Fun Things to Do in Washington D.C. in the Fall
Besides sipping on your favorite pumpkin spice latte, there are so many fun things to do in Washington D.C in the fall. Moreover, Washington D.C. in the fall is our favorite time of the year because the weather is perfect and the fall foliage is beautiful. From outdoor adventures to getting spooked, there are fun things to do for all ages. So, whether you are a local or a tourist visiting Washington D.C. for 3 days, here are 10 things you cannot miss during the fall season.
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Outdoor Things to do in Washington D.C. in the Fall
Washington D.C. in the fall is our favorite time of the year because the weather is incredible and the smell of warm spices are in the air. A few of these fun things to do in the fall can be combined in one day for a perfect date or a family weekend event. You can easily see the fall foliage along your drive to outdoor farms with corn mazes, apple picking, and pumpkin patches. So plan accordingly and have fun!
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Call me silly, but one thing I have always wanted to do is make my way through a corn maze! So during the first year of living in Washington D.C. in the fall, we got lost in one of the biggest corn mazes in the area.
To find the best corn mazes, you will have to drive just outside Washington D.C. to Maryland and Virginia’s farmlands. The corn mazes are the perfect fall outing for families looking to have fun because some farms include more than just a corn maze. You can find farms that host fall festivals with pumpkin patches, pig races, hayrides, pumpkin blasters and corn cannons!
The corn maze we enjoy visiting is Temple Hall Farm. Their 20-acre corn maze is famous for being one of the biggest corn mazes in the Washington D.C. area. For a list of more corn mazes near Washington D.C., check out this list.
Find Your Perfect Jack-o-Lantern at a Pumpkin Patch
Nothing says fall to me more than finding the perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween! It is one of my favorite things to do every fall season and Washington D.C. did not disappoint us in finding the perfect pumpkin patch. There are so many great farms with pumpkin patches just minutes from Washington D.C. Furthermore, a few farms also offer more than just pumpkin patches. For a fun fall date or family outing, you can spend a full day at farms that include pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides, corn mazes, and more.
Check out this awesome site for some great pumpkin carving stencils!
See the Fall Foliage
As a born and raised Texan, I never knew what fall foliage meant let alone did I ever see it in person. So when I moved to Washington D.C. and saw the fall foliage for the first time, it took my breath away. The fall foliage in Washington D.C. in the fall is absolutely stunning! The vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges in the trees are so pretty whether you see them up close or from the top of summits. You cannot go wrong with where you see the fall foliage – just make sure you see it!
A few of our favorite places to see fall foliage in Washington D.C. include strolling through the National Mall and along the Tidal Basin. We also enjoy hiking at Great Falls Park to see the fall foliage along the Potomac River. Moreover, visiting Shenandoah National Park to see the mountain ranges light up in color and to drive the famous Blueridge Parkway during the fall is an absolute MUST for both locals and tourists. In our opinion, Shenandoah National Park is hands down the best place to see fall foliage near Washington D.C.
We love to hike and our favorite time of the year to hike is…you guessed it – the fall! There are so many amazing parks to go hiking in Washington D.C. in the fall. Moreover, the best time to hike in Washington D.C. is during the fall because of the beautiful fall foliage. Whether you hike to a high summit to see the Blue Ridge Mountains or along the Potomac River, you will see the most colorful trees.
A few of our favorite places to hike in the fall is Shenandoah National Park, Great Falls Park, and Harpers Ferry. Shenandoah National Park offers several hiking trails to high summits with stunning views of the fall foliage. However, if you are looking for more of a quick day trip from Washington D.C., I recommend hiking at Great Falls Park and Harpers Ferry. They both offer great hiking trails and are no more than an hour and fifteen minutes away.
Foodie Things to do in Washington D.C. in the Fall
From apple picking to boozy adventures – here are our favorite things to do within and near Washington D.C. in the fall.
Pick Delicious Apples
Another fall favorite in Washington D.C. is to go apple picking! In fact, Washington D.C. is just minutes away from two of the best apple-producing states in the U.S. – Virginia, and Maryland. Needless to say, there are a handful of farms to go apple picking. Most farms and orchards begin their apple picking season from September through October. I recommend checking the hours of operation and the particular apple picking status as it can always vary depending on the farming season.
You should also note, some farms and orchards charge a small entrance fee to pick their variety of apples, but the price is worth it! These local farms and orchards produce some of the juiciest and crisp apples you will ever taste. Our local favorite is Butler’s Orchards because, in addition to apple picking, you can also pick basil, tomatoes, raspberries, and potatoes. Moreover, we also love their farm market to purchase local produce, fresh apple cider, ready to bake pies and their famous apple cider donuts. Another local favorite is Waters Orchard which is right next door to Butler’s Orchard. Waters Orchard only focuses on producing the best apples with a variety of Crimson Crisp, Early Fuji, Jonagold, Shizuka and more.
