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20+ Fall Events & Festivals You Don't Want to Miss in Washington, DC

Band performing during Adams Morgan Day on 18th Street - Free summer festival in Washington, DC

Our picks for the best events this fall in DC include free, family-friendly street festivals, late-night art shows and everything in between.

Washington, DC’s outdoor fun and festivals do not conclude when summer turns to fall. The city’s calendar stays packed with day and weekend-long events that showcase food, music and culture, many of which are free. Explore some of the season’s highlights and plan your trip today.

Your ultimate guide to fall in Washington, DC

1 The REACH Opening Festival – Sept. 7-22

Dusk aerial view of The REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC

The new expansion at Washington, DC’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The REACH, officially opens on Sept. 7. To celebrate, the Kennedy Center is hosting 16 days’ worth of free programming, including concerts, workshops, film screenings, dance performances and so much more. Every single event is FREE. Registrations for timed-entry passes and a full day-by-day schedule are available on the opening festival's website.
More Info
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

2 Adams Morgan Day Festival – Sept. 8

Fall Events and Festivals in Washington, DC - 18th Street in Adams Morgan on Adams Morgan Day

The longest-running neighborhood festival in the District hosts its 41st edition this September. The lively 18th Street will be buzzing with music, food vendors, for-sale artwork and family-friendly activities. Celebrate one of DC’s liveliest, most diverse neighborhoods with this day-long extravaganza that is led by volunteers and showcases the businesses, artists and organizations that make up Adams Morgan.
12-6 p.m. |  Free admission
18th Street NW, between Columbia Road NW and Florida Avenue NW

3 DC State Fair – Sept. 8

The DC State Fair - Things to do this fall in Washington, DC

Gateway DC will host the 10th annual DC State Fair, a free showcase featuring local food, music, art and entertainment. Peruse arts and crafts, scoop eats from DC-based vendors, enjoy live music and workshops and participate in any number of contests, including photography, artwork, numerous types of food, plant-growing, ice cream eating, hula hooping, and oh boy, we could go on and on. There will also be a pet parade!
11 a.m. - 7 p.m. |  Free admission
Gateway DC, 2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20032

4 Zoo Uncorked – Sept. 12

Zoo Uncorked event at the Smithsonian National Zoo - Can't-miss September event in Washington, DC

Go wine tasting in the wild with this special event at the Smithsonian National Zoo. In addition to animal encounters, live music and entertainment, the event will offer unlimited tastings of some of the finest wines from around the world. Several Zoo attractions will also stay open late for event attendees to enjoy. Must be 21 or over to attend.
6-9 p.m. | Tickets
Smithsonian National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

5 Art All Night – Sept. 14

@kapeacor - Art All Night - Free arts event in Washington, DC

An all-night arts festival? Sign us up. Yes, DC has that with Art All Night: Made in DC, which is spread over eight neighborhoods. Art experiences don’t get much more lavish or expansive than this: Everything from painting to performing arts to music to sculpture will be showcased in both public and private spaces, indoors and outdoors.
7 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Various locations in DC

Looking for more public art throughout the District? Tag along with mural artist Aniekan Udofia – famed for his alleyway opus adorning the wall of local institution Ben’s Chili Bowl – as he unveils where he finds his inspiration in DC.

Explore The Arts District - Adventure through Washington, DC’s vibrant arts and culture scene

6 DC Wine Fest! Fall Edition – Sept. 14
DC Wine Fest! Fall Edition – Sept. 14 DC Wine Fest

Wine lovers, rejoice: DC Wine Fest is hosting a fall edition this year. The National Union Building will serve as the venue for this celebration of wine that offers you the opportunity to sample some of the best varietals from the world over while also enjoying live music, taking in art and eating great food. Numerous ticket packages are available.
12-10 p.m. | Tickets
National Union Building, 918 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

7 Walkingtown DC – Sept. 14-22

Group on walking tour of DC during Walkingtown DC - Fall events and festivals in Washington, DC

