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Things To Do In Dc In October

Fall Festivals Pumpkin Patches And Markets

What to Do in DC in October

Washington DC

Cornhole, board games, DJs, live entertainment, and more await at Wunder Gartens Oktoberfest Celebration in the NoMa District of Washington DC. Beer lovers, rejoice! Youll have a day chock-full of German food, music, contests, décor, and beer!

Pumpkin Harvests, farm markets, bonfires, and hayrides come alive at Butlers Orchard Farms. Located in Germantown, MD, they offer tons of fall festivities including giant slides and a corn maze!

Montpelier Farms

Montpelier Farms is the perfect fall destination for families & kids to pick a pumpkin, feed some animals, drink some hot cider, and get lost in a corn maze. Nestled in Upper Marlboro, the farm has been operating and serving the local community since 1673.

Homestead Farm has one of the regions most extensive fall markets, featuring local honey, fruit preserves, apples, pumpkins, squashes, apple ciders, and more. Head to their pumpkin patch to pluck the plumpest gourd to take home!

Summers Farm Fall festival begins September 18th

Summers Farm is an old-fashioned Fall Harvest Festival featuring a Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, 45+ family activities, weekend entertainment, fireworks, and great food in Frederick, MD. Be advised that tickets must be purchased online!

Virginia

Reston Farm Market Fall festivalSeptember 25 through October 31

Pumpkin Harvest Festival Great Country Farms Festival October 1-31, 2021

Whitehall Farms October 2, 3, 9, 10, and 11

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial opened in October 2011, a few months after the 48th anniversary of Dr. Kings I have a dream speech. Set in the greater National Mall area, the memorial occupies four acres of land in West Potomac Park and looks out over Tidal Basin near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

The site includes both a commanding 30-foot statue of Dr. King and a 450-foot granite inscription wall, featuring 14 excerpts from Kings speeches, sermons and other public addresses.

Tour to book:African-American History Tour with Reserved Museum Entry

Watch A Play At Fords Theatre

Yes, Fords Theatre is still an active theater with regular productions that you can attend, and its a pretty cool way to see a historical location. Downstairs is a museum containing many artifacts from Lincolns presidency and assassination. Advance reservations are recommended during tourist season.

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Fall For The Book Festival

The Fall for the Book Festival is a regional celebration of literature and the arts that features events at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus in Virginia and at several other venues throughout the Capital Region. The festival welcomes nearly 150 authors annually, including some of the nations most exciting and provocative writers. Featured speakers have in the past included novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, New Yorker writer and bestselling author of “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “The Lost City of Z” David Grann, and the iconic novelist Stephen King. In 2020, the festival will be virtual with talks and programs taking place online.

Who Else Comes To Dc In October

18 Things to Do in DC in October 2016

DC in October is reliably less busy than the summertime. However, there is an uptick in traffic the first couple of weeks when kids are on fall break. Fall break is not as common as spring break, and not all school districts take fall break, but a lot of families do take advantage of the time off to make a trip.

October is also when DCs secondary 8th grade field trip season begins. We have an entire article about field trip season, but the gist of it is: the primary field trip season is March through June. But the secondary one is October through Thanksgiving. It shouldnt scare you from visiting DC in October, but it is something good to keep in mind as you plan.

Another thing to note: October tends to have higher hotel rates than other months of the year because there is increased business and conference travel. So make sure to check out our video series about getting a great deal on a DC hotel.

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Trick Or Treat At The Tudor Place

This historic home and garden built in 1816 is a beautiful place to visit while in Washington, DC.

They host a number of events throughout the year and will be hosting a trick-or-treating out in the garden for Halloween.

Guests are encouraged to dress their spookiest and come out for a fun evening of candy and fun!

NOTE: This event has not yet been scheduled for October 2021. However, there will be a trick-or-treating event at Mount Vernon.

Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon

Celebrate the fall harvest with the whole family at George Washingtons Mount Vernon.

Participate in a number of childrens 18th Century activities at the Pioneer Farm and tour the home of our nations first president.

Tickets and more information is available on the website.

Canden Arciniega

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She’s also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All

Visit Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folger Shakespeare Library has more to offer than just the worlds largest Shakespeare collection. The main building is also an historic landmark and it has beautiful gardens, unique works of art, and beautiful rooms that house many rare research materials from the early modern period.

If youre a Shakespeare fan, or just a lover of beautiful architecture, its a must visit.

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Spend A Day At The Smithsonian Museums

Ive already mentioned a number of the Smithsonian Museums in this list, but there are a bunch more and they are all free to visit. Check out the website and decide which ones you want to see, then spend the day museum hopping.

Theres no where else that youll find so many amazing free museums at your disposal.

