Photo by Sigmund / Unsplash

Family-Friendly Events Around NoVa through Oct. 2

We’ve curated your list of activities to check out this week around Northern Virginia. Lean into the fall festivities at one of the many Oktoberfests or fall fairs happening in the area, or explore something new at the Hirshhorn Museum, Children’s Science Center, or Udvar-Hazy Center.

Ellen Howes
Ellen Howes

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We’ve curated your list of activities to check out this week around Northern Virginia. Lean into the fall festivities at one of the many Oktoberfests or fall fairs happening in the area, or explore something new at the Hirshhorn Museum, Children’s Science Center, or Udvar-Hazy Center.

From Oktoberfests to moongazing, and LEGO builds to bounce houses, here’s your list of 11 family-friendly things to do now through October 2:

Art Cart at the Hirshhorn Museum

A child making crafts out of recycled materials.
Image via

Want to make art inspired by your favorite Hirshhorn works on view? The Art Cart offers young artists a hands-on maker experience during their visit to the Hirshhorn. At Art Cart on Thursday, Sept. 29, young artists will learn about exhibiting artist Senga Nengudi’s soft sculptures and performance through movement, texture exploration, and art making. This program includes an art making activity for kids at the museum, and projects that can be done at home.

When: Thursday, 9/29 from 10am-12pm
Price: Free, no registration required.  
Address: 3rd Level, Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
Find out more here.

Fort Belvoir’s 24th Annual Oktoberfest

A bird's-eye view of the carnival ground at Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest.
Image via

Once a year, US Army Garrison Fort Belvoir welcomes the general public to celebrate Oktoberfest! Located at Fremont Field on Fort Belvoir, Oktoberfest is a four-day festival that highlights authentic German cuisine, beverages, music, and dancing. Enjoy an exciting carnival, Volksmarch 5K/10K Walk, and much more. This is a fun-filled event geared toward the whole family! Please note that there is a 100% ID check, children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times, and that non-Military/DoD civilians must request a visitor’s pass prior to entering Fort Belvoir. Pets, backpacks, large bags, ice chests, coolers, bikes, narcotics, camera bags larger than 1 cubic foot, roller blades, skates, skateboards, weapons, beverages, and food are prohibited (baby formula and diabetic foods are allowed).

When: Thursday, 9/29 through Sunday, 10/2. Oktoberfest is open on Thursday from 6pm-10pm, on Friday from 4pm-11pm, on Saturday from 12pm-11pm, and Sunday from 12pm-8pm.
Price: Entry to Fremont Field, parking, the Volksmarch 5K/10K walk, and musical entertainment are all free. A daily wristband or single tickets must be purchased per person for all carnival rides. Daily wristbands are $25/person on Thursday, and $30/person Friday-Sunday. Single carnival ride tickets are $1.75/person. Bring cash for food and drinks.
Address: Fremont Field (Beside Wells Field House), 2104-6028 Goethals Road, Fort Belvoir 22060
Learn more and see the full schedule of events here.

Sunset Cinema in Cherry Hill Park

A crowd gathers on lawn chairs and picnic blankets to watch a movie in the park at night.
Image via

Sunset Cinema continues this Friday! Bring your family and pack blankets and a picnic to watch Sing 2 under the moon. Continuing this week and next, the City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will host a PG movie Friday nights in the park.  

When: Friday, 9/30 beginning at 7:45pm.
Price: Free, but bring cash to purchase popcorn and drinks.
Address: Cherry Hill Park, 312 Park Avenue, Falls Church, VA 22046
Find out more on their website here.

Bricks by the Lake

A colorful flatlay photo of LEGO pieces.
Photo by Xavi Cabrera via Unsplash

Compete, view, and play in this LEGO-building event! All are invited as spectators or participants for a day packed with creative fun. Watch live LEGO builds, enjoy free activities and crafts, and check out the master build display by Charm City Lug.

When: Saturday, 10/1. Activities from 9am-4pm, and competitions from 10am-12pm.
Price: Registration is $20 for a pre-built entry, or $50 to build from a kit provided day-of.
Address: Reston Museum, 1639 Washington Plaza, Reston, VA 20190
Register here.

Haunted Lab at Children’s Science Center

A child in a banana costume uses equipment in a science lab.
Photo via

Join Children’s Science Center for 2 hours of frightfully fun science in the Haunted Lab! Reserve a timeslot on select days throughout October, beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, and enjoy a spooky scavenger hunt, learn about probability with Monster Genetics, create Frankenslime, and more. Dressing in family-friendly costumes is encouraged.