Cultural Tourism DC showcases the incredible walkability of the nation’s capital during this free, week-long public tour program. In total, 75 guided walking tours will be held throughout the District, including 18 new or updated tours for this year, an addition that features jaunts through Adams Morgan and Capitol Riverfront as well as themed excursions that highlight LGBTQ, women’s and civil rights history in the District. Tours come in many variations, from after-work “happy hour” soirees to long weekend adventures. Historians, licensed tour guides, community leaders and business owners, among others, host these adventures that will take you to both well-known and hidden gems across DC.
More Info
Citywide

8 Colonial Market & Fair – Sept. 14-15

Colonial Market and Fair at George Washington's Mount Vernon - Family-Friendly Event Near Washington, DC

You don’t need Doc Brown’s DeLorean to go back in time in the DC area. George Washington’s Mount Vernon hosts this annual colonial-style market and fair featuring everything you could possibly dream of at such an event. This includes 18th century music, a balloon launch, fire-eating, puppet and magic shows and chocolate-making. Artisans decked out in era-appropriate attire will also be on-hand demonstrating craftwork of the time and selling wares such as weavings, furniture and leather-workings.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. |  Tickets
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121

9 H Street Festival – Sept. 21

@pootie_ting - Celebration at H Street Festival in H Street NE - Events and festivals in Washington, DC

Another one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods pulls out all the stops for this annual festival that draws thousands of attendees every year. The H Street Festival will feature live music, dance performances, family-friendly activities, contests and plenty of food vendors across its 14 staging areas, with dozens of businesses participating.
12-7 p.m. |  Free admission
H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

10 ZooFiesta – Sept. 21

Visitors in front of the Smithsonian National Zoo - The best attractions and things to do in Washington, DC

The Smithsonian National Zoo hosts this free event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Bring along the entire family to enjoy live music, authentic cuisine and educational activities regarding conservation in South and Central America. Animal keepers will also be on-site for talks, feedings and demonstrations that highlight a range of animals from the region, including sloths, giant anteaters and Panamanian golden frogs!
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. |  Free admission
Smithsonian National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

11 Chesapeake Oyster, Wine and Beer Festival – Sept. 21

Chesapeake Oyster, Wine and Beer Festival this fall in Washington, DC

Taking place inside and outside of Dock 5 at Union Market, this annual celebration features 20 live shuckers providing you with thousands of raw oysters, to go along with grilled and steamed varieties. As evidenced by the title, the event will also offer 30 international and local beers, wines and spirits. There will also be a Bloody Mary bar, tasting from The Meat Department and live music all day.
11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Tickets
Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

12 Fiesta DC – Sept. 21-22

Child dancing during Fiesta DC parade - Free fall events and festivals in Washington, DC

This annual celebration of Latino culture includes a parade and a festival on back-to-back days, both held in the heart of the District. Saturday’s Parade of Nations features Native Latino dance troupes and other local groups. Sunday’s festival will gather thousands with a beauty pageant, live musical and dance performances, plenty of food and much, much more. Both are free to attend!
Free admission |  More Info

13 Taste of Georgetown – Sept. 22

Taste of Georgetown - Food Event in Washington, DC

Eat and drink your way through a Sunday afternoon in one of DC’s most historic neighborhoods during Taste of Georgetown. Now in its 26th year, the event welcomes you and yours to try dozens of dishes from Georgetown’s most popular eateries. Beer and wine will be available as you stroll from appetizing booth to appetizing booth.
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Tickets
K Street NW, between Wisconsin Ave. and Thomas Jefferson St. (near Georgetown Waterfront)

14 Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival – Oct. 10-13

Double Exposure Film Festival - Fall film festival in Washington, DC

Curated by 100Reporters, an investigative news organization, the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival serves as the first and only film festival solely dedicated to investigative reporting on film in the United States. Four days of screenings are accompanied by a professional symposium in which journalists and filmmakers discuss their storytelling. Venues include Eaton DC, the National Archives, the National Geographic Museum and the Naval Heritage Center.
Schedule |  Tickets
Citywide