Local tip – Since this is a beloved activity near Washington D.C. in the fall, try to visit opening weekend for the best chances to pick your apples – they go quick! As the season progresses, the apples get more scarce and difficult to find.
Drink Hard Apple Cider
Some may drink pumpkin spice lattes while others drink something a little stronger… hard apple cider. Luckily, Washington D.C. has several great craft hard apple cider breweries to enjoy in the fall. The three hard apple cider breweries in Washington D.C. you need to visit in the fall include Anxo Cidery, Capitol Cider House, and Supreme Core Cider.
Anxo Cidery offers a vast menu of different ciders from their cider brewery. From a sweet finish to a more dry tone – Anxo Cidery has over 15 ciders to try. Moreover Anxo Cidery also excels in food as they also have a fabulous restaurant with food and cider pairings.
Capitol Cider House focuses on not only great hard apple ciders but also being 100% locally sourced and produced. All of their goods are sourced from within 200 miles of the US Capitol Building. As the “Capitol Cider House”, they offer 50 different ciders for guests to try. So be sure to try one of their cider flights to get through them all!
Supreme Core Cider offers guests locally-sourced apple cider from family-owner orchards in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Their rustic taproom includes over 10 different cider varieties brewed on-site that be enjoyed by the pint or flight.
Local tip – visit these amazing cideries during happy hour for great specials!
Indulge in Oysters
One of the best parts about living in Washington D.C. in the fall is the fresh oysters. I can eat oysters year-round but to be able to enjoy them during the oyster season (September – December) is the BEST! I am not the only one who feels this way because you can find oyster restaurants almost everywhere in Washington D.C.
A few local favorite restaurants and bars to indulge in oysters include Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Hank’s Oyster Bar, The Dabney Cellar, and Whaley’s. Each one of these restaurants and raw bars features both locally (Virginia) and out-sourced oysters along the East Coast. Though each restaurant is stellar, my absolute go-to for oysters is at Rappahannock Oyster Bar because of their amazing happy hour special. Oysters on the half shell can cost anywhere between $2.50 to $4. So when you find $1.50 for fresh oysters, especially during the season, you need to get your raw game on.
Visit the Wine Country
As wine enthusiasts, we LOVE visiting the wine countries near Washington D.C. in the fall. It is the perfect time to visit because from August to October is harvest season. During the harvest season, some wineries will offer fun weekend events such as grape stomping or outdoor concerts. Question is, which winery will you choose to visit because there are so many amazing wine countries just outside of D.C. From the Loudoun County to the Monticello Wine Trail in Charlottesville, Middleburg County, the Piedmont Trail in Maryland, and more – you could easily drink wine every weekend near Washington D.C. in the fall. What could be better than that?!?
Scary Things to do in Washington D.C. in the Fall
For those that are wanting a more scary fall season in Washington D.C., here are a couple of things to add to your list.
Get Spooked on a Ghost Tour
Who doesn’t enjoy a classic ghost tour in haunted neighborhoods? I am scared of everything, but I still enjoy a great ghost tour. And who knew that Washington D.C. had so many haunted neighborhoods? You can enjoy a ghost tour in Georgetown, Lafayette Park, Capitol Hill, Congressional Cemetery, Old Town Alexandria, and more.
Most of the tours are led by costumed interpreters and tell haunted stories of conspiracies, murders, apparitions, and more. Each tour is perfect for not only ghost hunters and paranormalists but also history enthusiasts as you get to discover secrets never heard before. Moreover, if you are 21 yrs and above, upgrade your ghost tour by booking a haunted bar tour. Have fun drinking beers at historically haunted bars around the capitol!
Scream at Haunted Houses
You can’t have Halloween without haunted houses. So, last but definitely not least on my list of fun things to do in Washington D.C. in the fall – is going to haunted houses! In fact, three of the best haunted houses in America (according to Travel + Leisure) are just outside of D.C. So haunted house lovers should definitely visit Laurels House of Horrors (MD), Ocean City Screams Haunted House (MD), and Shocktober (VA).
Even though I am the biggest scaredy-cat on the planet, we opted to go to Gravensteen Haunted Productions – a local favorite located in Virginia. Gravensteen Haunted Productions is known as one of the scariest haunted houses in the Washington D.C. area. I can confirm that the statement is true because I think I screamed every minute. With that said, this haunted house is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!
I hope you have enjoyed my list of fun things to do in Washington D.C. in the fall. As you can see, there is a variety of things to do for everyone. Whether you love the great outdoors, a good scare or foodie adventures, D.C. is the perfect destination to visit in the fall.