This guide is brought to you in partnership with City Bonfires, the personal, portable, reusable, locally made bonfire. These bonfires are a great way to make memorable fall memories together. And they make a great gift too!
October brings an end to the summer heat and so much family fun that one guide simply does not suffice. This month’s guide to family-friendly events includes outings sure to please every member of your family. Whether your crew is interested in food, history, music, sports, or outdoor fun, we’ve got you covered. As you try to decide how to spend these glorious weekends (and weekdays), please also take a look at our super useful Guide to Pumpkin Patches and Fall Fun and our list of the Top Apple Picking Orchards in the DC Area. And please look at our Halloween Guide for Halloween-themed activities in the area.
October Events in Washington, DC
DC Area Moms was established to build a sense of community among all moms in the DMV. It is with this care and concern for everyone in our communities that we encourage you to follow the ever-changing COVID protocols of the venues and events you attend as you enjoy these fun Fall days. Also, you can keep up to date on the latest CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people and those who are unvaccinated. We hope you find many ways to safely enjoy time with your family during this eventful season.
Now – October 31
This play relays the tale of Nana Lupita, a Wisconsin grandmother, growing up in 1960s Texas. As her story unfolds, Lupita’s life as a teen tomboy comes alive – bike riding with her friends, working at her father’s flower stand, and lucha libre. When a World Championship match is announced, Lupita anticipates seeing it until she discovers her ailing father is one of the wrestlers. With the help of a magical mask maker, Lupita secretly trains to take her father’s place. She soon finds it difficult keeping her secret from her friends-and most importantly, her father.
Life of a Neuron
Now – November 28
Walk through a neuron, the “thinking cells” of the brain, and witness first-hand the beauty of one of science’s greatest mysteries: the human brain. Through collaboration with the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s leading scientists and creatives, this immersive exhibit will allow us to experience a neuron from pre-birth to death, providing an experiential view of life at a cellular level. All visitors ages 4 and up need a ticket to enter the space. It is recommended that attendees purchase tickets in advance.
National Landing Oktoberfest
From live bands and German Lagers to a Barktoberfest dog-run for pup-friendly activities and a variety of games to entertain all ages, this event has a little something for everyone. So, break out your lederhosen, and enjoy a variety of food trucks and vendors serving traditional (and not-so-traditional) German fare. This festival is a family-friendly and dog-friendly event. It is free to attend, but there will be an attendee cap and pre-registration is required. All attendees will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 48 hours along with their ticket. Unvaccinated individuals and children under 12 will be required to wear a mask.
Dia de Familia
La Cosecha Marketplace
Join La Cosecha for a day of family fun. Enjoy a meal at your favorite La Cosecha restaurant and shop its retailers while participating in the festivities. Your kids can create a Spanish kindness rock, listen to a DC Public Library Story Time, take part in a cajón workshop, play a lotería game, create candy art in a chocolate painting class, and enjoy a screening of Coco. Some activities require advance ticket purchase while some are free. Check out the event website for more information.
Porchfest DC: Southeast Edition
Penn Branch Community
Porchfest music festivals began as a means for neighbors and local community members to highlight artists on front porches. Bands, singers, and instrumentalists voluntarily take to the “stage” on porches at their designated times and perform for the public. The mission of organizers of this event is to spotlight emerging performance artists and burgeoning communities East of the River. Attendance is free, but organizers request that attendees RSVP. Follow the event on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for details regarding performers, performance locations, COVID precautions, and more.
Takoma Park Street Festival
Carroll Ave to Carroll St. NW
Takoma Park, MD
For 40 years, this family-friendly festival has brought together community residents and visitors for a day of family-friendly fun. Three stages will host 18 bands for all-day entertainment. Local artists will sell their creations – photographs, pottery, stained glass, jewelry, woodworking, and much more. Attendees can buy food from various local vendors or even get a mug for The Crawl, through which some Takoma Park restaurants and bars will offer discounted pours. Organizers ask that attendees be fully vaccinated and wear masks when not eating or drinking.
The American Turkish Association of Washington, DC is bringing Aegean Türkiye to Washington, DC. Join them on District Pier for the free Turkish Festival at The Wharf. This year’s festival theme is Turkaegean: Coast of Happiness. This free event will include 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.
NoMa Outdoor Movie Series
October 6, 13, and 27
Alethia Tanner Park
On Wednesday evenings through November 10th, join the NoMa BID for CiNoMatic (formerly NoMa Summer Screen). In October, family-friendly showings include The Farewell, Moana, and Coco. The fun begins one hour prior to showtime. Each week, attendees can enjoy exciting swag, a selection of local food and beverages for purchase, lawn games, and more. Movies begin at sunset. Guests are encouraged to arrive early, as seating is first come, first served. Movie-goers are encouraged to bring their own blankets or chairs.
