Summer is coming to an end. The school year is starting again and pumpkin spice is beginning to sneak its way back into almost everything, so Fall must be around the corner (Fall officially begins on September 23rd). This month, we can enjoy a prolonged summer at a few festivals and Labor Day celebrations.
Many DC neighborhoods are hosting festivals celebrating what makes their communities special. There are also several opportunities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. As the summer comes to a close, don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun for ideas on how to make the most of what is left of the season. We hope you find many ways to enjoy time with your family as the summer comes to an end.
August 26 – October 22
This annual festival, which draws huge crowds every year, will transport you back to 1536. You will wander among knights, princesses, fairies, minstrels, and more at this craft show/festival/cosplay opportunity. Visitors will be entertained by over 200 performers. There is fair food and ale. Little ones can play in the children’s area that includes a pirate ship. Tickets are required and advance purchase is suggested. Refer to the event website for all sorts of information that will make your experience more enjoyable.
August 30 – September 3
Celebrate the art of jazz over Labor Day weekend. Over 30 venues in the area will host over 100 concerts throughout the Festival (info regarding all shows will be released soon). The Wharf DC will host DC Jazz Fest on September 2nd and 3rd. This event will include a hugely entertaining lineup on multiple indoor and outdoor stages. Check out the website for schedules and ticketing information.
September 1 – 4
For 69 years, the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival has delighted adults and kids of all ages. Attendees will also be able to enjoy the annual parade, carnival games, craft fair, musical performances, and Bingo. Those with a competitive spirit can take part in a variety of competitions including corn hole, table tennis tournament, pie eating contest, and much more. Please check the website for an updated schedule and its Facebook page for the most up to date information.
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
From noon until 1pm, join the Grammy-nominated Culture Queen in a celebration of Hispanic American Heritage Month. Children are invited to take part in fun and engaging activities such as music, movement, storytelling, and crafts as a way to celebrate the people, milestones, and things that matter most to them. This event is FREE, but attendees are asked to register online.
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol
The National Symphony Orchestra’s annual Labor Day Concert will once again entertain folks on West Lawn of the Capitol. The concert is FREE and no ticket is required. Seating is first-come, first-served.
This annual Labor Day celebration includes a parade with loads of entertaining acts such as marching bands, floats, equestrian show groups and more. Visitors to the festival will enjoy the food and drink vendors and other family-friendly activities along Armory Avenue. The parade and festival will both kick off at 10am. Check out the festival website for more information.
The Textile Museum
This FREE family-friendly event has celebrated D.C.’s quilting community for 42 years. Attendees will enjoy weaving, spinning, and lacemaking demonstrations, square-dancing lessons, and a DJ. You and your little ones will be able to make a quilted square, enjoy a story time, and meet D.C.-area quilters who are keeping traditions alive or innovating what a quilt can be. This event does not require registration.
National Museum of the American Indian
Celebrate a part of Guatemala’s cultural heritage during these concerts highlighting traditional marimba music. Performances by Marimba Maya Awal, Marimba Mi Pequeña Internacional, and Marimba Linda Xelajú will demonstrate the music that can be made with this instrument and symbol of Guatemalan national identity. If you can’t make it to the museum for this FREE event, you can enjoy the performances livestreamed at AmericanIndian.si.edu/livestream.
West Potomac Park (Starting Line)
If your family enjoys biking together, you’re sure to enjoy this unique opportunity to bike 20 miles of car-free DC streets. The route will take riders past our area’s iconic monuments and also offer stops along the way to enjoy food and live music. Riders age three and over and those of all riding abilities are welcome. Riders 3-7 years old can register for free, but must ride on a child bike seat, tagalong bike, or tandem bike, in a bike trailer or in a bike cargo. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry! You can rent a bike and helmet to participate in the event. Participants can continue the celebration after the ride at the Finish Festival. The Festival will be held in front of the U.S. Capitol and offer live music, food trucks, and family-friendly activities.
Takoma Park Middle School and Lee Jordan Field
Takoma Park, MD
This FREE annual event, organized by volunteers, celebrates folk music and the arts. This year, there is quite a lineup for the festival’s multiple stages. There is also a juried craft show. Check the event website for a schedule of performers and additional event updates.
Adams Morgan Neighborhood
For 45 years, the Adams Morgan Day festival has highlighted the history and the diverse and creative cultures of the neighborhood. It is a family-friendly celebration with music, art, and activities for all ages. Attendance and entertainment are FREE. The festival’s diverse music lineup is always phenomenal and the “Family Fun Zone” offers activities that kids will especially enjoy. Additionally, families can watch and participate in demonstrations of dance styles from around the world at Dance Plaza.
