The season of apple cider donuts, haunted trails, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin spice is upon us! There’s nothing quite like the season of fall, and DC is full of things to see and do!
The weather is warm enough that you can spend all day sipping glasses of vino on a rooftop deck yet with enough chill to enough a mug of mulled wine. Spooky season also means activities like ghost tours, and Halloween costume shopping are back, which we can collectively agree is one of the best things about fall.
So, from vibrant foliage to festivals and free and interactive museums to explore, we've scouted a ton of awesome things (40+!) to do this month. Outdoor movies, Porchfest and Porchfest SE music crawls, salsa under the stars, Alma Thomas happy hour, hike and hops, and more!
Happy anniversary, NMAAHC. Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture as it celebrates its 5th anniversary (wow, where has the time gone?!) with a number of new exhibits, including: my Sherald’s widely circulated portrait of Breonna Taylor, which she painted for the cover of Vanity Fair in September 2020, the hoodie 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was wearing on Feb. 26, 2012 and a display of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s original “I Have a Dream” speech from the 1963 March on Washington. Good news: timed entry passes are much easier to get these days! Starts Oct 1
Bonjour, Georgetown. Georgetown's Book Hill neighborhood turns into its own version of Paris for the 18th annual Georgetown French Market. The event features more than 25 locally owned merchants, restaurants, galleries and salons participating in an open-air shopping frenzy from Friday through Sunday. Free. Oct 1 - 3
Look Hear. Dupont Underground hosts Look Hear Gallery's photo exhibition shot by Black photographers that shows the beauty and intimacies of Black culture in Chocolate City while touching on how the city is countering the effects of gentrification. The exhibition aims to support the community through a mutual aid presence, local vendors and will showcase the works of other native District photographers. Ticket required.
Oct 1 - 3
Wunderbeer. Head to Wunder Garten on the weekends for Oktoberfest brews and German-style beers. On Fridays, local favorite Cafe Berlin provides German cuisine and the popular Bavarian Olympics also return (think stein-holding contests and drinking games) and on the weekends, On Sundays, Dogtoberfest can be enjoyed from 12-3 p.m., allowing you to bring along your pup in his or her favorite themed costume. Now through Oct 10
Wanderlust, no passport required. NoMa hosts Cinomatic, a weekly outdoor movie series, showcasing movies to let you unleash your wanderlust. Titles include Moana, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Crazy Rich Asians and Mama Mia. Food and beverages from local purveyors will be available for purchase. Free. Now through Nov 10
Oh, what a night. Spend the night with Ford's Theater and witness a remarkable new drama based on the real-life friendship between contralto Marian Anderson and physicist Albert Einstein. Based on true events, My Lord, What a Night takes you into Einstein’s home and imagines the conversations and circumstances that led to Anderson’s historic concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Ticket required. Oct 1 - 24
Kid 'N' Play. After many fits and starts, plus COVID, the National Children's Museum has reopened with interactive exhibitions that showcase engineering, technology and science to inspire kiddos to learn and play like never before. Limited capacity, tickets required. Open now
Open roads. Open Streets returns to Georgia Avenue NW — the first in a series of Open Streets events across all eight wards to be held in 2021-2022. Close to three miles will be open to residents and visitors to walk, bike, run and scooter through, and visitors will have opportunities to support local businesses and participate in a range of activities such as demonstrations, fitness classes, and other educational and entertainment programming. With yoga classes, double dutch demonstrations, a drum circle, SkateDC clinic, and music from LaMarvela, Baba Ras D, The Honey Larks, and UCB, there is truly something for everyone! Free. Oct 2
Adams Morgan is alive with the sound of music. Spend an afternoon strolling along the streets of Adams Morgan listening to music during Adams Morgan Porchfest as porches, patios and sidewalks in the neighborhood are turned into stages for free music of all genres. Free. Oct 2
Kreeger Saturdays. Be inspired by the art gallery and sculpture garden at Kreeger art museum every Saturday in October, featuring yoga, live music, sketching and kid-friendly art activity. Ticket required. Oct 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30
