Things to Do In and Around Washington, D.C. in October 2023

Local Events Fleur Howgill September 29, 2023

It’s definitely spooky season here in the DMV. There’s a chill in the air, stoops and stairs are covered in pumpkins and gourds, and colorful leaves are blanketing yards (oh, the raking). D.C. residents truly embrace all the fall vibes but if apple picking and pumpkin patches aren’t really your thing, don’t worry: There are plenty of outdoor events, fall festivals, family fun and new restaurants to try.

 Here’s what you should see and do in October in Washington, D.C.

  • Who doesn’t like to cozy up with a good book on a cool fall evening? This post on Sotheby’s blog will have you dreaming of a home with a library. Bound To Impress: 4 Homes With Handsome Libraries.
  • October means Oktoberfest, and the D.C. area throws one heck of a party in celebration of all things German, including dachshund races, bratwurst-and-pretzels, polkas, lederhosen contests, and of course, steins overflowing with beer. The Washington Post has The 21 best places to celebrate Oktoberfest in D.C.
  • In case that wasn’t enough beer, Snallygaster, “the District’s biggest & beastliest beer festival” returns to downtown D.C. for its 11th year on October 14. General admission tickets to this festival of craft beers are still available at $65.
  • September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month and has a roundup of 20+ Latin American Restaurants to Check Out in Washington, D.C.
  • El Presidente -- D.C.’s newest Mexican hotspot by restauranteur Stephen Starr -- just opened in Union Market, so it did not make the above list, but it is a visual and culinary feast, according to
  • The National Gallery will be your ghost host for one night of artsy haunts on October 12 for Nightmare at the Museum. A screening of Ghostbusters (1984) with a live, remixed soundtrack, a Monster Mash dance in the East Building, custom face painting or a DIY mask station, and bone-chilling stories from museum staff and local experts are part of the Gallery Nights festivities.
  • Boo at the Zoo,  D.C.'s family-favorite event of the season returns to National Zoo on October 20-22. Trick-or-treat and enjoy after-hours access for animal viewing, a dance party, fun vignettes, tasty treats, and much, much more family fun.
  • Head to the historic Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland for the All Things Go Music Festival, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, for performances from a diverse array of artists, including the likes of Lana Del Rey, Maggie Rogers, Carly Rae Jepsen, BoyGenius, Mt. Joy, and many more.
  • Taste unlimited samples from Virginia wineries after hours at George Washington’s Mount Vernon October 6-8 at the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Bring a blanket to chill out on the east lawn and purchase fruit and cheese boxes in advance to go with your Virginia wines.
  • Theatre Washington’s Theatre Week (Yes! British spelling of “theater!”) celebrates the launch of the theater season in the Washington, DC region with a free kickoff fest, dozens of shows, and other fun events. From September 21 to October 8 — you can see a show for $20, $40, or $60 in venues throughout the region. 
  • One of D.C.’s most beloved neighborhoods hosts Adams Morgan Fall PorchFest on Saturday, October 14th from 2-6 pm. Twenty porches, business patios, parks, and the closed 18th Street will become stages for the day, drawing music lovers from around the region into the tree-lined streets and small businesses of Adams Morgan.

Honestly, this is just a sampling of all the things to see and do this month in Washington, D.C. Head over to for a full list. Enjoy your October!

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