H Street NE (between 3rd and 14th Streets)
Attendees can expect to see a variety of music, dance, youth performers, poets, and fashion shows as they wander the 11 blocks of the festival. There will also be a lot of food options, art vendors, and informational booths. In previous years, there have been children’s music performers, bounce houses, and more family-friendly activities. Check the website for this FREE event for more information as it is updated.
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Spend a day of family fun at the cottage that the Lincoln family called home during the Civil War. During this Homecoming celebration, families can run or walk in a 5K (register for the 5K here). There are also going to be pony rides, a petting zoo, arts and crafts, and much more. If you want to tour the cottage, it is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance.
Celebrate Oktoberfest by cheering on a bunch of dachshunds racing down a 70 yard track!
The 11th Annual Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash is FREE to attend as a spectator, but you must register your dachshund online if it is going to take part in the races. Don’t have a dachshund? Don’t worry. Your faithful, furry friend can participate in the all-breed dog costume contest. There is no need to sign up in advance for the costume contest.
September 16 and 17
Mount Vernon Estate
Mount Vernon, VA
Discover the 18th century at the annual Colonial Market & Fair. Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field will be filled with the sights and sounds of the marketplace. Attendees will be able to interact with a variety of colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. There will also be colonial music, crafting, and more fun for the whole family. Admission to the Colonial Market & Fair is included in admission to the Estate. Tickets are available online.
September 21 – October 29
Glen Echo, MD
Join Charlie Brown as he ponders life’s big questions with the rest of the Peanuts gang. This production is great for little ones who haven’t yet been introduced to the iconic Peanuts characters, and for those who already love the this group of friends. This show runs for about an hour.
800 Block of Upshur Street NW
A group of volunteer residents organizes this FREE festival which celebrates “the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods.” In addition to music, food, and games, attendees can enjoy a dog show! There will be a Kids Zone hosting a full day of family-friendly activities and music. Check out the event website for a full schedule of events.
National Portrait Gallery
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the National Portrait Gallery is once again teaming up with renowned children’s book publisher Lil’ Libros to host this bilingual event. Visitors will enjoy story times, book signings, live entertainment, and gallery tours. Latinx heroes will be explored through Gallery portraits and the Lil’ Libros book series, The Life of / La Vida de. And don’t miss the salsa and bomba workshops led by The Washington Ballet!
Silver Spring Civic Center at Veterans Plaza
Silver Spring, MD
This annual celebration of African heritage is back at the Civic Center at Veterans Plaza. It is the culmination of a number of events promoting African heritage in Montgomery County throughout the month of September. Attendees will be treated to live performances, arts and crafts, African cuisine, and African fashion. This event is FREE to attend.
September 23 and 24
Pennsylvania Ave NW between 3rd and 7th Streets (Festival)
Constitution Ave NW (Sunday Parade)
Fiesta DC has been celebrating Latino culture for 50 years. This family-friendly annual celebration will feature the Fiesta DC Festival on both Saturday and Sunday. The festival will include entertainment, food vendors, and educational and community information. On Sunday, the “Parade of Nations” will include Native Latino cultural dance troupes as well as civic organizations, schools, and performers. Check out the website for a schedule of performers.
Smithsonian Asian Art Museum
This FREE event gives families a chance to learn about the Museum’s exhibition, Anyang: China’s Ancient City of Kings. Family-friendly activities will be offered throughout the day, including scavenger hunts, exciting stories, sketching, and more. This event is geared for children 5 and older.
Gather the family and head to Nationals Park for the 13th season of FREE opera broadcasts brought to you by the Washington National Opera. Attendees will enjoy a broadcast of La Bohème performed in Italian with projected English subtitles. This family-friendly evening will also include pre-opera fun like balloon animal creations, arts and crafts, an instrument petting zoo, and more. There will also be pre-opera entertainment including a dance performance by Step Afrika, music from the WNO Opera Orchestra, and a magic show by Music the Magnificent. Attendees can bring blankets for first-come first-served spots in the outfield or can choose seating in the stands.
September 30 – October 1
John Carlyle Square
This annual art festival is rated as one of the top 100 art shows in Sunshine Artist Magazine. For the 21st year, attendees will be able to peruse juried art from gifted artists in regions from all over the country. Check out the event website for a list of scheduled exhibitors. Admission is FREE.