Check Out The Offerings At Eastern Market

Tips for Visiting Washington DC in October

Located in Capitol Hill, Eastern Market houses a farmers market, a flea market and an arts and crafts market. It is DCs oldest and continually operated fresh food public market.

Each section of the market is open various times, so check before you go. Its a fun place to walk around and see what local farmers and purveyors have to offer.

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Undetermined: Taste Of Dc

Hailed the largest culinary festival in the mid-Atlantic region, the Taste of DC returns at this October.

The festival includes tastings from an array of restaurants and beer gardens, and multiple stages feature culinary demonstrations and music.

There’s even an artisan market! To get your tickets click here.

NOTE: The 2021 date for this event is undetermined and might be postponed.

Go On A Mystery Picnic Date: Self

This fall, take your significant other or best friend on a super romantic mystery picnic date! When you purchase your ticket, you will receive an all-inclusive mystery picnic for two people made with a spread from local artisan producers including your traditional picnic foods , interactive clues and riddles on your smartphone thatll bring you to your basket and special picnic location. Elevate your date night with this cute and adventurous picnic idea! Buy your mystery picnic here!

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Walk On The National Mall

The National Mall spans for a mile from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building. There are nice gravel walkways along each side so walking the mall is easy and fun.

Along the way, youll pass by the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument. All along the sides of the mall walking paths are Smithsonian museums to stop at.

Rockville Antique & Classic Car Show

25 Things to Do in DC This October

Christopher Ziemnowicz / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

At the annual Rockville Antique & Classic Car Show at Maryland’s Rockville Civic Center grounds, you can peruse more than 550 antique and classic automobiles on display. From Packards to Ferraris, the iconic vehicles are displayed by their owners and more than 30 classic car clubs. There’s also a car sales area, in case you’re in the market for one, food and drink vendors, and a flea market. In 2020, the car show has been canceled.

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Go To A Pumpkin Patch

There aren’t any farms or pumpkin patches in Washington DC itself, but you’ll find a few in the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland.

If you’re looking for a fun Halloween activity to enjoy with the family, this is an excellent idea that also supports local farms and businesses.

Here are a few great pumpkin patches you might want to visit:

Just keep in mind you’ll probably need a car to reach most of these locations. For even more farms, check this list of pumpkin patches in the Washington DC area.

Mount Vernons Wine Festival & Sunset Tour

Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Estate and Gardens, known as Mount Vernon, hosts an annual Wine Festival and Sunset Tour event from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly from Friday through Sunday, October 9 to 11, 2020. At the event, guests can taste unlimited samples from more than a dozen Virginia wineries and learn the history of winemaking at Mt. Vernon. The festival also includes wine-cellar tours and live music, plus an exclusive evening tour of the historic mansion and cellar. In 2020, the mansion will remain closed. Advance tickets are required to attend and are available online.

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Events On Friday October 1

Jonathan Van Ness: Imaginary Living Room Olympian | Kennedy Center | Washington, DC | Friday

You may know him from Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot, but Jonathan Van Ness is also a hairstylist, a podcaster, a writer, and a hilarious comedian, too! Catch the vivacious personality at the Kennedy Center for his Imaginary Living Room Olympian tour, where he’ll be joined by comedian Megan Stalter. It’s sure to be a hoot! The show starts at 7 p.m. and ticketholders must show proof of vaccination to attend. Buy tickets here.

An Intimate Evening With Josh Groban | Capital One Hall | Tysons, VA | Friday

Capital One Hall opens to the public this month, and the inaugural show will be by none other than Josh Groban. The celebrated vocalist will perform from his latest album Harmony, as well as covers of “You Raise Me Up” and “The Impossible Dream.” Talk about a tough act to follow! The show starts at 8 p.m. and full proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required. Tickets start at $89. Purchase here.

Sunfest | Inlet LotSouth end of Boardwalk | Ocean City, MD | Friday-Sunday

United States Sailboat Show In Annapolis

The BEST Month to Visit Washington DC

Annapolis Boat Shows

Downtown Annapolis‘ City Dock plays host to more than 400 sailboatssome up to 75 feet in lengthduring this annual maritime gathering. It’s one of the worlds largest and most prestigious sailboat shows, featuring the latest models from almost every major manufacturer, talks with industry representatives, boating products, marine gear, and accessories. Between boat-related chats and showings, you can sample the local fare and libations while listening to live music. In 2020, the event has been canceled.

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Visit The Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is a huge presence in DC, along the Potomac River. Its a great place to see the Cherry Blossoms from when they are in bloom, or to have a picnic on a sunny day.

Of course, youll want to hike the stairs for a view of the towering Thomas Jefferson statue that stands in the middle.

Book your Washington DC Guided Night Tour here.

