November Events in Northern Virginia and Holiday Festivals Near DC

Updated on November 27, 2023 by Julie McCool

2023 November events in Northern Virginia take us from pumpkin patches and fall fun to holiday lights and winter festivals. We've rounded up a month of great November events in the Northern Virginia area to entertain every age and interest.

Looking for fun things to do this weekend in Northern VA? Our list of Northern Virginia events includes things to do in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Alexandria, Arlington, and other area towns. Festivals and events are listed in order of start date, with multi-day events generally listed first.

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Most of our annual favorites are back in 2023 and there are new festivalss too. Follow the links to find detailed schedules, purchase tickets when needed, and check for weather closures.

Pumpkin Patches in Northern VA

A few of the popular Northern Virginia fall festivals will be open the first week of November. For more details see our complete guides to Northern VA Pumpkin Patches.

Fall Foliage, Until the Last Leaf Falls

2023 fall foliage in Northern Virginia may be past peak but still colorful in early November. Our guide will help you find beautiful fall colors in the area.

Want to get active? Find the perfect fall hike in our round-up of 16 Great Fall Hikes in Northern Virginia. Or keep it relaxed on the best Scenic Drives in Northern Virginia.

Garden Glow, Maymont Richmond, thru Nov 12

See the beautiful gardens at historic Maymont in Richmond as they glow with colorful lighting. Fire pits, a glow bar, food trucks, and immersive art add to the fun. General admission tickets are $16/$12 for adults/kids 3-16 with member discounts available. Plan your visit and find fun things to do nearby with our Richmond getaway guide.

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks Open, Multiple Dates and Locations

As long as the weather cooperates, Northern Virginia outdoor ice skating rinks open in November. Opening dates have not been announced yet, but we'll update them here. Read our complete guide to Northern Virginia Ice Skating Rinks for details.

  • Reston Town Center, Reston, Nov 3
  • Harris Pavillion, Manassas, Nov 17
  • Pentagon Row, Arlington, Nov – Feb
  • Cameron Run, Alexandria, Dec 1
Ice Skating at Reston Town Center, one of the Fun Things to Do on Thanksgiving Weekend in Northern Virginia
Ice Skating Rink, Reston VA

Warming up after your visit to the Reston Ice Skating Rink? Check out the new LOOK Dine-In Cinemas at Reston Town Center.

Purcellville Artisan Tour, Purcellville, Nov 4 – 5

Spend a day in Purcellville visiting local artists’ studios to learn more about their creative process and inspiration, and to purchase their amazing work. Free; 10:00 – 5:00.

Find more fun stops with our guide to 8 Great Things to do in Purcellville Virginia.

Norwegian Holiday Festival and Bazaar, Fairfax, Nov 4 – 5, Dec 1 – 2

The Norwegian Holiday Festival is one of the first 2023 Holiday Markets in Northern Virginia. Shop for crafts, food, books, and more, and visit with Fjord horses and Lundehunds (select days). Make a reservation for a shopping time. Tip: Be prepared for a slow checkout line. This small market is held at Norway House, 3846 Meredith Drive in Fairfax. Free, 10:00 – 5:00 daily (11-4 on 11/5).

Veterans Day Parade, Manassas, Nov 4

Honor our veterans at the annual Manassas Veterans Day Parade. Military and veterans groups, scouts, and entertainers will march through Old Town Manassas in five divisions. Free; 11:00 – 12:30.

Revolutionary War Day, Gunston Hall, Lorton, Nov 4

The Revolutionary War touched everyone in the American colonies, not just soldiers. At Gunston Hall, learn about how private citizens like George Mason and his friends helped support the war effort. This is a family-friendly event with activities for all ages. Tickets are $10/$8 for adult/child, 5 and under free. 10:00.

Tug of War, Annapolis/Eastport, Nov 4

Celebrate one of the most unusual November events in the DMV when the Tug of War returns to Annapolis and Eastport. The “longest International Tug of War over water in the world,” pits the citizens of Annapolis against the “Maritime Republic of Eastport” in a good-hearted contest featuring music, food, and fun. Free, noon.

New! Alexandria Fall Fest, Alexandria, Nov 5

Celebrate the beauty of Autumn at the new River Farm Fall Festival, organized by Alexandria Living Magazine. Enjoy food trucks, crafts, pony rides, entertainment, and a chance to get a jump on holiday shopping at scenic River Farm.

