Fall Fun Washington DC

Where to Find the Best Fall Activities in Washington, DC

Cozy sweaters, crackling fires, and pumpkin patches are back, and I’m ready to enjoy every second of it. Whether you are looking for spooky corn mazes, kid-friendly pumpkin patches, or picturesque apple orchards, this is the list of fall activities in DC for you.

This post has been updated for Fall 2023 and will be updated closer to Labor Day as needed.

Banner with close up photos of pumpkins about where to find fall activities in DC

Fall Activities in DC

Congressional Cemetery Tours and Other Special Events: Head to the Congressional Cemetery by the Anacostia River for stories about great Americans. Enjoy Soul Strolls tours on October 20, 21, 27, and 28 leaving every 15 minutes each evening. Check the website for exact times and book early. In the past, these tours can sell out as early as September. Plus, look out for other special events like Tomes & Tombs Book Club (September 12) and a Dead Man 5K (October 14). 

DC Ghost Tours: DC Ghost Tours offers a 60-minute, 8-stop ghost tour starting at the Treasury Building. This tour is full of spooky stories about DC but not too scary for little ones. Tickets start at $25 for adults but increase to $35 closer to Halloween. You can choose to add an additional 30 minutes and 4 stops or check out the pub crawl tour.

Snallygaster: Snallygaster is back along Pennsylvania Ave on October 14 from 2 to 6 pm. $65 gets you unlimited tastings of beer, wine, and cocktails. Plus, enjoy food trucks and live music. Get tickets early – this event usually sells out.

Oktoberfest and Dia de los Muertos on the Wharf: Head to the Whart on September 15 to 17 for Oktoberfest. Enjoy special events like polka dancing and a stein hoisting competition plus German food, costumes, and Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer. Then, celebrate Dia de los Muertos on October 22 with live music, face painting, and a beer garden. Events on the Wharf are free to enter.

Pumpkinpalooza in NoMa: Head to Alethia Tanner Park in NoMa on Thursday, October 26 at 4 pm for a family-friendly afternoon of fall fun. Plus, enjoy movies at Alethia Tanner Park every Wednesday from September 13 to October 11.

Nightmare in Navy Yard: DC’s largest Halloween party returns on Saturday, October 28 at 8:30 PM for a night of dancing, drinks, and costumes. Enjoy 2 DJs, 5-hour open bar, spooky decorations, and a costume contest for $45. Food trucks will also be available for an additional cost. Get tickets early – the price goes up after September 30th.

Leaf Peeping: Some of the best parks to enjoy the changing leaves in DC area Rock Creek Park, Malcolm X Park, Theodore Rosevelt Island, and The National Arboretum.

National Arboretum Fall Path
National Arboretum in the fall

Pumpkin Patches and Festivals in Virginia

Leaf Peeping: There are many large parks in Virginia where you can enjoy the changing leaves. Some of our favorites include Burke Lake, Sky Meadows State Park, Lake Accotink, Mount Vernon, Great Falls, and Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. 

Alexandria Colonial Tours: Follow guides dressed in 18th-century costumes as they led you through Old Town by lantern light. Enjoy stories of Old Town’s history, ghosts, and folklore. Tours are available year-round but dates vary seasonally. In October, tours run every day at 7:30 pm with additional times on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for ages 7 to 17, and free for children under 6. Read about our visit.

Reston Fall Festival and Market: 2023 dates and activities TBD. The Reston Fall Festival is located off of Leesburg Pike with plenty of parking. Pick up your favorite fall treats, produce, and flowers. Plus, take your little ones to enjoy the fall festival with a maze, train ride, balloon animals, and more. All children’s tickets include a free pumpkin. The festival runs from late September to October 31 for 90 minute time slots. 

Bull Run Haunted Wine Tours: Join Bull Run Winery in Centreville for haunted wine tours from October 1 to November 2. Enjoy a lantern-led tour of the grounds with a guide sharing spooky stories. Tickets include a Winery at Bull Run logo glass, a wine tasting, access to the winery after hours, and special deals on mulled wine and merch. Weekends are sold out but are still available for weeknights. $55 per person.

Not feeling spooky? Check out the Grape to Glass Harvest Tours most weekends in October at multiple times throughout the day. $46.50 a person gets you a 1-hour tour of the wine production process and a wine tasting. If you miss the wine tours, don’t miss the Harvest Party on October 6 and The Princess Bride Movie Under the Stars on October 28. Tickets required.

Fall Wine Festival and Trick or Treating at Mount Vernon: Enjoy Mount Vernon from the perspective of winemaking and drinking October 6 – 8 from 6 to 9 pm. Bring a blanket to enjoy the sunset while you sample 20 Virginia wines, enjoy music, and learn some history. Tickets start at $43 for members and $53 for non-members. For little history buffs, take your kids trick-or-treating on October 28 from 2:00 – 6:00 pm. Enjoy music, candy, and photo opportunities. Tickets (general public) are $15/child and $25/adults. Other events include Whiskey Tastings on Saturdays in September and The Fall Harvest Festival on October 21-22. 

Cox Farms: This massive fall festival in Centreville, VA features live music, multiple slides, interactive nature walk, farm animals, and more. Cox Farms opens on September 16 with a pre-sale beginning September 1.  Join them on September 16-17 and then from September 23 to November 6. Enjoy food, music, slides, a hayride, pumpkins, and a corn maze. Open Thursday to Monday. This is one of the more expensive fall festivals in the area at $25 for peak days near Halloween but look for discount days during the week and earlier in the season on the website.