Halloween Events In Maryland

Halloween Movies on the Potomac

Pack a picnic and chairs and enjoy a Free Halloween movie on the Plazas Movie Screen at the National Harbor!

  • When: Sundays in October from 4-6pm
  • Movie line-up: October 3: Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Location: The National Harbor, MD

BOOtanica at Brookside Gardens

Visit Brookside Gardens for a fun Halloween event for kids. Some fun activities to look forward to are pumpkin bingo, costume parade, pumpkin carving and more.

  • When: Oct. 29,2021 from 6-8pm
  • Ticket prices: You must register $15 kids ages 3-12, adults are free! Register here.
  • Location: 1800 Glenallan Ave. Wheaton, MD 20902

Six Flags Fright Fest

Another fun Halloween event to look forward to in 2021 is the Fright Fest at Six Flags. Let the kids dress up in their favorite Halloween costume and enjoy a day of thrills.

The kids can enjoy the Halloween festivities by day, and at night the grown ups can enjoy some spooky fun at their haunted attractions, spooky shows and more.

  • When: Select dates from Sept. 25-Oct. 31
  • Ticket prices: Starts at $29.99
  • Location: 13710 Central Ave. Upper Marlboro, MD 20721
  • Visit the website hereto keep up to date on the upcoming Halloween events at Six Flags.

Halloween Eye Spy Train Ride

Family friendly moving scavenger hunt at two locations at Cabin John Train, and Wheaton Train and Carousel.

Each kid will receive an Eye Spy card before boarding the train. Find characters along the tracks!

Halloween in the Garden

Truck or Treat

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Bethesda Row Arts Festival

Bethesda Row Arts Festival / Facebook

Touted as the area’s largest art show, this festival showcases the work of more than 200 artists in Bethesda, Maryland. You’ll find wearable fiber art and jewelry, glass creations, woodworking, photography, and paintings at the event, which also draws some of the area’s best musical acts, street performers, and local food vendors. A variety of hands-on activities such as jewelry-making are usually available to entertain the kids. In 2020, the in-person event has been canceled, but you can purchase art from the vendor through BethesdaRowArts.org.

Discover The Techniques Of A Great Liar At This Mind

Five Best Halloween Events in Washington, DC

If youve ever wondered how psychics seem to know exactly whats on your mind at every moment, then youre in luck because magician and mentalist Brian Curry is willing to share all his secrets with you. Join Curry for Magic and Mentalism: The Good Liar and prepare to be blown away by his incredible mind-reading magic. In just 60 minutes Curry will read your thoughts, predict your future and completely blow your mind! Get your tickets here.

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The Phillips Collection Alma W Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful October 30 January 2022

The Phillips Collection is one of my favorite museums. As written, The special exhibition of Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful traces her journey from semi-rural Georgia to Washington, DC becoming the first Black woman given a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art at 81.

Theres a Washington DC citywide celebration for Alma W. Thomas work. You also can view her collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Visit .

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Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Family Days

Celebrate the season with horse-drawn wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, a straw bale maze, early-American games, music, and demonstrations at historic Mount Vernon. The famous venue’s annual Fall Harvest Family Days feature a variety of 18th-century activities and reenactments at the Pioneer Farm. Entry is included in the price of admission . In 2020, the event will take place on October 24 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with special safety measures.

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Things To Do In Washington Dc

There are hundreds of things to do in Washington DC and everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime to experience it all. Not only is it the historical center of the United States, it is one of the most interesting and fascinating places to visit in the country.

This list only covers my favorite 50 things to do in Washington DC. Some of these things are very touristy, some are local favorites that are slightly off the beaten path, and some are just plain required for any trip to the capital. And the best part is that many of them are completely free!

For further reading, heres a list of more local non-touristy things to do in DC.

Get Fresh Fish At The Maine Avenue Fish Market

Washington DC Tourism UPDATE (October 2020)

The Maine Avenue fish market has been around since the 1800s, serving up fresh fish that arrives at the docks daily. There are multiple merchants vying for your business, and more than enough fresh oysters, crabs, shrimp and clam chowder to go around.

Many of them will even steam the fish on the spot for you so you dont have to steam the blue crabs for your crab feast yourself at home.

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Where To Stay In Washington Dc

There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Washington where you can stay as a tourist and fully enjoy yourself. Where you stay depends a lot on what you want to do and your budget.

It can be expensive to stay right in the city. For budget travelers, it may be more economical to stay outside the city in Arlington or Alexandria and take the Metro in to the city.

If you can afford it, try to stay as close to the action as possible. You can see prices or book directly with Booking.com through these links:

We recommend these places to stay in Arlington and Alexandria:

» A Locals Guide to Arlington, VA Hotels Where to Stay in Arlington for Sightseeing, or Visiting D.C. for the first time.

We recommend these places to stay in Washington DC:

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