Photos with Santa, Tysons Corner Center, Nov 9 – Dec 24

Photos with Santa return to Tysons Corner Center mall in 2023. Interactive displays deliver extra fun for the kiddies before the picture with Santa. Follow the link for pricing and hours.

Check out our Full Guide to Photos with Santa in Northern Virginia.

Bull Run Festival of Lights, Bull Run Regional Park, Nov 10 – Jan 7

Bull Run Festival of Lights Drive-Thru Holiday Favorites
Bull Run Festival of Lights

An annual holiday favorite, the Bull Run Festival of Lights dazzles with a 2.5-mile drive-through display of holiday and fairytale vignettes. While most of the display repeats year-to-year, there are usually new additions to enjoy. This is an ideal family activity even for the youngest kids, who stay warm and cozy as you slowly drive through the fun, animated displays.

Weekends get very busy, especially later in the season. Visit early or on a weekday to minimize cars and lines. The Holiday Village is open again in 2023. Admission is $30 online per car, $40 at the door. Use promo code early23 for a $10 discount, Nov 11 – 12, 17 – 19. Use promo code lights23 to save $5 weekday on select weekdays. Follow the link for details.

The Bull Run Festival of Lights is open 5:30 – 9:30 weekdays, 5:30 – 10:00 weekends including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

See our Complete Guide to Holiday Lights in Northern Virginia for more events and all the details.

Meadowlark Winter Walk of Lights, Vienna, Nov 10 – Jan 7

Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights Fairy Garden
Meadowlark Gardens Winter Walk of Lights

Every year Meadowlark Botanical Gardens lights up for the holidays with over 500,000 lights and displays on a .6 mile outdoor walking trail. Purchase timed entry tickets in advance to ensure you get parking and avoid lines. Limited tickets are available at the door on non-peak nights.

Warm up with a hot chocolate or cider, and shop at the Snowflake Shoppe for holiday ornaments, flashing jewelry, and other goodies.

Tickets are $18/$22 online/at the door for non-peak weeks (Nov 10 – Dec 7). Prices are $18 and must be purchased online for peak weeks (Dec 10 – Jan 7). Open nightly, including holidays, 5:30 – 10:00; last admission at 9:15.

Too cold or rainy to play outside? Check out our guide to Indoor Activities in Northern Virginia to Escape Winter Cold or a Rainy Day.

Alexandria Film Festival, Alexandria, Nov 10 – 12

See screenings of the best in independent filmmaking from around the world and our own Alexandria neighborhoods. Viewers can watch two days of in-person films or during a two-week virtual streaming period. Showcase tickets are $15 while an all-festival pass is $80.

Catoctin Holiday Art Tour, Lovettsville, Nov 11 – 12

Join local artists in their Lovettsville studios on a relaxing driving tour on some of western Loudoun's prettiest country roads. Meet the artists where they work and shop for affordable art and gifts for the holiday. Many studios feature food and wine from local businesses as well. Free admission; 10:00 – 5:00 daily.

Veterans Day Events, Multiple Locations, Nov 11 – 13

Veterans Day gives us all a chance to honor and thank the many men and women who have served our country in the U. S. Armed Forces. National Parks offer fee-free entry on November 11. Many local parks, recreation centers, and towns add their thanks with special programs and discounts.

National Park Free Admission, Nov 11

In honor of Veterans Day, all US National Parks offer free admission on November 11. It's a great opportunity to visit Shenandoah National Park, Great Falls Park, and Prince William Forest without paying a fee to enter. This is the last of 6 free entrance days in 2023.

National Museum of the United States Army, Fort Belvoir, Nov 11

Veterans Day marks the anniversary of the National Museum of the United States Army so it's a great time to visit. This long-anticipated museum celebrates and interprets over 240 years of U.S. Army history and tells the stories of America's Soldiers. Admission is free but timed entry tickets are required. The museum is open daily 9:00 to 5:00 except on Christmas.

Veterans Day Family Day, National Museum of the Marine Corps, Nov 11

Honor Veterans Day and celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday and the 17th anniversary of the National Museum of the Marine Corps with patriotic birthday-themed crafts. The museum is open daily, 9:00 – 5:00. Admission and parking are free.

Ice & Lights Winter Village, Cameron Run, Nov 17 – Jan 1

Ice & Lights returns to Cameron Run for a 5th year in 2023. The Village light display features festive photo opps including a walk-thru tree and photo frame, giant wreath, and beautiful design stars.

For an extra fee, enjoy an hour of fun on the ice skating rink. Light-up and cuddly items are available for purchase, and the concession stand sells treats and drinks.

Online admission tickets are $8 or $20 with 1 hour of skating. Winter Village tickets are also available at the door for $10. Open nightly, including holidays, 5:00 – 10:00. The ice skating rink opens weekends and holidays 11:00 – 5:00 from Jan 6 – Feb 25.

Find more skating fun: 11 Fun Washington DC and Northern Virginia Ice Skating Rinks.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Tyson Corner Center, Nov 17

Head to the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center to join Santa and the annual lighting of the 51-foot decorated tree. Free; 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Find more Tree Lighting and Christmas Lights in DC and Northern VA.

Holiday Craft Show, Fairfax High School, Nov 18 – 19

The annual Holiday Craft Show at Fairfax High School is one of the premium arts and crafts festivals in Northern Virginia. Artisans from all over the United States and local artists offer holiday gifs for everyone on your shopping list. $5/$8 one-day/two-day admission; under 18 free. Sat 10:00 – 5:00, Sun 10:00 – 3:00.

Annual Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Show, GMU, Fairfax, Nov 18 – 19

With over 20 dealers selling minerals, fossils, crystals, gems, jewelry, carvings, meteorites and more, you're sure to find unique holiday gifts for the geology lover on your list. The 30th annual show includes demonstrations, hands-on exhibits, kid's activities, and more. Follow the link for parking info and a discount coupon. $6/$4/$3 adults/seniors/teens. Saturday 10:00 – 6:00, Sunday 10:00 – 4:00.

Occoquan Holiday Fest + Tree Lighting, Occoquan, Nov 18

Ring in the holiday season as Historic Occoquan kicks off the Occoquan Holiday Fest. Town shops decorate for the season and stay open late so you can shop local for holiday gifts. Head to the Town Hall lawn at 6:00 pm for the annual tree lighting. Free. Occoquan is one of the best Christmas towns for holiday shopping.

FallFest, Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, Nov 18

Join in a day of Bavarian-themed fun when the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum hosts FallFest. Watch and learn Bavarian dance and crafts, try an Alphorn and cowbell, and sample German food (extra fee). Admission is $5/$4 adults/4-12, free for members, 12:30 – 5:00

Tree Lighting Festival, Village at Leesburg, Nov 18

Santa will arrive by horse-drawn carriage to light the Spectacular Musical Tree. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, caroling, holiday characters, cozy fire pits with treats, and more festive fun. Visitors are encouraged to bring a toy to be donated to Toys for Tots. Free; 4:00 – 7:00.

Alexandria Cider Festival, Alexandria, Nov 18

Enjoy a selection of ciders from more than 10 Virginia cideries. Tickets include tastings, a souvenir glass, live music, and a little history. Tickets are $55/$65 advance/at the door; 1:00 – 5:00.

Christmas at Gaylord + ICE! 2022, National Harbor, Nov 19 – Dec 31

Marvel at more than 2 million twinkling lights, amazing nightly snowfall, and beautiful dancing fountains at Gaylord’s Christmas on the Potomac in National Harbor. ICE! 2023 features scenes from that holiday favorite “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer” featuring 2 million pounds of ice sculptures and 4 ice slides.

ICE! Rudolph Flies Gaylord National Harbor
ICE! Rudolph Flies, Gaylord National Harbor

You can also enjoy photos with Santa, tubing down an ice-covered hill, and more family-friendly activities. Follow the link for more photos and details.

Happy Thanksgiving!, Nov 23

We'd like to wish a very happy, tasty, relaxing, and fun-filled Thanksgiving to all of our readers, friends, and followers. We are grateful for the support of our wonderful community, both online and in person.

Check out our guide to fun Thanksgiving Weekend events and activities in Northern VA. You'll find great things to do whether you're hosting family or going it alone. However you choose to spend Thanksgiving, we hope you have a beautiful weekend.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight, Nov 24 – Dec 9 Weekends + Dec 17

Visit the mansion at night during a Mount Vernon by Candlelight tour.
Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Looking for a place to walk off your feast surrounded by history? George Washington's Mount Vernon is open daily, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Did you know that George Washington first proclaimed a day of thanksgiving in 1789? This is a great time to tour the grounds and the Mansion.

