This post covers the top things to do in October in Washington, DC, updated for 2022, including nighttime activities, free things to do, and family-friendly options.
Be sure to read our master post on things to do in DC for even more ideas.
This section covers our top ten list of things to do in DC for October.
For more ideas on favorite things to do in DC, check out the following posts:
Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist attraction discount pass.
1. Take a Ghost Tour
There are a lot of great ghost tours available in Washington DC, including at least a few pay-what-you-want excursions.
The Ghosts of Georgetown walking tour covers the darker side of a historic DC neighborhood, including tales of hauntings, curses, and more.
There are also tours near the White House which cover some of the more notable tragedies in DC's history.
For even more options, check our post about Washington DC Ghost Tours.
The summer concerts may be over, but DC is still hosting some incredible performances this October.
Some of the concerts featured will be hosted at the Anthem, Capital One Arena, and at the Wharf.
Below is a list of some performances being put on in venues in and around DC throughout the month:
- Panic! At the Disco | October 1st
- Post Malone | October 4th
- The Killers | Ocotber 10th
- Demi Lovato | October 10th
- Rufus Smart | October 12th
- Keith Sweat/R&B Fest | October 15th
- Regina Spektor | October 19th
- Smashing Pumpkins/Jane's Addiction | October 18th
- ZZ Top | October 22nd
- Iron Maiden | October 23rd
- Violent Femmes | October 23rd, 24th
- Dropkick Murphy's | October 25th
- Arcade Fire | October 27th, 28th, 29th
- Better Than Ezra | October 28th
Keep an eye out for more great concerts in DC.
You usually don't need to head to NYC's Broadway to see a Broadway-quality show. Touring companies come through DC, and a few shows are on tap for October such as:
- Guys and Dolls | October 7th - 16th
- Hamilton | October 4th - 9th
- TINA - The Tina Turner Musical | October 15th - 16th
- Disney Junior Live on Tour - Costume Palooza | October 21st, 22nd
There are also a number of comedians doing stand-up in DC in October. Some of the biggest name are:
- Bret McKenzie | October 2nd
- Kat Williams | October 21st, 22nd
- Chris Rock | October 27th, 28th, 29th
- Marlon Wayans | October 15th
Check this list of comedy shows in Washington DC to see who else will be performing this month.
Come out for the wine and enjoy the sunset tour! This is a great way to see George Washington's historic Mount Vernon plantation in a different light.
There will be an unlimited sampling of over 20 local Virginian wines and live music as you stroll the gorgeous lawns of Mount Vernon.
The event takes place October 7th - 9th, 2002, from 6:00 - 9:00 PM.
Grab your ticket here.
5. Go to a Pumpkin Patch
There aren't any farms or pumpkin patches in Washington DC itself, but you'll find a few in the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland.
If you're looking for a fun Halloween activity to enjoy with the family, this is an excellent idea that also supports local farms and businesses.
Here are a few great pumpkin patches you might want to visit:
Just keep in mind you'll probably need a car to reach most of these locations. For even more farms, check this list of pumpkin patches in the Washington DC area.
DC's biggest beer festival is taking place in downtown this October!
With the purchase of your ticket, you have access to over 400 brews on tap, live music, and an array of food trucks to purchase food from.
Events take place October 8th, 2022, beginning at 2:00 PM (general admission) or 12:00 PM (VIP).
7. All Things Go Fall Classic
This fall festival takes place at the Merriweather Post Pavilion and features great music and some amazing food!
Although it's not in the heart of DC, this location is fairly close and within driving distance. Check out this video from a previous year's festival.
You can expect musical artists such as Lorde, Mitski, Bleachers, and many others to make an appearance at the festival this year.
Events take place on October 1st, 2022. To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit the website.
8. Army Ten-Miler
Put on your sneakers and come out to this incredible Army 10-Miler run coming back to DC this fall!
If you're not much of a runner, this is still a fun event to spectate as the course winds its way around DC and the Pentagon for the best highlights of the city.
The race takes place October 9th, 2002. If you can't make it out, these are all places you can see on our free tours!
We're pumped about hockey season! The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018 and we're rooting for another one this year!
Get your tickets here and come out and cheer on your favorite team. This is the perfect event for the whole family!
Football season is here, and there will be two games played here at the FedExField.
DC also has a soccer team, DC United, which plays at Audi Field near the Wharf.
The Washington Wizards has three games in October at the Capitol One Arena.
Finally, the Nats will have a few more regular season games at the beginning of the month. They might also make it to the postseason, which would mean even more games to attend!
For more family-friendly ideas, check out our things to do with kids section.
