DC events calendar • Fall festivals and celebrations

Discover DC's best fall events—from marathons to neighborhood parties—with Time Out's Washington, DC events calendar



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The National Book Festival—organized by the Library of Congress—is a popular fall event in Washington, DC

The National Book Festival—organized by the Library of Congress—is a popular fall event in Washington, DC © Ashley Jones

Those looking for things to do in Washington, DC in fall won't be disappointed—the DC events calendar for autumn has everything from literary celebrations like the kid-friendly National Book Festival to the world-famous Marine Corps Marathon, that sees over 30,000 participants huff and puff their way past some of the capital's most famous sights and attractions. For a taste of the city's diversity, Adams Morgan Day offers music, crafts, food, shopping and more in celebration of the area's ethnically-mixed population (and its plethora of cool, indie businesses). Sound like fun? Keep reading for our full list of great things to do in fall.

Adams Morgan Day

For over a quarter of a century, thousands of DC residents have come out to celebrate this community, home to large Latino, white, African and African American populations. Musicians, crafts and ethnic foods are in ample supply.  
www.ammainstreet.org. Transport: Dupont Circle or Woodley Park Metro.   

  1. 18th Street, NW, between Columbia Road & Florida Avenue, Adams Morgan
  2. 2nd Sun in Sept
The National Book Festival—organized by the Library of Congress—is a popular fall event in Washington, DC

National Book Festival

Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Book Festival features dozens of authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers, all reading, performing and signing in block after block of pavilions themed around “Fiction and Imagination,” “History and Biography,” “Mysteries and Thrillers” and so on. Admission is free. 
www.loc.gov/bookfest. Transport: Archives-Naval Memorial or Federal Triangle Metro.  

  1. National Mall, NW, between 7th & 14th Streets
  2. Late Sept or early Oct

Annual High Heel Race

Dupont Circle residents and gawkers from across the city swarm to 17th Street to catch this ultimate drag race, which features outrageously costumed contestants promenading up and down—then sprinting down a two-block stretch in the heart of the capital’s gay ghetto. The event itself lasts only minutes, but the street-party atmosphere is festive and the scenery fabulous.  
www.jrsbar-dc.com. Transport: Dupont Circle Metro.  

  1. 17th Street, NW, between S & P Streets, Dupont Circle
  2. On or around Oct 31

Marine Corps Marathon

The “Marathon of Monuments” draws around 30,000 runners from around the world, and no wonder: The course winds along the banks of the Potomac, through Georgetown and Rock Creek Park, past the city’s most famous sites and monuments, finishing at the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. Spectators and supporters turn the route into a 26-mile street party. www.marinemarathon.com  

  1. Late Oct

Veterans’ Day ceremonies

A solemn ceremony with military bands, in honor of the country’s war dead. Ceremonies are also held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Mount Vernon (1-703 780 2000) and the US Navy Memorial.  
www.arlingtoncemetery.org. Transport: Arlington Cemetery Metro. 

  1. Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Drive, Arlington Drive, VA
  2. 11am Veterans’ Day (Nov 11)

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