What to Do in DC in November

This post covers the top things to do in November in Washington, DC (updated for 2020), 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.

 

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TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO

This section covers our top ten list of things to do in DC for November.

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) Honor Veterans

DC has a number of special places to visit on Veteran’s Day to honor all those who are and have served in our Armed Forces.

 

 

At the time of writing, Arlington Cemetery was not open to visitors, and while this is a popular and fitting way to honor fallen veterans it won’t be possible for 2020 unless the cemetery re-opens.

You can still visit the Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the WW2 Memorial to  attend a wreath-laying ceremony at one of the war memorials on your own, or see them all on our National Mall tour

Geroge Washington’s Mount Vernon also has some special events we recommend you check out. 


2) Watch Planes Take Off and Land from Gravelly Point Park 

Aircraft enthusiasts flock to Gravelly Point Park which is adjacent to Reagan National Airport.

Accessible via bike trail or car parking lot, the grassy park is so close to the airport that planes flying in have their wheels down and are only seconds away from touchdown.

Grab a lawn blanket on a nice day and enjoy the view!

For even more budget-friendly ideas, check out our post on free things to do in DC


3) Take a Sightseeing Tour!

Our guided walks are a great way to see the city. For 2020, we are focusing on paid private and small group tours that allow us to offer the best experience with safety protocols in place.

 

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We also have self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours of neighborhoods that you will likely visit as a tourist in the city.

Check out our homepage to see what we have available when you are here.


4) Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights is a free annual event hosted by the National Zoo. The entire place is transformed with holiday lights, turning the place into a magical wonderland as you walk through after-hours.

Families are encouraged to bring little ones in this family-friendly activity.

The lights go up Nov. 27th and stay up until New Year’s Day, so you’ll have plenty of chances to stroll through the National Zoo

It is likely that timed tickets will be required (like as is needed just to visit the zoo at all right now) but no information on this has been released at time of writing.

For more nighttime activities, visit our post on things to do at night in DC


5) Shop Black Friday 

Spend some time immersed in retail therapy on the busiest shopping day of the year! Head to popular shopping neighborhoods in the district like Georgetown and Downtown DC.

 

 

Don’t forget that the day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday–a great chance to support independently owned local business.


9) Celebrate Thanksgiving

Spend this classic American holiday in the city!

Keep your eyes out for special Thanksgiving restaurant menus if you’d rather not cook your own turkey, run the calories off at the Turkey Trot after, or consider volunteering to brighten someone else’s holiday.

 

 

A number of places will be open during Thanksgiving, such as the Smithsonian Museums, so there will be plenty to do in DC on Thanksgiving.


10) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass 

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. 

 

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Attractions you can see with these passes include:

  • CitySights Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
  • International Spy Museum
  • Madame Tussauds
  • The Capital Ferris Wheel
  • George Washington’s Home

We detail how these passes work and help you decide which, if any, is best for you. 


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About the author

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 3 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the host of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All

With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 25 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 3) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.