Crisp fall days are all about getting outside so I like to think that this list of the best fall things to do in Washington, DC hasn’t been but so impacted by the pandemic. Sure, we can’t go to our favorite fall festivals (I’m daydreaming of last year’s amazing CHVRCHES performance at All Things Go) and rainy autumn days spent wandering through museums are nothing but a memory.
But I’m still committed to enjoying everything our nation’s capital has to offer during these gorgeous 60-degree days.
Best Fall Things to do in Washington, DC
So, here’s your Capitol Hill-biased list of the best fall things to do in Washington, DC. And, if you’ve got something I missed and desperately need to check out, let me know!
- Visit the Farmers’ Market and Stock Up on Fall Produce: There’s nothing better in the fall than admiring big wooden crates of apples and squash while strolling around, coffee or cider in hand, and taking in the sights. I love visiting Eastern Market on the weekend, gathering a bag full of fall produce, then challenging myself to cook and bake with it all week long. So far, this week, I’ve made Ina Garten’s apple pie bars and I have butternut squash soup on the menu for Wednesday.
- Spook Yourself with a Ghost Tour: Y’all, I love ghost tours. Like really, really love ghost tours. And there’s no better time to go on one than October. Adam doesn’t share my passion. It was an issue last year in New Orleans, ha. But he’s going on his first ever ghost tour with me this week so looks like I’ve won. We’re actually doing one in Old Town Alexandria but there are plenty of options within DC, too. I’ve done the Lafayette Square tour but there’s one that meets just 2 blocks from us….
- Walk Around the Capitol Hill Neighborhood: Sure, people who live over in Georgetown may tell you their neighborhood is the ultimate fall in DC neighborhood, but they’re flat wrong. Capitol Hill is, hands down, the cutest neighborhood during the fall. Start your day eating breakfast outside at Jimmy T’s, meander through the neighborhood over to Peregrine to grab a coffee, then meander through the neighborhood admiring the adorable homes (like the one below), checking out the Halloween decorations (East Capitol is a trick-or-treating destination), then make your way back up East Capitol to the Capitol building.
- Hike Through Rock Creek Park: It’s crazy to me that Rock Creek Park exists in the city. It feels like you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle when you hit these walking, biking, and hiking trails.
- Explore the National Arboretum: With almost 440 acres in the city, the National Arboretum is a great way to get outside in a way that’s a little more landscaped than Rock Creek Park. You’ll find various gardens and educational exhibits here. Pro tip: start your day with brunch at Union Market then make your way over to the Arboretum.
- Picnic at a Park: Whether your local park is Meridian Hill Park or the National Mall, pack up a picnic basket, grab a blanket, and enjoy an afternoon out in the crisp air. My personal favorite? Lincoln Park with goodies snagged at the charming Wine and Butter.
- Grab Lunch at Union Market: Union Market is lovely any time of year but its ample outdoor space has never been more clutch. You can order ahead at many of the food stalls inside, go in to pick up your food, then enjoy it outside at one of the many tables. If you’re in the neighborhood, definitely stop by Shop Shelter and Three Littles for some great local shopping.
- Don’t Forget There are Outdoor Breweries in DC: Guess what guys! You don’t have to leave DC to go to a brewery! We have plenty right here in the District. One of my favorites is Red Bear Brewing but you can also check out Bardo (this one is notoriously no frills), Bluejacket, and Right Proper, among others.
And, of course, there’s always the fall in DC suggestion of…leave. Which is why I have an entire page dedicated to DC day and weekend trips.