Turn it up at Franklin Park. The newly renovated Franklin Park hosts its inaugural concert series, Rock the Park DC, every Saturday in October. This family-friendly outdoor music series features a diverse line-up of live music and DJ sets from local favorites to international headliners. covering a wide spectrum of genres including jazz, soul, R&B, reggae, hip-hop, electronic and soulful house music. Free. Oct 2 - 30
Southeast DC gets groovy. Porchfest DC brings performance artists and burgeoning communities east of the river together for the third annual music crawl. Free. Oct 3
Walk on the sweet side. Explore Georgetown's history and foliage with an added dose of sweet treats from Baked and Wired and macarons from Olivia Macaron with the Frosting and Foliage Georgetown Walking Tour. Ticket required. Oct 3
Celebrate Hill Center's birthday. Historic Hill Center turns 10 with a Family Day celebration that will include a concert, magic show, and wagon rides, interactive games and crafts, a magician, face-painting, and balloon animals. Free. October 3
The Turks are coming. The American Turkish Association of Washington, DC is bringing Aegean Türkiye to the Wharf for the free Turkish Festival at The Wharf. This year's festival theme is Turkaegean: Coast of Happiness. The event includes live music, folk dancing performances, fortune telling, cultural events and more. Enjoy authentic Turkish cuisines and shop Turkish ceramic bowls, carpets and other cultural items from local vendors. Free. Oct 3
Spanish play. Spotlight on Contemporary Spanish Theater, an initiative organized by the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, in collaboration with Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays and AENY – Spanish Artists in New York stages White on White, a story that depicts the threatening ecological effects of global climate change on the Arctic’s majestic polar bears. Told through three alpha characters, two humans and a female polar bear, they tentatively interact and clash as they stake their claim on a shared space that is slowly melting and vanishing. Told in English. Free. Oct 5
Get international film series ticket. Tune in for Films Across Borders, a series of critically acclaimed films, documentaries and shorts from around the world. Co-presented by American University in partnership with embassy cultural organizations, arts institutions and environmental groups, the series focuses on a distinctive timely and compelling theme each year. Now in its seventh year, the 2021 cinematic series features stories of change, transformation and renewal in all walks of life and across continents. Ticket required; check dates/times for each location. Oct 5 - Nov (TBD)
Jam out in the parking lot. Following a successful outdoor music series, Comet Ping Pong will host a Fall Outdoor Music Series featuring artists ranging from folk to o jazz to bluegrass to indie rock; each performance will feature a comedy opening act to be announced. Limited space, reservations required. Now through the end of October
The temperatures are dropping, you're suddenly craving cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes and walking through piles of crisp leaves. Experience fall to the fullest with Curious Caravan's hand-picked recommendations of the best off-the-beaten path spots to enjoy fall foliage in DC.
Paint and sip. Enjoy two complimentary glasses of wine at a DIY Wine and Watercolors painting class at Steadfast Supply with art inspired by maker designs. Ticket required. Oct 6
Dupont walking tour and game night. Join DC Design Tours and the Woodrow Wilson House in Dupont Circle for a guided walk, exploring the Gilded Age era of Dupont Circle with opulent mansions, grand embassies and sordid scandals of the Washington elite. The tour concludes at the authentically furnished home of our 28th President, where snacks, drinks, and vintage games from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Ticket required. Oct 6
Jazz at Canal Park. Let's groove tonight on Wednesdays in October with live jazz at Canal Park performed by local groups, including fave Crush Funk Brass. Free. Oct 6, 13 and 20
Salsa under the stars. Enjoy a night under the stars at Embassy Row for Rooftop Night in Havana under the Stars with salsa lessons followed by dancing to a Latin band. Ticket required. Oct 8
Drink wine with Washington. Chill out on the historic grounds of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate for celebration of wine followed by a sunset tour of the property at the Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour. Tickets required. Oct 8 - 10
Get your hops on. Expect a mind-boggling selection of no fewer than 450 highly sought-after brews on draft from 200+ of the finest American and international producers with local food trucks and two stages of live music at the Snallygaster beer festival. Oct 9
Pretty ponies. It's not as frou-frou as you might think. Enjoy watching the last, fast-paced, twilight polo match of the season at the beautiful polo fields in Poolesville, MD. Oct 10
Hike and hops. Gear up for a moderate guided hike to of the Piedmont Overlook Loop in Sky Meadows State Park with REI, followed by a farm-to-pint brewing experience and pint at Dirt Farm Brewing. Ticket required. Oct 10