On candlelight evenings, soft lights and holiday patterns illuminate the grounds, Christmas carolers sing, and you can visit an 18th-century winter encampment. Follow the link for details and to purchase timed-entry tickets.

DC Winter Lantern Festival, Tysons, Nov 24 – Feb 18

DC Winter Lantern Festival Northern Virginia
DC Winter Lantern Festival Northern Virginia

The DC Lantern Festival returns to Northern Virginia! The 2023 DC Winter Lantern Festival will light up Lerner Square in Tysons with over 100 beautiful Chinese lanterns. The walk-through light show offers great photo opps plus interactive displays. Stay at Hyatt Tysons Corner and you can walk to the show.

The Lantern Festival is open 5:00 – 10:00 pm, Friday through Sunday plus daily during Christmas week. Tickets start at $21.99/$15.99 for adult/youth 3 – 12.

NVHG Art and Craft Show, Vienna, Nov 24 – 26

This popular show features 50+ juried artisans offering original handmade art and craft items, including jewelry, clothing and other textiles, woodworking, sculpture, pottery and ceramics, glass art, handweaving, photography, drawing and painting, and other decorative and functional arts. $3; Fri and Sat 10:00 – 5:00, Sun 10:00 – 4:00.

Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree, Multiple Locations

Many of the wonderful cut-your-own Christmas Tree farms in Virginia open on Thanksgiving weekend. Start a family tradition by choosing your tree and holiday decorations early in the season.

Holiday Parade, Reston Town Center, Nov 24

Gather the family, bundle up, and head to Reston Town Center for a day of holiday fun. At 11:00, watch the annual Thanksgiving parade, which grows larger and more impressive every year.

Reston Town Center Holidays Are Here Parade float
Reston Town Center Holiday Parade

Photos with Santa, mini-train rides, and live entertainment fill the afternoon, Christmas tree lighting and sing-along at 6:00, and carriage rides from 6:30 to 10:00. When you need a break to warm up, check out the gingerbread village in the lobby of the Hyatt.

Christmas Tree Lighting, Mosaic District, Fairfax, Nov 24

Celebrate the holidays with the Christmas Tree Lighting, a Santa Claus Fire Truck Parade, and live entertainment. Free, 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

#OptOutside with REI and Virginia State Parks, Nov 24

REI invites folks to turn Black Friday into Green Friday by spending time in nature instead of shopping until you drop. REI closes all its stores and pays its staff to #OptOutside on Black Friday. Follow the link to find Virginia State Parks activities near you. Check for special events at Fairfax County Parks too.

Or create your own outdoor fun at these family-friendly parks, beautiful fall hikes in Virginia, or these short hikes to gorgeous Virginia views. Or check our complete hike and bike list to find a Northern Virginia trail near you.

Black Friday Alexandria, Alexandria, Nov 24

Alexandria’s alternative Black Friday experience features more than 50 independent boutiques kicking off the holiday shopping season. Find one-of-a-kind deals on designer merchandise, including home décor, chic fashions, gourmet food, classic toys, and gifts for dogs. Store offers vary, with special discounts throughout the day and many boutiques opening early.

This is also the day of the Old Town Alexandria tree lighting. Folks gather in Market Square from 6:00 to 8:00 PM for a visit by Santa and lighting of the official city tree. Free.

Small Business Saturday, Nov 25

Support your favorite local businesses with a shopping spree on Small Business Saturday. Many area downtowns and malls will offer specials throughout the day. Last year there were small business specials offered in Alexandria, Fairfax Corner, Historic Manassas, Mosaic District, ViennaOld Town Winchester, and more.

Church Street Holiday Stroll, Vienna, Nov 27

Festive fun takes over downtown Vienna when the Church Street Holiday Stroll returns. Enjoy live music, a tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, and sparkly lights. Free; 6:00 – 8:30.

It's always exciting to see favorite November events in Northern Virginia return for another year. Whether you attend these November events or create your own seasonal fun, we wish you a happy and fun-filled month.

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November events in Northern Virginia. Things to do in Virginia and Washington DC region. Pumpkin fests, Thanksgiving, holiday events.
November Events in Northern Virginia