The Washington, D.C., area and its surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia host many annual festivals and special events. There is something for everyone, including in the fall month of September. All activities and details mentioned are subject to change, so please check particular event websites and/or social media pages to confirm information.
Washington, D.C., Events
The capital of the United States is filled with things to do all year, and September is no exception. Enjoy everything from international film festivals to guided tours of Washington, D.C., neighborhoods.
Adams Morgan Day: Occurring on the second Sunday of September in Washington, D.C., this free annual street festival in the Adams Morgan neighborhood is the longest-running neighborhood festival in the city. Featuring international food, live music and dance, art, and cultural demonstrations, the festive day offers something for all tastes. It's also full of sidewalk cafes and interesting vendors.
DC Beer Week: The DC Brewers' Guild puts on a beer festival each year for eight days in the middle of the month, with hundreds of venues involved. Local breweries, bars, and restaurants throughout Washington, D.C., and metropolitan Virginia and Maryland host a variety of beer-related events. You'll have lots of fun with everything from beer dinners to craft beer tastings to educational panels to glassware giveaways and more.
The DC Shorts International Film Festival: For several September days, this Washington, D.C., event showcases one of the biggest short film collections in the United States, along with discussions with filmmakers. Shorts from approximately 30 countries around the world are in the spotlight, bringing a global view to the city.
Fiesta DC: This annual event on the third Saturday of September in Downtown Washington, D.C., brings the fun with a parade, a beauty pageant contest, arts and crafts, international cuisine, a children’s festival, and more. The fiesta is part of National Hispanic Heritage Month which starts in the middle of September. The month celebrates the culture and traditions of Spanish-speaking residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
Labor Day Capitol Concert: The free concert on The West Lawn of the United States Capitol, in Washington, D.C., is an annual tradition on the Sunday of the holiday weekend. Enjoy the National Symphony Orchestra's typical patriotic song performances in honor of the holiday. Should inclement weather arise, the concert will be moved to the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater.
Taste of Georgetown: This long-running event on the fourth Sunday of the month provides locals and visitors with sample dishes from over 30 Georgetown restaurants. Beer, wine, and live music are enjoyable parts of the event for those attendees who are adults. Children's activities are also available.
Turkish Festival: Celebrate the art and culture of Turkey with a variety of family-friendly activities, crafts, and more on the final Sunday of the month. Organized by the non-profit American Turkish Association of Washington, D.C., (ATA-DC), the event is held in front of Freedom Plaza. A highlight is the Turkish coffee, cuisine, and desserts from local restaurants.
Unity Walk: On the second Sunday of September in Washington D.C., The Unity Walk's opening ceremony and resource fair are held at Washington Hebrew Congregation, while other event components are at the Islamic Center and the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. In commemoration of the September 11 attacks, the walk allows the diverse faith groups in the Washington, D.C., metro area to come together and support each other. Each house of worship will teach the public about their religion and offer building tours and traditional foods.
WalkingTown DC: Starting in mid-September, enjoy over 50 free guided tours of the city's neighborhoods in this annual nine-day event led by licensed tour guides, historians, business owners, community leaders, and other experts. While you check out the nation’s capital, you'll learn about the history, art, and culture. Options range from happy hour tours to lunchtime and weekend tours.
ZooFiesta: Start off the Smithsonian-wide Hispanic Heritage Month with a celebration of Latin American culture and wildlife through a variety of family-oriented activities, live music and dance, and special keeper talks. Taking place the third Saturday of September in Washington, D.C., this event also offers a Latin American food court. The event is held at Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
Maryland offers numerous fun activities in the month of September, including county fairs, street and art events, and a 16th century Renaissance festival.
Anne Arundel County Fair: This event at Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville, Maryland, runs five mid-month days and offers activities for the whole family. Whether you are looking for Monster truck rides, carnival rides, farm animals, pig races, or an antique sawmill, you will find it here. For some fun with competitions, check out the cute kid contest, the pie-eating contest, or the talent show.
Calvert County Fair: This Prince Frederick, Maryland, event has a rich history dating back to 1886 when men gathered to show cattle and tobacco to each other. The four-day fair taking place at the end of the month includes a wide range of activities including farm animals, exhibits, musical entertainment, carnival rides, and contests. Look for Southern Maryland cooking and baked goods.