10. Look into a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass for Savings
Tourist attraction discount passes bundle together many popular attractions and tours into one discounted price and can save you over 50%.
They also can save you time with skip-the-ticket-line privileges.
Attractions you can see with these passes include:
- CitySights Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
- International Spy Museum
- The Capital Ferris Wheel
- George Washington's Home, Mount Vernon
We detail how these passes work and help you decide which, if any, is best for you.
Boo at the Zoo
Get your spook on at the National Zoo! Boo is the Zoo is a great family-friendly event where kids can trick-or-treat, sing their hearts out at karaoke, and more in the cool setting of the zoo.
There will also be after-hours access to parts of the zoo, like the small mammal house and elephant community center.
Boo at the Zoo takes place October 28th, 29th, 30th, 2002. Grab your tickets here.
DC at night is lovely and full of things to do. We have a number of things to do at night in DC listed in our top10 section above, such as attending a sports event or a concert.
Below we have a list of a few more things to do after the sun goes down.
For more nighttime activities, visit our post on things to do at night in DC.
Take a Ghost Tour
With Halloween taking place this month, October is the perfect time to take a ghost tour!
Our tours take you through some of the spookiest neighborhoods of DC to get you into the spirit (get it?) of the holiday!
To check out our full tour schedule, click here.
Dupont Circle Halloween Bar Crawl
Get in the Halloween spirit with a day of boos and brews through Dupont Circle or other neighborhoods in DC.
The Official Halloween Bar Crawl will hit multiple venues with live music, and offer contest prizes and drink discounts among much more. Come dressed in costume!
Click here for tickets and more information. This event is 21+ and goes from 2 pm - 10 pm on October 29th, 2022.
Night of the Living Zoo
The National Zoo has a number of spooky festive events for Halloween, including Boo in the Zoo listed in the kids' section.
For those who have outgrown trick-or-treating, there's an adults-only party happening after hours.
There will be live music and after-hours viewing of animals, so dress up in your scariest costume and get ready for a fun night!
Take a “Soul Stroll” in the Congressional Cemetery
Annual twilight Soul Strolls" through the Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill introduce guests to some of the cemetery’s most famous forever residents.
Tours take place October 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd, 2002. Guests are encouraged to arrive early and grab a glass of wine before the event!
Click here for tickets and more information.
Below is a list of a few more free activities for October.
For even more budget-friendly ideas, check out our post on free things to do in DC.
Take a Walking Tour
And there is no cost to join our guided walking tours, but you have the option to pay what you like, or can afford, only after the tour is over.
You can find out more about all our walking tours here.
Visit the National Cathedral
While guided tours come at a cost, visiting the grounds or attending a service at the National Cathedral is free of charge.
Known for its incredible architecture and stained glass windows, the cathedral is quite a sight to see!
Don’t miss the ever-popular Darth Vader grotesque (similar to a gargoyle) on the exterior of the building!
Check out the Titanic Memorial
Remembering those who perished in the historically tragic ship-sinking event on April 15, 1912, the memorial also offers a serene place to take in the beautiful views of the Potomac River.
For a list of the most memorable memorials in DC, check out our post here.
Visit Arlington National Cemetery
Cemeteries are great places to visit for history not just near Halloween but year-round.
Arlington National Cemetery is the sacred resting ground for hundreds of thousands of our nation's heroes, as well as two of our presidents.
Washington, DC is super family-friendly!
There are also so many activity options available, there is sure to be something to fit everyone's tastes.
A few activities we've listed above are also kid-friendly, like Boo in the Zoo in our Top Ten sections, so be sure to read through the other sections for more ideas.
You can also check out our master post on things to do with kids in DC for more ideas.
National Mall Walking Tour for Kids
Our newest walking tour is meant just for our younger visitors. It's a shorter highlight tour with less walking and less talking... and more fun!
We have a scavenger hunt for kids to do at each memorial, where they will learn some fun facts about each memorial and history along the way (but shhh, don't tell them).
See more details from our post on our National Mall Tour: Kids Version.
Trick or Treat at the Tudor Place
The historic Tudor Place, a home and garden built in 1816, is a beautiful place to visit while in Washington, DC.
They host a number of events throughout the year and will be putting on a special Halloween tour that explores "death and mourning traditions" in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
The tour takes place October 30th, 2002, from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased here.
Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon
Celebrate the fall harvest with the whole family at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Participate in a number of children’s 18th Century activities at the Pioneer Farm and tour the home of our nation’s first president.
This special event takes place over October 22nd and 23rd, 2002 - from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Tickets and more information for Fall Harvest Family Days are available on the website.
There will also be a trick-or-treating event at Mount Vernon on October 29th, 2002 - from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM.