The changing leaves in Rock Creek Park and the Redskins fans at FedEx Field are just two signs that autumn has arrived in Washington, DC. From September through November, there are plenty of fun fall activities for everyone, from football games and fall foliage to fun festivals and Thanksgiving feasts. The fall season is also a great time to visit the city as crowds thin a bit and the summer temps start to cool.
Fall means football, and in Washington, DC, die-hard Redskins fans pack the stadium and local sports bars. But our home team isn’t the only game in town.You can bet that DC transplants follow their favorite NFL and college teams at gameday bars throughout the District. You can also head to the Verizon Center for some more fall sports action. Watch Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals pass the puck when the hockey season kicks off. Or, if you’re a fan of the NBA, see John Wall throw dimes to his Wizards teammates.
If you don’t like sitting on the sidelines, DC hosts a number of races in the fall that attract participants from across the country. Lace up your sneakers for the Army Ten-Miler and Marine Corps Marathon, both held annually in October. For something slightly less intense, Cultural Tourism DC hosts WalkingTown DC in late September, featuring a week’s worth of guided tours in the city.
The pleasant weather makes the fall a perfect time for an outdoor festival. The season brings a number of excuses to celebrate outside. In October, you can rehearse for Thanksgiving with a feast at Taste of DC over Columbus Day weekend. The food, wine, beer and music festival features tastings and dishes from more than 60 of DC’s best restaurants, eateries and food trucks, a Wine Walk, and the chance to get up close and personal with local chefs and winemakers.
Photogs clamor each fall for FotoWeek DC, a November festival highlighting the very best in fine art photography and compelling exhibits. For seasonal beer lovers, enjoy the full fall suite of suds from DC Brew Tours, which offers up locally crafted beer and wine pairings, plus transportation.
Get a spectacular view of the changing leaves in many public spaces, including the National Mall, Rock Creek Park, the National Arboretum, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Tudor Place, Theodore Roosevelt Island and the C&O Canal National Historic Park.
Or, you might consider making it an afternoon at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens with its 13 acres of immaculate grounds and docent-led tours of the mansion’s garden “rooms.” At the U.S. National Arboretum, visitors can view the national tree collection. Spectacular seasonal shows include fall-blooming camellias in late September and flame-colored Japanese maples through mid-October. You may also want to stop in at the U.S. Botanic Garden. In the fall, programs for fans of foliage include guided tours of the grand old tree specimens from around the country and world, plus many official state trees and memorial plantings around the grounds of the nearby U.S. Capitol.
From the scary to the somber, holiday weekends in the fall add another reason to visit the nation’s capital.
In November, the city recognizes those who have fought for our country with special Veteran’s Day ceremonies at sites across the city, including The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Navy Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
Also in November, Washington, DC dishes up Thanksgiving feasts at restaurants in and around the city. Of course, the most famous Presidential Pardon happens in November, when the president officially “pardons” a pair of Thanksgiving turkeys. The lucky birds go on to have a home at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum and Gardens.