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10 Fall Events & Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss in Washington, DC
Our picks for the best events this fall include exciting in-person and virtual offerings in the nation’s capital
The fun only picks up as summer turns to fall in the District. The city’s calendar stays packed with day and weekend-long events that can be safely enjoyed in-person or virtually from home. This lineup showcases food, music, culture and history, and many are free to attend. Explore some of the highlights and plan a spectacular season in Washington, DC.
Through Oct. 18, your weekends can feature German food, music, décor, contests and lots and lots of beer at Wunder Garten during its Oktoberfest celebration. All of this can be safely enjoyed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Fridays offer a pig roast by Federalist Pig, Saturday showcases Bavarian cuisine and steinholding and Sundays are for Dogtoberfest, when humans and canines are free to dress up. Suds from some of Bavaria’s oldest breweries are available, in addition to brews from regional purveyors like Devil’s Backbone and Port City Brewing. Tables are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and cabana rentals are available for up to six people.
Wunder Garten, 1101 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002
One of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods is hosting a destination streatery beginning Sept. 25. On 8th Street NW, between H and K streets, you will find a plethora of neighborhood eateries offering table service outside, with reservations required, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Social distancing guidelines will apply and masks must be worn when not eating or drinking. Tables can host up to a maximum of six people. Participating restaurants include Cranes, Olivia, Modena and Cuba Libre. For menus, reservations and additional information, visit the streatery's dedicated website.
8th Street NW, between H and K street
This revamped version of the beloved one-day Taste of Georgetown event expands the celebration to three weeks’ worth (Oct. 5-25) of take-out, delivery and outdoor dining specials at Georgetown restaurants. You will also be able to satisfy your fall shopping fix with special promotions throughout the month. Stay tuned to the event’s official website for participating business and their offers.
Gateway DC, 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20032
From Oct. 8 – Jan. 18, 2021, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) will feature this exhibit, which marks the sixth installment in the ‘Women to Watch’ series at the museum. Paper Routes will showcase the ability of artists to use paper to create breathtaking installations, large and small. The exhibit is a collaboration between NMWA and 22 committees from the U.S. and around the world. Please make sure to review the museum’s safety guidelines before your visit.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Tickets
National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
George Washington’s Mount Vernon is at its scenic best when fall rolls around, so it’s fitting that the historic estate hosts this special celebration of wine followed by a sunset tour of the property. Bring along a blanket and chill out on the east lawn, which overlooks the Potomac River. Virginia wines will be available for sampling. Fruit and cheese boxes to accompany your wine are available for purchase in advance. Please make sure to review Mount Vernon’s safety measures before attending.
6-9 p.m. | Tickets
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121
For the sixth straight year, Smithsonian will host its Food History Weekend, for those who love to dig into food’s long and illustrious past. The theme of 2020’s edition is Food Futures: Striving for Justice. We’re fully on board. The weekend will feature a dynamic series of online chats, demos, interactive convos and activities. Festivities begin with a virtual gala on Oct. 15 when the Julia Child Award will be presented to Food Tank co-founder Danielle Nierenberg.
National Museum of American History, Constitution Avenue, NW Between 12th and 14th Streets Washington, D.C.
Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the power of language at this exciting and highly anticipated museum, which opens on a limited basis on Oct. 22. Please make sure to register in advance for a free, timed-entry pass. Planet Word will feature an array of galleries, including Words Matter, which will showcase how language can have an incredible impact on lives. The Spoken World will amaze visitors by highlighting the diversity of language around the globe through speakers and signers of 31 different languages. The museum will also feature one of Shared_Studios’ Portals, a live, audio-visual environment that allows you to converse and interact with people all over the globe.
Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.| Free timed-entry passes
Planet Word Museum, 925 13th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Through utilization of the Ride Spot app, DC Bike Ride is going fully virtual for 2020! The DC Virtual Ride will encourage social distancing by connecting other riders electronically. You will be able to explore local routes and complete goals to unlock a prize, all through Ride Spot. Upon completing registration online, you will receive a Virtual Rider Kit that includes a hydration backpack and a branded, multi-layer face cover.
7 a.m. – 11 p.m. | Register
The third annual DMV Black Restaurant Week asks local foodies to show their support for Black-owned restaurants in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Participating locations will offer discounts on menu items, as well as specialty dishes, throughout the week. Check the promotion’s website for updates on participants and specials. As you plan which restaurants you want to order from or visit, please note that masks are required in DC, as is maintaining a safe social distance of six feet.
The National Museum of the American Indian (which recently reopened its doors) will host a virtual ceremony to mark the completion of the Native American Veterans Memorial. Fittingly, this event will be held on Veterans Day. Both the memorial and ceremony will honor the tremendous service and sacrifice made by Native veterans and their families. Once the memorial is unveiled, you’ll be able to visit the intimate space, as Harvey Pratt’s design was specifically tailored to inspire remembrance, reflection and healing. Today, more than 31,000 Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives serve on active duty. More than 140,000 veterans identify as Native. And for the first time, the bravery and selflessness of these individuals can be honored on a national scale, within sight of the U.S. Capitol.
Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Free timed-entry passes
The National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560