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 the area’s best pumpkin patches and fall activities and our list of the Top Apple Picking Orchards in the DC Area.
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 last days of summer. We hope you find many ways to safely enjoy time with your family as we usher in a beautiful fall season.
Now – November 13
Visitors to this multi-sensory show will be given the opportunity to celebrate the Black experience. The Immersive Gallery will provide a stunning visual experience. Guests can even virtually “try on” African masks. Adding to the visual exploration are rhythmic drums and the narration of Ursula Rucker, a poet and musician.
Now – January 8
National Children’s Museum
Inside Out is a really entertaining animated movie that explores the emotions of a young girl as she navigates moving, growing up, and leaving friends behind. With the aid of hands-on and digital experiences, this exhibit uses the film to help kids recognize emotions and how they are expressed. Some activities include exploring the range and intensity of emotions at the Control Panel, creating a glowing Memory Sphere (as depicted in the movie), or creating and performing a story at Dream Productions. This exhibit is recommended for kids ages 2 – 10.
Seventeen porches and stoops in the Adams Morgan neighborhood will turn into concert spaces from 2pm to 6pm. Around 70 bands representing nearly every genre, including rock, classical, go-go, rap, and blue grass, will entertain your family as you wander the tree-lined neighborhood streets and area local businesses. You can get an event map and a free wristband that will give you discounts at a variety of neighborhood businesses at event headquarters (at Truist Bank Plaza). Attendance is free.
If you have ever admired the houseboats at Southwest DC’s waterfront from the dock, now is your chance to actually see the inside of these unique homes. Twenty live-aboard vessels, including houseboats, housebarges, cruisers, and sailboats, will be open for self-guided tours. The boat owners will be present to answer any questions visitors may have. This is a ticketed event and they do sell out, so make sure you purchase yours soon. Proceeds will go to charities in Southwest DC.
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. In previous years, the event has included activities such as guided walks and fishing.
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 Fan Appreciation Night and will include a fireworks display. And although the NWSL season is coming to a close, DC has been chosen as the site of the 2022 NWSL Championship Game to be held on October 29th. Tickets are already on sale for that event.
Rock Creek Park
This free event gives the public an opportunity to stargaze in the middle of the city. For over 70 years, the National Park Service and the National Capital Astronomers have cohosted the event. This session will include views of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and several globular clusters. NCA provides telescopes, but guests can also bring their own.
Carroll Ave to Carroll St. NW
Takoma Park, MD
For 41 years, this family-friendly festival has brought together community residents and visitors for a day of fun. Three stages will host 18 bands providing 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 and onsite food trucks.
October 5 and 12
Alethia Tanner Park
On Wednesday evenings through October 12th, join the NoMa BID for CiNoMatic, its free outdoor movie series. On October 5th, your family can enjoy the musical fun of Encanto and on the 12th, the magic of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is sure to cast a spell. The movies will begin at sunset, but attendees can show up an hour before to claim their spot and get food from onsite food trucks. Don’t forget to bring your own blankets or chairs!
October 6 – 10
The newest Disney on Ice show will have kids singing along as Anna and her friends race to find Else and stop an eternal winter. Then, the fun moves from winter’s ice and snow to the warmth of Columbia where Mirabel works with her family to save their beloved Casita and they celebrate the love of family. All attendees 2 and over must have ticket. Check out the website for information about a Character Experience add-on that includes a dance party, crafting, and interactive time with Anna and Elsa.
The energy and fun of the MasterChef Junior TV Show is coming to DC for a live stage production. Season 8’s winner, finalists, and fan favorites will conduct cooking demonstrations and take part in fun and messy challenges. This interactive show is sure to delight foodies of all ages.
October 8 – 9
Four blocks of downtown Bethesda will turn into an outdoor art gallery featuring the work of 165 fine artists and crafters from across the country. Artisans of jewelry, sculpture, glassworks, paintings, metalworks, and more will present and sell their work. This highly-rated arts festival is free to attend.