When: Begins Saturday, 10/1. Reservations are for a 2-hour timeslot: 10 am-12 pm or 2-4 pm.
Price: Free for children 2 and under. $15/participant for all other ages and adults. Address: Children’s Science Center, 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033
Visit their website to register online.

39th Annual Manassas Fall Jubilee

A pumpkin patch in historic Manassas, Virginia.
Image via 

The Annual Fall Jubilee is a family‑oriented event celebrating fine arts and crafts in the community. There is plenty to explore for kids and adults with over 100 craft and community booths, food and drinks, live music, and entertainment.

When: Saturday, 10/1 from 10am-5pm.
Price: Free.
Address: Harris Pavilion, 9201 Center St, Manassas, VA 20110
See more on their website here.

Pumpkin Festival at Butler’s Orchard

A bright red farm stand with sign saying Butler's Orchard.
Image via

This annual Pumpkin Festival, now in its 42nd year, is packed with fall-inspired fun! Families can enjoy the Orchard’s hayloft jump, corn and straw mazes, giant slides, playground, climb-on structures, and more.

When: Now through 10/30. Weekdays (Wednesdays-Fridays) from 1pm-6pm, and weekends from 9am-6pm. Last entry on weekdays and weekends is at 4:30pm. Price: Free for children 2 and under. Weekday tickets are $10/person when purchased online, or $12/person when purchased at the gate. Weekend tickets $15/person online and $17/person at the gate.
Address: Butler’s Orchard, 22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, MD 20876
See a full list of activities and learn more here.

Vienna Oktoberfest

A crowd with children playing with hula-hoops at Oktoberfest in Vienna, Va.
Image via

Enjoy Vienna, Virginia’s Oktoberfest with loads of international food, music and dance performances, local vendors and artisans, kids activities, a kids entertainment stage, and two beer and wine gardens.  

When: Saturday, 10/1 from 11am-7pm.
Price: Free, but bring cash for vendors, food, and drinks.
Address: 131 Church St NE, Vienna, VA 22180
Learn more on their website.

Fall Festival at Shipgarten

Two young girls smile next to Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled.
Photo via Shipgarten's Facebook

Join Shipgarten for their Fall Festival this Saturday! Enjoy live music, and say hello to Captain America and your favorite Frozen princesses with live character performances from Princess Parties DC. There will also be fall-themed competitions throughout the day, including apple bobbing and a pie toss, and activities for kids like face painting and a moon bounce.

When: Saturday, 10/1. Shipgarten opens at 11am, and the festival runs from 1pm-6pm.
Price: Admission is free.  
Address: Shipgarten, 7581 Colshire Drive Mclean, VA 22102. There is free parking located at 1700 Old Meadow Road, McLean, VA 22102. Parking is a five minute walk from Shipgarten, or you can use the complimentary shuttle running between Shipgarten and the parking lot.
See more information on their event page.

Moongaze on International Observe the Moon Night

A young child looks into a telescope at night.
Photo by Eric Long for the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. 

Observe planets, stars, and more during this Moongaze event at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia on International Observe the Moon Night. Join staff and members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club for an evening of moongazing. Telescopes are provided, and it’s recommended to bring warm clothes and a small flashlight.

When: Saturday, 10/1 from 7pm-9pm.
Price: Free.
Address: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly, VA 20151.
Click here for more information and a map for where to park.

Fall Fest at Reston Farm Garden Market

Guests ride a locomotive around a pumpkin patch at Reston Farm.
Image via

The Reston Farm Garden Market continues this weekend! Enjoy a day of fun, games, activities, pumpkins, and more. This family-friendly festival includes bounce houses, train rides around the Garden Market, a petting zoo, and a free pumpkin with each child’s ticket. For additional costs, you can also purchase face painting, animal feed for the petting zoo, freshly baked apple cider donuts, and balloons.

When: Every weekend through 10/30. Time slots begin at 10am.
Price: Tickets are $28/child and $7/parent. Free for children ages 2 and under with paid admission. When you purchase a ticket you are also reserving a specific 90-minute time slot for your visit.
Address: Reston Farm Garden Market, 10800 Baron Cameron Ave, Reston, VA 20190
Learn more and purchase tickets on their website.

EventsDCFalls ChurchRestonFairfaxManassasGermantownViennaMcLeanChantilly

Ellen Howes

Ellen is a bookworm, runner, and proud auntie. She makes her home in DC and can usually be found somewhere in Rock Creek Park.