Field of Fear, a haunted, after-hours version of Cox Farm opens on Friday and Saturday from September 22 to November 4 plus Sunday, October 8. Brave the haunted corn maze, hayride, and forest. After exploring the spooky space, take a break at the fairgrounds with music, karaoke, dancing, and slides. Access to the fairgrounds is included with admission. Not recommended for young children. 

Back Home on the Farm: This pumpkin patch is a trek from DC but worth it for fewer crowds and a day in the Shenandoah Valley. Here you’ll find a petting zoo, pig races, a carousel, games, and a huge corn maze. Don’t forget to take a hayride to the pumpkin patch! Tickets are $12 daily. The festival is open from September 1 to October 31 (the pumpkin patch opens September 15). Read about our visit!

Belvedere Plantation: Join Belvedere Plantation in Fredericksburg for pig races, a giant slide, a corn maze, pedal tractor rides, a zipline, a petting zoo, and of course a hayride to the pumpkin patch. Activities for an extra cost include pumpkin painting, a super slide, and pick-your-own flowers. The plantation also has a market where you can purchase jams, pies, cider, and even pumpkin carving supplies. Open Thursday – Sunday plus Indigenous People’s Day from September 16 to November 4. 

Blue Ridge Mountain Maze: Corn Maze in the Plains has moved to a new location in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Blue Toad Hard Cider in Nelson County, at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains & Wintergreen Resort. Join them on Fridays and Saturdays from September 23 to November 5 (closed September 22 and 29). Enjoy hayrides, pumpkin picking, slides, farm animals, and fall snacks. Tickets are $13 for adults and $12 for children under 12. Check the website for discount days. Plus, don’t miss a chance to enjoy the maze at night! 

Haunted Hallow: 2023 dates TBD. Follow the trail through this haunted farm in Warrenton if you dare! Find spooky surprises and unexpected characters.  All ages are welcome but it might be too spooky for little ones under 13. Open Fridays and Saturdays from September 30 to October 29 Tickets are $20/person. Most nights sell out so grab a time slot early. All visitors must be in groups of at least 2 people. 

Pumpkin Patches and Ghost Tours in Maryland

Markoff’s Forest: One of the scariest haunted forests in the country, Markoff’s Forest in Dickerson has been scaring folks for over 2 decades. Open Friday-Sunday from September 29 to October 29 plus Halloween. This haunted forest is very popular so purchase tickets early. Arrive early or stick around after your time slot to enjoy Markoff’s Midway, a waiting area with snacks, live music, and extra activities like a zipline and axe throwing. Entry to Markoff’s Midway is free but snacks and extra activities are an additional fee.

Doc Waters Cidery: Apple picking and hard cider? This spot in Germantown, MD has you covered. Pick apple varieties in the orchard in September and October and then enjoy a drink at the cidery. Prices start at $20 for two people (about 5-6 pounds of apples). The orchard is open on weekends and the cidery is open Friday-Sunday with food trucks and live music.  Reservations for the cidery are highly recommended.

Washington International Horse Show: The 65th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) returns from October 23 to 29 at The Show Place Arena, Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  This brings together more than 500 of the top international horses and riders to compete in competitions, entertaining exhibitions, and special events for the whole family. Join them for fun all week but don’t miss Barn Night on October 26 for the first night of horse jumping plus contest and prizes for guests. Or, check out Kids’ Day on October 28. Events on Saturday are free and family-friendly including hands-on education, pony rides, face painting, and more.

Montpelier Farms: Montpelier Farms in Upper Marlboro offers fall activities that are especially fun for little kids. Their weekday admission and season pass offerings are a great option for non-school aged children. Enjoy a corn maze, hayride, farm animals, slides, a play area, and more. Some activities, food trucks, and fall treats are available at an additional cost. Weekend tickets start at $19 with upgrades and season passes available. Admission is not required if you only visit the pumpkin patch where you can purchase pumpkins separately. Open September 16-November 5 from Friday to Sunday plus Tuesday to Thursday in October.

Butler’s Orchard: Head to the Pumpkin Festival at Butler’s Orchard for hayrides, a corn maze, pumpkin picking, slides, and corn hole.  Open Wednesday-Sunday plus Indigenous People’s Day from September 23 to October 29. Weekend admission is $17 at the gate or $12 online. Visit on a weekday for discounted rates. 

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch: Located in Middletown, Jumbo’s has a petting zoo, pony rides, a corn maze, and a hayride to the pumpkin patch. There is also a store where you can purchase jellies and bakery items as well as seasonal wreaths, crafts, and candles. Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm from September 23 to October 31. Admission includes hayrides, corn maze, petting zoon, and games. Pay as you go for pumpkins, food, corn cannon, and face painting. Read about our visit! 

Candlelight Ghost Tours of Frederick:  Discover the ghosts of Frederick on a walking ghost tour through the historic district or a cemetery tour! Guides share spooky stories of Frederick’s haunted past. Tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children 8-12. All tickets come with a 10% off coupon to Brewer’s Alley. Once you purchase a ticket, you will need to make a reservation for a specific date. Tours are available year-round and reservations are required.

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