121. Top 10 Things to do in DC This fall for Families

Posted at September 20, 2011 by 0 Comment

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Now that October is upon us, it is time to put away your open-toed shoes, grab your new sweaters and jackets and look forward to Autumn because the Washington DC area is beautiful and even more picturesque this time of the year. For those travelers planning to visit our nation’s capital, there are plenty of fun things to do in D.C. Here is my list of the unique things you can do in the D.C area during the fall season.

10. National Book Festival


Just walking along the National Mall during a brisk Fall day and taking in the majesty of the museums and the memorials is an experience in and of itself when visiting DC, but from Sept. 24th to September 25th,the National Book Festival takes over the mall, between 7th and 14th streets.  The event is organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and Pres. Obama and Michelle Obama will be honorary chairs.  People will have the opportunity to meet authors, poets and illustrators and school children get a chance to have books read to them by celebrities.  A fun time of learning can be had by all.

9.  Stop Modern Slavery Walk

On October 22, thousands of people will descend upon the National Mall with the same purpose in mind, to raise human awareness of the human trafficking.  The event is organized completely by volunteers and the proceeds go to DC based organizations that advocate for the cause, as well aiding the people who have escaped these hardships.  If you want to show solidarity and help make a real difference, you can join in with others on a 3.1 mile walk along the Mall.

8. Hay ride on a local pumpkin patch.


Let’s face it, kids love pumpkins.  You love your kids, and if you’re heading to D.C. in the fall, there are plenty of opportunities to see pumpkins up close. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate a hay ride but if you have kids there is something about a ride through a pumpkin patch that gets them to appreciate the beauty of nature.  Butler’s Orchard, in Germantown, MD and Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD are two options for annual pumpkin festivals that offer hay rides, held weekends throughout October.

7. National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration

There are various events in the DC that honor and celebrate the contribution that Hispanic people have made to this country and their deep, proud heritage in Mexico, Spain, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Throughout September, the Smithsonian will have an exhibit that focuses on the Mexican Revolution and its impact on the U.S.  The National Gallery of Art offers many displays and collections that highlight Hispanic heritage, through October 15th.  A visit to the International Festival of Hispanic Theatre in Arlington, VA will be the place to take in the top Latin American theatre troupes, from Oct-11th, through November 19th.

6.  Maryland Renaissance Festival


Take a trip back to medieval times when you attend the Maryland Renaissance Festival which is being held through October. It is a fun idea for the family, held in Anne Arundel County, about 30 miles from Washington, DC. Your kids will enjoy learning about the past in a fun environment.  The festival has everything you’d expect from a renaissance fair; from knights jousting in full armor, to fire eaters, to music and free pony rides.

5. Explore the C&O Canal

One of the aspects of the Washington DC area in autumn that makes it stand apart is the sheer beauty of the fall foliage. Residents and visitors alike both flock to parks to witness the spectrum of colors in the leaves that is usually at its most visually stunning in mid-to-late October.  The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is a historic park that offers beautiful surroundings to go hiking, biking, fishing and kayaking Of course, you can always just sit and take in the majesty of nature.

4. Apple picking in Maryland

Nothing says day trip in autumn like a drive to a farm to go apple picking.  If you’re visiting the DC area in the fall, whether with the kids or on a romantic getaway, spending a day apple picking is a relaxing excursion in the heart of nature. Many local Dc farms also host hay rides for the kids.  At the Rock Hill Orchard, located in Mount airy, MD, you can pick your own apples from the trees, as well as cut your own flowers from their cutting garden. There are many orchards and farms in the area to enjoy the tradition of apple picking

3. Fall Harvest Family Days- Mt. Vernon


Mt. Vernon is a majestic edifice and a beautiful testament to our first president. It is located along the shores of the Potomac River and might be the best place way to spend a day in the DC area, as it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.  Mt. Vernon holds an annual event called Fall Harvest Family Days from Oct.22-23, which has fun-filled activities for the family to enjoy like wagon rides, blacksmith demonstrations, apple-roasting and early American games and music.

2. Oktoberfest

It doesn’t take an Einstein to understand why Americans have long embraced Oktoberfests, the German tradition of celebrating the fall season with beer and music.   Bring your lederhosen to Biergarten Haus, located in DC and enjoy the 11 additional drafts they add to their menu for the festival. Blob’s Park in MD, lays claim to being the home of the first Oktoberfest and has 80 beers from across the world in stock.  Bring your thirst, an appetite for a good time and a designated driver and you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a bad German accent.

1.    Halloween in DC at the National Zoo


If you are planning a trip in the fall, Halloween is extra spooky in DC.  The politicians won’t be trick or treating, but there are plenty of treats in store for your kids and adults at the National Zoo. From Oct.21-23, the National Zoo is holding a ìBoo at the Zooî event and will decorate the zoo in a spooky way.  Your kids will get a kick out of trick-or-treating there and walking haunted trails set up. They can see bats, spiders and owls to get them in the spirit. The National Zoo also has an adult-themed Halloween party called ìNight at the Living Zoo,î where you can enter a costume contest, listen to live music and dance to the ultimate DC dead man’s party.

Hope you have a blast this fall!

If your planning your next trip and need a Washington DC car rental be sure to visit  RentACarNow.com, a friend of this blog. They search all major car rentals (Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Alamo and more) with a single click.

Return Home for even more fun Things to do in DC.  Photo Credit: Angela B. Pan

About rohan

Accountant, foodie, semi-extrovert, and travel addict, bringing you a list of the most awesome Things to do in Washington DC. So, was this post helpful? I'd like to hear ALL your feedback. Comment below and I'll respond right away.

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