Back to the Yards
The Yards Park
Yards Park will blast to the past for one night only as it transforms into a nostalgic 80s dance party, complete with throwback tunes and activities. Parents and kids of all ages are invited to learn groovy dance moves with breakdancers, create slap bracelets, scrunchies, and t-shirts, and jam out to a playlist of 80’s chart-toppers, one-hit wonders, and favorites. Glowing giveaways and an LED light up piano will make this a party for the ages. Admission is free and kids of all ages are welcome to attend.
Festival del Río Anacostia
Bladensburg Waterfront Park
This free, bilingual event aims to connect Latino residents with the Anacostia River and the many organizations that promote environmental education and outreach in the watershed. Activities include nature walks, fishing, and live performances. Food will be available for purchase.
We Are All Connected
Kennedy Center’s REACH Plaza
As part of the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary season celebration, Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems will work with 240 invited local community members to create a giant mural on the bluestone floor of the REACH Plaza. This exciting public art piece will be a huge graphic representation of how we’re all connected in unexpected ways. The playscape will be created throughout the day on Saturday, October 9th and remain installed until the winter. On the 9th, the REACH grounds will be filled art-making, live music, family-friendly activities, the return of the giant inflatable Pigeon, and more. Drop by for any portion of this free day of events, or stay for the entire creative process and be one of the first to dance and move on the completed artwork.
The Bethesda Row Arts Festival
October 9 – 10
Four blocks of downtown Bethesda will turn into an outdoor art gallery featuring the work of over 129 fine artists and crafters from across the country. Artisans of jewelry, sculpture, glassworks, paintings, metalworks, and more will present and sell their work. Live music will be performed throughout the weekend event. This highly-rated arts festival is free to attend.
Kids Euro Festival
October 9 and 16
Join the European Union and its Member States for one of the largest performing arts festivals for children in America, Kids Euro Fest! Hosted over two Saturdays, first at the French Embassy (October 9th) and then at the Swedish Embassy (October 16th), the Kids Euro Fest Family Days will feature in-person European performances, interactive workshops, food vendors, and music. Programming runs from 12pm – 4pm each day. As always, the event is free, but organizers request that attendees RSVP online. If you can’t attend in-person, check out a variety of on-demand programming you can enjoy from home from October 9 – 30.
Farm Harvest Days
Frying Pan Farm Park
At this family-friendly event, your kids can meet farm animals and watch demonstrations of traditional fall farm activities. Admission and parking are free. Attendees will also be able to play fun games and eat some yummy food!
USA Rugby vs. New Zealand
The USA Men’s National Team XVs will host the most successful rugby team in the sport’s history, the New Zealand All Blacks, for the first time ever in Washington, DC when they square off in the inaugural 1874 Cup. It will be the first time the All Blacks have played in the United States since 2016.
Fall Harvest Family Days
October 23 – 24
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon, VA
Experience the fall as families would have in colonial times. Learn from 18th-century demonstrations on Pioneer Farm, purchase food freshly made in an 18th-century-style oven, visit with colonial surveyors to learn how surveying was done, meet General Washington, and more. The cost for attending this event is included in the cost of admission to the Mount Vernon estate.
Jeff Kinney Big Shot Drive-Thru Tour
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial
Hooray for Books!, a locally-owned and independent book seller, is excited to host author Jeff Kinney as he launches his new book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Shot!” Families are encouraged to decorate their car for this sports-themed, drive-thru event (the family with the best decorated car will win a prize). Participants will receive a signed copy of Kinney’s latest book from the author himself! Tickets are required to participate and space is limited to 250 cars.
Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash
Cheer on our National Women’s Soccer League team as they take on the Houston Dash in the last game of the season. This particular game is the Spirit’s Kids Club Night Out. Check out the team’s website for more information on membership benefits and how to sign up for the Kids Club (for kids from 4 to 12 years old).
NSO Family Concert: Sleepover at the Museum
The Museum of Natural History is Mason’s favorite place to visit and he can’t wait to celebrate his birthday with a sleepover there, but first he has to scout for the best place to spend the night. Join Mason and his friends for a musical and scientific scavenger hunt through the many exhibits that make any museum special. This family-friendly concert includes music from and based on the book of the same name by Karen Lefrak. Current COVID protocols require proof of vaccination for all patrons of indoor performances. Some exemptions apply, such as children under 12, who must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before performance time.
We hope you enjoy this guide! If you know of additional family-friendly events in our area this month, please leave it in the comments below. Don’t forget that we also have a community calendar that lists other local events.