Celebrate fall on the farm. Enjoy a flavorful fall bounty on A Night on the Farm without leaving the city. Common Good City Farm's signature farm-to-table dinner and fundraising event features a succulent sit-down menu courtesy of La Jambe. Tickets required. Oct 19
Book club. Join Louise Penny & Hillary Rodham Clinton as they discuss their new book State of Terror, during a virtual talk with Politics and Prose. The upcoming political-thriller follows a novice Secretary of State who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. With insight only HRC could provide and meticulously constructed twists only Penny could write, let's just say we cannot wait for October! Oct 13
Alma Thomas & Friends Happy Hour. Alma Thomas' famous art circles serve as the basis of a virtual happy hour hosted by the National Museum of Women in the Arts where you'll make a a specialty cocktail in Alma’s honor and expect artworks and stories from the Washington Color School and the Little Paris Group, frequent collaborators of Thomas. Fanna Gebreyesus, curatorial associate at Glenstone Museum, will serve as guest speaker. Free, registration required. Oct 13
Black Panther in Concert. Relive the excitement of T’Challa becoming king and battling Killmonger as the NSO performs Ludwig Göransson’s Oscar-winning score live to picture for the very first time. Ticket required. Oct 14 - 16
Raise a glass. Sip curated wineries at the DC Wine Festival, a multi-session, all-day, all-night vino experience with premium wine and live entertainment. Ticket required. Oct 16
Get spooked at Congressional Cemetery. Trespass into the past and discover the secrets of some of Congressional Cemetery’s “residents.” Soul Strolls, the Cemetery’s annual twilight tours, explore the stories of individuals buried here through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Experience the history of this hallowed ground exactly the way it should be experienced in October – in twilight and darkness, happening upon vignettes and individuals. Ticket required. October 15-16 and October 22 -23
Walk like a pumpkin. Take a self-guided tour of book-themed pumpkins and scarecrows on a Pumpkin Walk across the Capitol Hill neighborhood to celebrate the season and a love of literature. Free. Oct 23 - 31
The "N" word. Keegan Theatre stages the premiere of N, a fascinating historical drama about racism in American theatre based on a true story, about the first American play to feature a Black actor in the lead role on Broadway and how one man who rose to fame and the other who was lost to history. Oct 23 - Nov 20
Let's get physical. Try your hand at hikyoga (hiking meets yoga, get it?) and explore Constitution Gardens, a real DC hidden gem. After the all-levels class, continue your outdoor adventure by walking around the park! Ticket required. Oct 24
Off to the races. All tea, no shade: the High Heel Race is one of DC’s most fun and unique events as thousands of spectators pack the Dupont Circle Neighborhood to watch hundreds of costumed drag queens show off their extravagant outfits & race down 17th Street, NW. The event will be lively with entertainment, a parade, and much more! Free. Oct 26
Pride and Prejudice and zombies, oh my. Celebrate Halloween with a scary spin on a Jane Austen classic! Bring a picnic dinner and your best Halloween costume to take in this spooky edition of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on the lawn of Dumbarton House. Ticket required. Oct 29
Everything is Beautiful. The highly anticipated exhibit that serves as the inspiration for a months-long celebration of Thomas debuts at Phillips Collection. Everything is Beautiful will trace Thomas' journey from Georgia to DC and beyond through artworks and archival assets, showcasing the artist’s wide-reaching influence, dynamic artistic practices, intriguing interest in puppetry and more. Oct 30 - Jan 23, 2022
Let's do the timewarp again. Events DC hosts a screening of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Entertainment and Sports Arena on Halloween night. Bruce Bostwick (the original “Brad Majors”) will provide a special on-screen greeting before the show begins. Make sure to come dressed in costume. Ticket required. Oct 31
Get spooked in Adams Morgan. AdMo gets decorated for Halloween as local animators, illustrators and motion designers create wicked window animations and looped projections displayed onto storefronts and buildings for a spooky spectacle during the neighborhoods annual Frames of Fear. Free. Oct 30 - 31
Girls on Film. The National Gallery of Art new exhibit, "The New Woman Behind the Camera" showcases photos from more than 120 women photographers around the world who embraced the new role of female photographers and rewrote the rules of modern photography from the 1920s to the 1950s. Free. Oct 31 through Jan 30 2022
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Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it