National Museum of Natural History
Where better to celebrate National Fossil Day than the National Museum of Natural History? The Museum is offering a variety of kid-friendly activities such as a fossil “dig,” making a fossil rubbing, observing experts at work in the FossiLab, and more. Kids can even earn a Junior Paleontologist’s badge. All activities are free and designed for kids ages 3-10.
October 13 – 15
This new festival aims to highlight DC as a global food city. Three different events will offer guests the opportunity to celebrate and learn about food cultures from around the world. Tickets to the October 13th Embassy Chef Challenge are sold out. However, tickets are still available for the Taste of Oktoberfest on October 14th. This event, created in partnership with the German-American Heritage Foundation and the German Embassy, will give guests the experience of Oktoberfest in Munich complete with German beer, food, and music. On October 15th, a free Día de los Muertos festival will take place in Franklin Park. This family-friendly event, hosted in partnership with the Embassy of Mexico, will have traditional foods, cultural activities, performances, as well as a market. Additionally, an interactive screening of Coco will be shown. This event is free, but registration is required.
After several years of renovations, the National Air and Space Museum in DC will reopen with eight brand new galleries. The galleries offer visitors an opportunity to explore air travel and space in new ways. Even though the museum is opening the new galleries, the museum’s renovations are not complete. One half of the museum will remain closed until its renovations are complete in 2025. All guests must obtain free timed-entry passes for their visit.
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Get an early start on Halloween by enjoying a free screening of this classic hit comedy. Bring a blanket, chairs, and a picnic when doors open at 7pm, though the film will not start until sundown. Guests must register online.
October 14 – 16
Frying Pan Farm Park
Head to Frying Pan Farm Park for a weekend full of fall fun. On Friday, visitors will be able to explore a variety of large vehicles, such as tractors and a fire engine, at Big Truck Night. Throughout the weekend, carnival rides and games will delight your family (tickets can be purchased onsite) and a variety of fair food will be available for purchase. On Saturday and Sunday, Fall Harvest Days gives families the opportunity to meet farm animals and learn how to do various farm tasks such as milking a cow, shelling corn, and peeling apples.
October 15 and 22
Gala Hispanic Theater
This bilingual production for young audiences tells the story of Sylvia Méndez, an eight year old girl who became the face of the landmark case to desegregate California schools to Latinx children in the 1940s. The play uses poetry and music to tell the powerful story of how Méndez inspired people young and old to fight for change. Tickets are available online. Please note that if attendees need English subtitles, they should purchase tickets in particular rows (designated when you purchase tickets) for better visibility.
Pennsylvania Ave, NW (between 3rd and 7th Street)
The American Turkish Association of Washington, DC is bringing Aegean Türkiye to Washington, DC. This year, organizers will celebrate the 20th anniversary of this fun, free, family-friendly event. Attendees will enjoy live music, folk dancing performances, fortune telling, cultural events, kids activities, and more. Authentic Turkish cuisine and arts and crafts will be available for purchase.
Kennedy Center’s REACH Plaza
This free, family-friendly event is inspired by Jacqueline Woodson’s book, The World Belonged to Us. It will be packed with loads of fun performances, games, and activities. Spend the afternoon enjoying jazz, Go-Go, and Second Line musical performances. There will be double Dutch and roller skating demos. Kiddos will be a able to take part in fort building, hula hooping, sidewalk chalk, hopscotch and more! Food will be available for purchase. Reserving tickets is recommended, though not required. If you pre-reserve tickets, you will receive a voucher to save over 50% off parking at the Kennedy Center.
October 22 – 23
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 bread 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.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Celebrate Día de los Muertos with a variety of activities to entertain the whole family. Ballet Folklorico Mi Herencia Mexicana, Mariachi Aguila DC, and Sol y Rumba will excite guests with their performances. Other crafts and activities, such as face painting, will be available. This event is free, but online registration is encouraged.
National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Latino and the National Museum of the American Indian are hosting a concert to celebrate Día de los Muertos which will feature the Grammy award-winning band, Quetzal. In addition to enjoying this bilingual rock group from East Los Angeles, guests will also be able to create paper butterflies for a display in honor of their loved ones.
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.