15 Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour – Oct. 11-13

Wine festival at George Washington's Mount Vernon - Events and festivals in Northern Virginia near DC

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. Learn of the Founding Fathers’ attempts at wine-making, hear live blues music and meet George and Martha at the Mansion’s piazza. The tour will also take you to George’s basement, where he stored his wine. Fruit and cheese boxes to accompany your wine are available for purchase in advance.
6 - 9 p.m. |  Tickets
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121

16 Snallygaster – Oct. 12

Snallygaster fall beer festival and concert in Yards Park - Best fall events in Washington, DC

Snallygaster is here to let you beast out with over 400 craft brews and ciders on Pennsylvania Avenue. Named after a mythical creature, the festival roars into its eighth year with a hefty lineup that also includes food trucks and plenty of live music. Greg Engert, one of the city’s leading beer connoisseurs, has selected a motley crew of brews from far and wide for your tasting pleasure. Pick from one of two advance ticketing options and you will be contributing to Arcadia, a nonprofit working towards a more sustainable food system in the area. You must be 21 or older to attend.
2 p.m. (VIP at 12 p.m.) |  Tickets
Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets NW, Washington, DC

17 All Things Go Fall Classic – Oct. 12-13

All Things Go Fall Classic Music Festival - Events and festivals in Washington, DC

Union Market is one of the District’s coolest spots, so in predictable fashion, the Market will host one of the year’s coolest festivals. The All Things Go Fall Classic stretches across two days and will feature performances from Chvrches, Melanie Martinez, Léon, Sneaks and many more. The festival will also showcase delicious local and regional eats, including &pizza, DC Empanadas, Nando's, Rocklands and Shake Shack.
12 p.m. |  Tickets
Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

18 Maryland Renaissance Festival – Weekends through Oct. 20

Jousting at the Maryland Renaissance Festival - Fall festivals and events near Washington, DC

This unique festival takes place every year near Annapolis, Md. (roughly 50 minutes from downtown DC). Discover Renaissance-themed artisans, performances (including dances and musicians) and food. You can also dress up in your own costume, if ye so wish.
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Tickets
1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, MD 21401

19 29Rooms – Oct. 18-27
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by 29Rooms (@29rooms) on

Refinery29 brings its brand’s distinctive style to the DC Armory during this 10-day showcase. 29Rooms is just as it sounds – you can journey through 29 rooms, each with its own theme. One focuses on dreams, another on female storytellers; in one, have a conversation with your inner child and next up, go on a blind date with destiny. The entire experience aims to expand your reality through engaging and interactive touchpoints, many curated collaborations between artists, visionaries and brands.
Tickets
DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

20 The Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival – Oct. 24-27

The Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival - Fall comedy shows in Washington, DC

The Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival is a collaboration between comedian Tig Notaro and Brightest Young Things that gives laughing fits to audiences all over the District, year after year. Thursday night at Lincoln Theatre features a show from the incomparable Maria Bamford and her singular brand of comedy. Friday night at Lincoln features two shows, including performances by Pete Holmes, Jamie Lee, Open Mike Eagle, Baron Vaughn and more. Saturday night's showcase is Notaro herself, while announcements are coming for Sunday's performance that rounds out the festival. An all-access pass is available, but grab it quickly, as it sells out quickly each year. Tickets for individual shows are also offered.
All-Access Pass
Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

21 DC Mac + Cheese Festival – Oct. 26

The best things to do this fall in Washington, DC - Fall events and festivals

Yeah, your eyes are not deceiving you. DC is hosting a mac-and-cheese-themed festival this fall, specifically on the Akridge Lot next to Audi Field. Your taste buds will throw a party as you sample more than 25 kinds of macaroni and cheese, peruse over 60 craft beers, wines, ciders and spirits and try crazy creations in the chef’s corner. There will also be live music from local bands to soundtrack your excursion. Three ticket options are available.
1-5 p.m. (VIPs can enter at 12 p.m.) |  Tickets
Akridge Lot next to Audi Field, 100 V Street SW, Washington, DC 20003

The Best Events and Festivals Happening in Washington, DC