From vibrant foliage and waterfront views to family-friendly festivals, there’s an endless amount of things to see and do this fall in the District. Catch D.C.’s Halloween events and explore free and interactive museums across the city. Just make sure to save time to take in the sights along the National Mall in full autumn splendor.
Here are just a few of the wide variety of family-friendly fall events in and around the greater D.C. region.
Eye Spy Halloween Trains
Saturday, October 30 – 31, 2021 – 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. – Cabin John Regional Park
The popular Eye Spy Trains are back for Halloween. Great for families of all ages, Montgomery Parks’ Cabin John Miniature Train will take a ride through “Trainslyvania.” To guarantee your seat on your ideal train date and time, purchase your tickets in advance on ActiveMONTGOMERY.org. Online ticket sales close one day prior to the scheduled ride. A limited number of tickets may be purchased on-site, but ride times will not be guaranteed.
Celebrate Día de los Muertos
October 30, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – Smithsonian American Art Museum
There is fun for the whole family during this virtual performance. Watch as Ballet Folklórico Mi Herencia Mexicana demonstrate several Mexican folk dances including El Toro Viejo from Sinaloa and the popular, El Son de La Negra from Jalisco. Learn more about Día de los Muertos as the dancers and explain the history behind their dance traditions.
Continue celebrating Día de los Muertos on SAAM’s Latinx Heritage Family Zone, where you can learn more about Día de los Muertos, make crafts, do coloring pages, and watch videos about this traditional Mexican celebration.
For more activities, check out the Family Zone for seasonal crafts, coloring pages, videos, and more.
Treasure Hunting in Wheaton Regional Park
November 6, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Brookside Nature Center
Geocaching is a fun way to get outside and explore. With the help of a Park Naturalist, participants will hike Wheaton Regional Park looking for and finding caches. All attendees must register and pay. Make sure to dress for the weather and for natural surface trail conditions. Download the free Geocaching app before you come. Bring your cellular phone, water bottle and trail snacks. Registration for Treasure Hunting programs closes the Thursday immediately prior to each program date and directions to the trailhead/meeting place will be emailed to all registrants in advance. Rain cancels.
Zoo Lights at the Maryland Zoo
November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022 – 5:00 p.m. – Maryland Zoo
Drive or walk through the Maryland Zoo‘s festival of wildlife-shaped lights. The drive-through is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, while the walk-through is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. If you choose to walk through, you can visit Zoo Central for snacks, hot chocolate, and free carousel and train rides.
Advance reservations are required. Purchase tickets on the website.
Downtown Holiday Market
November 19, 2021 – December 23, 2021 – 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery
The Downtown Holiday Market is celebrating its 17th year. Featuring more than 70 regional artisans, crafters, and boutique businesses of ethically produced goods, the market brings a unique and festive shopping village to the heart of downtown DC. Two blocks of F Street, from 7th to 9th, will be closed to traffic for the entirety of the market. There will also be a live stage featuring regional performers.
Juniors: The Roaring Twenties
November 20, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Tudor Place Historic House & Garden
Travel back in time to learn about the women who lived and worked at Tudor Place in the 1920s. Create a 1920s character, plan a living history party and earn the Girl Scouts’ Playing the Past Badge. This program is perfect for girls and troops who want to get up and move, think imaginatively, explore local history, and have fun along the way.
Note: This is an in-person program. Please review the Tudor Place Health and Safety Guidelines before registering and attending.
Moomin Animations: Thrills + Cuddles – The Music of Moominvalley
November 20, 2021 – 10:30 a.m. – National Children’s Museum
Join composers Samuli Kosminen and Jarmo Saari via live stream for a musical ride to the fantasy world of Moomins. Hear more about how the heart-warming score music of the award-winning Moominvalley TV series (Gutsy Animations, 2019) was made. Discover the most bizarre instruments used to create the perfect sound. Use your ears to watch scenes, discover the sounds different instruments make and learn more about the basics of composing.
This event will take place both virtually + in person:
- To attend in person, please reserve tickets to visit National Children’s Museum for November 20, 2021, during the morning session from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
- To attend virtually, please visit the event page and register using the form provided.
LuminoCity Festival: Shine Again
October 15, 2021 – January 1, 2022 – 6:00 p.m. – Roer’s Zoofari
Inspired by the traditional art of Chinese lantern festivals, the LuminoCity Festival features exhibitions of spectacular light art displays and is a celebration of cultures and the world around us.
The festival will be open on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from October 15 to January 2. The hours are 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Limited on-site parking will be available and parking tickets must be purchased in advance. Masks and social distancing are required, as is advance timed-ticket purchase.
Whether you’re looking for a fall date activity, family fun day, or something to enjoy a little “me-time,” be sure to get out and enjoy the festivities that Washington DC has to offer! Take in the beauty of the autumn leaves, crisp weather, and seasons changing – Happy Fall!