Charles County Fair: Head to this event in Charles County Fairgrounds, La Plata, Maryland, if you and your family love seeing farm animals, playing games, and going on carnival rides. The four-day fair held mid-month also has entertainment, demonstrations, and activities for all ages, along with various food options. The event honors Charles County's 360 years of agricultural history.
The Great Frederick Fair: This week-long event in the middle of September has a long history dating back to 1862 and is held at Frederick Fairgrounds, Maryland. Attendees can experience musical entertainment, tractor pulls, fair food, and all sorts of other fun features. Like any agricultural fair, there are animal-related activities such as an equine expo and showcase and a workshop teaching kids up to age 10 how to make stick horses.
Hyattsville Arts and Ales Festival: On the third Saturday of September, more than 100 artists and live entertainment will span three streets in the Gateway Arts District of downtown Hyattsville, Maryland, for this annual event. Enjoy the craft breweries and food trucks. This free event is family-friendly, providing activities for children as well.
In the Street Festival: This Frederick, Maryland, festival around since 1982 usually has over 75,000 people attending. The festivities held on the second Saturday of the month take over the downtown area with live entertainment. Enjoy food and craft beverages, arts and crafts, four stages of music, kids' activities, and additional fun.
Maryland Renaissance Festival: Explore a 16th century English village in Crownsville, Maryland, with crafts, food, live performances, games, and plenty more to do on weekends through late October. Held on the grounds of the Anne Arundel Fairgrounds, the festival attracts more than 14,000 visitors each day. Rent Renaissance-era costumes if you like, while you stroll around to see more than 140 artisans exhibiting crafts and over 40 food and beverage emporiums.
Maryland Seafood Festival: In Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, Maryland, this annual gathering held on a weekend early in the month offers fun for the whole family. Check out The Capital Crab Soup Cook-off, live music performances, craft booths, a sand soccer tournament, and other activities.
Prince George's County Fair: The fair in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, dates back to 1842, making it the oldest running fair in the state. Enjoy carnival rides, a family circus, fireworks, live entertainment, and food at Show Place Arena for four days in early September. The event also features live animal and craft competitions.
If you are in Virginia in September, you'll find something appealing to all tastes, as there are events ranging from a home decor show to a jazz festival to a Scottish heritage celebration.
Alexandria King Street Art Festival: On the fourth weekend of September, King Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, features 200 award-winning U.S. artists. You'll have an opportunity to see everything from paintings to ceramics to life-size sculptures, photographs, glass, jewelry, and more. The free outdoor art festival covers six blocks and even has an Ice Cream Bowl Fundraiser in which ceramic bowls for sale are filled with local artisanal ice cream; proceeds go to The Art League.
Capital Home Show: See what's new in building, remodeling, and decorating at this event at Dulles Expo Center taking place on the fourth weekend of the month in Chantilly, Virginia. You'll be able to shop, compare, and save on all of your home improvement projects. Famous local and national experts will provide guidance on design, remodeling, home improvement, and more.
Mount Vernon's Colonial Craft Fair: On the third weekend of September, get to Mount Vernon, Virginia, for a fair that recreates an early U.S. marketplace with artist demonstrations, family entertainment, and 18th-century amusements. The marketplace is set up in a 12-acre field on George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. You'll hear colonial music and be able to see Mount Vernon's costumed interpreters making an authentic chocolate recipe from days past.
Rosslyn Jazz Festival: Enjoy a day of free jazz concerts the first Saturday of the month at Gateway Park in Rosslyn, Virginia, during the largest outdoor music festival in Arlington County. This lively event has been taking place for nearly 30 years. Music from the Gulf Coast will include jazz, blues, soul, funk, and Caribbean genres.
Virginia Scottish Games: Celebrate Alexandria's Scottish Heritage with live music and dance competitions, a British Car Show, children's games, Celtic crafts, and foods. The two-day event takes place at the Grounds of Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia, with one highlight being the Highland Athletic Competition, in which athletes test their strength on the field of honor.