationals Park on Sunday for a great morning of fitness, food and fun. The 6th Annual Prevent Cancer 5k Walk/Run is a family (and dog!) friendly event promoting fitness, healthy eating, and cancer prevention and early detection. Enjoy the scenic route along the Capitol Riverfront and visit the health fair around the concourse of the stadium. Race with your friends and family members to help Stop Cancer Before It Starts!
Where: lil omm yoga
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: $20 (also see special 3-class promo below)
Join lil omm for a “circus” experience designed to help families discover the simple joy of romping, playing games, and finding fun ways to build connections and express yourself uniquely, from the heart. Be part of the circus at lil omm and learn what “heart style” means your family! The class is open to families with children ages 6 and up. Classes also take place on October 12 and 26. And lil omm has a $30 intro offer for new students that allows them to take 3 weeks of classes for that price.
Where: John Carlyle Square Park
When: Sunday, check-in 7am/race 8am
Admission: $50/adult, $20/child
This race is designed for families and strollers so they aren’t banished to the back of the pack, they are the pack! The Rock ‘n’ Stroller 5K is so much more than the most family-friendly run/walk this side of Sesame Street. It’s also the Best Play Date Ever because of the Freakin’ Fabulous Family Fun Festival that will be in full swing when the participants return from the course. Things to look forward to at this year’s Freakin’ Fabulous Fun Festivals include a Rocknoceros, freebies kids will love, sreative crafts, skills challenges, freeze dance, air guitar competitions, scooter and stroller test drives, red light green light, tie-dyes, Snacks and drinks, and even more.
Australia Homeland Dance
Where: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
When: Saturday, 5pm
Enjoy this free, kid-friendly dance performance by S. J. Ewing & Dancers, and CityDance students. In Australia Home Land, Ewing shares cultural experiences from Australia with her Capitol Hill community. The evening includes a performance by students from CityDance, connecting the DC youth to the community through the joy of dance. Kids will be motivated to dance and get moving after being inspired by the mix of dance professionals, and students their age, who take the stage!
Where: Crystal Wynwood Mural
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm & 12:30-2:30pm
Get inspired and create an original work of art in the Crystal City Wynwood Underpass, the newest mural-tastic addition to Crystal City’s growing art scene. ArtJamz, America’s original public art studio and lounge, has teamed up with Crystal City Business Improvement District to create the coolest outdoor ArtJamz to date. There are session all weekend, but Sunday’s is a family-friendly one for ages 3 and up. Cost includes for kids drinks, pizza, one small 12×16 canvas and all art materials. The Crystal Wynwood Mural is located at 1900 Crystal Drive in Arlington.