What to Do in DC in November

This post covers the top things to do in November in Washington, DC (updated for 2019), 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.

 

 

Visit fallen veterans on our Arlington National Cemetery Tour or attend a wreath-laying ceremony at one of the war memorials.

You can visit the Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the WW2 Memorial 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) Attend a Concert

November brings plenty of concerts to DC. Below is a list of performers passing through the city:

For other things to do at night in DC, check out our night section below. 


3) Take a Sightseeing Tour!

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

 

 

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) Watch a Basketball, Football or Hockey Game

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!

Washington Redskins

Football season is here, and there will be two games played here at the FedExField: against the New York Jets (Nov. 17) and against the Detroit Lions (Nov. 24).

Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards have a number of preseason games in October at the Capital One Arena. Grab your tickets here

For more family-friendly ideas, check out our things to do with kids section.


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.


6) CityCenter DC Tree Lighting Ceremony

There are multiple Christmas tree lighting ceremonies to take place in the district throughout the holidays. One of the first of the season happens in centrally located CityCenter.

This event is fun for the whole family and free to attend. Check back on the website to see the 2019 tree lighting date and details announced.

 

 


7) See a Show

The ballet is in DC! Get into the holiday spirit with The Nutcracker put on by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theater.

 

 

There are a number of other shows coming to venues all across DC this November, and you can peruse them and grab tickets here.  


8) DC Beer Fest

Nov. 2, 2019

Nationals Park is hosting the DC Beer Festival this November. Come out to see where the Nationals play for an event full of beer, food trucks, and even dueling pianos! You can get your ticket here

 

 

The stadium is located at the Wharf, a great neighborhood in DC with lots of history you can learn about on one of our Wharf tours


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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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

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 top 10 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 an Evening Tour

In addition to our daytime walking tours, we also offer nighttime tours that are a bit more…scandalous.

White House at Night: Secrets, Scandals, Legends, Dark Side of Dupont, and Lincoln Assassination are just a few of the tours we offer at night.

 

 

You can also come out and see the memorials by moonlight, a way to enjoy the National Mall lit up at night while getting a great tour experience. 

To check out our full tour schedule, click here.


Mount Vernon By Candlelight

Nov. 29 & 30, 2019

This is a special annual opportunity to visit the home of George Washington after hours! 

Mount Vernon by Candlelight offers guests a tour of the property by candlelight and led by character actors. While on tour, you’ll learn about 18th Century holiday traditions and more!

To learn more and purchase tickets, click here and to learn more about visiting Mount Vernon, check out our post here


DC Comedy Jam

Nov. 2, 2019

DC has some great comedians passing through year-round. This November, come out for a laugh at the DC Comedy Jam. The event takes place at the DAR Constitution Hall near the White House.

Get your tickets here


Fall Fest River Cruise

Nov. 3, 2019

Set sail on a crisp fall evening on the National Ferry Corporation’s Fall Fest River Cruise.

The sights you’ll see while cruising down the Potomac River will be beautiful, and you’ll have access to a bar offering a selection of ciders, wine, cocktails, and even pumpkin beer!

The cruise lasts 90 minutes and leaves from the  Washington Marina at 5:30pm.

Get your tickets here


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. 29th and stay up until New Year’s Day, so you’ll have plenty of chances to stroll through the National Zoo

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

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO

DC is loaded with free things to do! A lot of the items we’ve listed in other sections like attending a tree lighting festival are completely free to attend. 

Here are a few more free activities for November.

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


Visit Union Market

A lively and vibrant place (especially on weekends), Union Market is a casual and unique spot to grab lunch from a local vendor, shop around, and see what kind of pop-up or special event is taking place.

The market is open seven days a week from 11am-8pm Sunday-Thursday and 11am- 9pm Friday & Saturday. 


Food History Week

Nov. 7-9, 2019

The Smithsonian American History Museums has some of our nations coolest treasures- from the flag that inspired our national anthem to the first ladies’ inaugural ball gowns.

Also taking place is Food History Week this November, a cool new exhibit with cooking demonstrations, hands-on activities, even a bit about beer history so there’s someone for everyone!

Entry to the Smithsonian Museums is always free. 


Visit the Planetarium in Rock Creek Park

The only planetarium in the National Park Service, the one in Rock Creek Park is a part of the Nature Center.

It offers a number of free activities throughout the week and admission is free of charge.

The Nature Center is open daily from 9am-5pm.


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

 


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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN DC IN NOVEMBER

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 visiting a museum, 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.


Dia De Los Muertos

Nov. 2, 2019

Celebrate the Day of the Dead in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. There will be a number of events going on, from live music to kids’ activities.

To learn more and see pictures from last years’ event, click here


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.


DC Butterfly Pavilion 

The Smithsonian Natural History Museum is a free museum to visit full of cool stuff all having to do with nature. Inside, they have the Butterfly Pavilion, which is a beautiful place to see butterflies.

The best part is that on Tuesday tickets are free!

Be sure to check out all the other amazing museums while you’re in DC this November. 


Storytime at the Hirshhorn Museum

Every Wednesday at 10 am and Sunday at 11am storytime takes place among the art at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum on the National Mall.

 

 

Children are introduced to a piece of artwork on display and then read a story. No reservations are required and it is free of charge!

 

 


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About the author

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with three published books about the city. She has traveled extensively and lived in London, UK where she attended University College London for a Masters in History and in Seoul, South Korea where she taught English. While her family is now based in DC, she still explores the world. Her two children (both under the age of 3) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts. She has been a part of the Free Tours by Foot team since 2011.