Updated on October 27, 2023 by Julie McCool
2023 October events in Northern Virginia bring pumpkin patches, Oktoberfests, art, wine, and craft festivals, and more fall fun to the Washington DC region. Cooler weather and fall foliage offer a beautiful backdrop to fun celebrations all month long.
Spooky and not-so-scary events run all month, ending with local trick-or-treating when Halloween arrives. Follow the links to find detailed schedules, purchase tickets, and check for weather closures.
Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission from these links if you order something, at no additional cost to you.
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.
Check our guide to 21 Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia for more can't-miss Autumn fun.
Cox Farms Fall Festival, Cox Farms, Centreville, thru Nov 6
The annual Cox Farms Fall Festival returns in 2023 with even more attractions. The biggest fall festival in Northern VA is packed with slides, rope swings, hayrides, a corn maze, and more family fun. Hours and ticket prices vary by day, follow the link for details.
Find more pumpkin fun in our complete guide to Pumpkin Patches in Northern Virginia.
Cirque du Soleil ECHO, Tysons, Sep 6 – Oct 21
The fantastical Cirque du Soleil returns to the big top in Tysons as Northern Virginia hosts the US premiere of Cirque du Soleil ECHO. This brand new show “explores the delicate balance between people, animals, and the world we all share.” As with previous Cirque Tysons shows (like Kurios, Luzia, and VOLTA) we expect elaborate sets, stunning acrobatics, and a mesmerizing experience for all ages.
Cirque ECHO Tysons will host evening performances Wednesday through Sunday plus matinees Friday through Sunday. Tickets start at $54 for weekday shows, $64 Friday night and weekends with VIP and family options available.
Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest, Fort Belvoir, Sep 28 -Oct 1
Fort Belvoir once again opens its gates to the public for the 25th annual Oktoberfest. This long weekend of German music, food, and fun is held at the base’s Fremont Field. Many festival activities, including the Kinder Korner, 5K/10K Volksmarch, and live music, are free.
Purchase an armband for all-day, unlimited rides at the carnival (discounted tickets for military personnel on Sunday). Entrance is open to all, but adults must have a valid State Driver’s License or Military ID to enter. Thurs 6:00 – 10:00, Fri 4:00 – 11:00, Sat noon – 11:00, Sun noon – 8:00.
Mosaic Fall Festival, Fairfax, Sep 30 – Oct 1
Enjoy live music, food from local vendors, and more at the annual Mosaic Fall Festival. The two-day festival also includes a craft fair, farmers market, and special activities for kids. Free; 11:00 – 6:00 daily.
MPAartfest, McLean, Oct 1
MPAartfest transforms McLean Park into an outdoor art studio and community-wide celebration of the visual arts. The festival features contemporary art plus music, food, children's activities, and more. Free admission; 10:00 – 4:00.
Fall for the Book Festival, Fairfax, Oct 4 – 10
The annual Fall for the Book Festival returns in 2023. Join authors and artists from around the world for book readings, exhibitions, performances, and discussions at George Mason University. Follow the link for schedule details.
Workhouse Haunt, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Oct 6 – 31
Northern Virginia’s scariest haunted trail returns to the Workhouse Arts Center for its 10th year. Zombies, swamp creatures, and more creepy characters terrify those brave enough to walk through the abandoned buildings at the Workhouse campus. Live entertainment and food trucks add to the fun on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Haunt walk-through trail is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays plus Halloween. Timed entry tickets are $30. Many dates will sell out so get your tickets early. 7:00 – 11:00, Sunday to 10:00.
Find more Halloween Scares + Fun in Northern Virginia.
Waterford Fair, Waterford, Oct 6 – 8
Head to beautiful historic Waterford VA for the 79th annual Waterford Fair. Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair. Watch and interact with artisans at work, tour Village gardens, and enjoy a weekend in the country. Kids' activities make the fair a family-friendly event. Single day adult tickets are $20/$25 advance/day of. Follow the link for more ticket options, the artisan list, and schedule details. 10:00 – 5:00.
Kick-off the fall season at George Washington’s Mount Vernon‘s annual Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Taste unlimited samples from Virginia wineries while you relax on the expansive East Lawn and watch the sunset over the Potomac River. George Washington will be in attendance, but the Mansion will be closed.
Tickets often sell out for this popular event. Tickets start at $43/$53 members/non-members. 6:00 – 9:00 pm nightly.
CCC Living History Days, Prince William Forest Park, Oct 7 – 8
Prince William Forest Park celebrates the park's fascinating history with cultural and craft demonstrations and living history reenactors. No reservation required; 9:00 – 5:00.
Prelude to Fall in the Garden, Chantilly, Oct 7 – 9
The New National Botanic Garden in Centreville opens for a few days in early October for a look at the pre-fall foliage. Take a self-guided tour of the bamboo garden, Hobbit Town, the unique Xeric garden, and more. Tickets are $30; open noon – 5:00.
Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, Oct 7
The annual Art on the Avenue festival returns to Del Ray in 2023. The family-friendly festival includes juried artists selling handmade wares across ten blocks of Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue. Five stages of live entertainment, plus food vendors, interactive art activities, and kids' activities add to the fun. Free; 10:00 – 6:00.
Find more Fun Unique Things to Do in Alexandria VA.
Vienna Oktoberfest, Vienna, Oct 7
The popular Vienna Oktoberfest takes over Church Street for its 14th year with its biggest festival yet. Enjoy three stages of live entertainment, a German beer and food garden sponsored by Caboose Brewing Company, plus plenty of kids' activities, games, and crafts. Admission is free; 11:00 – 7:00.
Find more Great Things to Do in Vienna Virginia.
Bram Fall Fest, Brambleton, Oct 7
Celebrate the season at Brambleton's biggest event of the year. Enjoy live music, food, amusements, and more. Tickets are $15/$20 for residents/non-residents with discount advance tickets available. 1:00 – 6:00.
Fall Jubilee, Manassas, Oct 7
Experience fall with a trip to historic Downtown Manassas for the 39th annual Fall Jubilee. This family-friendly extravaganza fills the streets of this historic town each year and includes a wine garden, pumpkin patch, live entertainment, and more than 100 crafter and community booths. Free; 10:00 – 5:00.
SterlingFest, Sterling, Oct 7
The annual SterlingFest brings area residents together to enjoy foods, crafts, children’s activities, and rides. Business, health, technical, informational, and religious vendors offer information, and local musicians provide entertainment throughout the day. Free admission. 11:00 – 5:00.
Falls Church Farm Day, Falls Church, Oct 7
Gather the kids and head to Cherry Hill Park for a day of family-friendly farm fun. Enjoy a petting zoo, pumpkin rides, farmhouse demonstrations, pumpkin painting, and more activities plus live music. Free admission, 10:00 – 3:00.
Open House, Library of Congress Packard Campus, Culpeper, Oct 7
Once a year, the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper Virginia opens its doors to the public. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the largest collection of films, tv broadcasts, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings in the world (more than 1.1 million items!). This is an incredible opportunity for video/audio buffs.
The 75-minute tour includes all three floors of the beautiful Packard Campus building and features screenings and demonstrations with the experts who work here. Free but timed reservations are required. 10:00 – 2:00.
The Packard Campus also hosts free movie screenings throughout the year in their beautiful theater.
Clifton Day, Clifton, Oct 8
Head to charming Clifton for a day of family-friendly activities at the annual Clifton Day. Attractions include crafts, live entertainment, pony rides, children’s activities, and plenty of food and beverage choices. Admission is free and paid parking starts at $5.00 per car, but why not arrive in style?
Clifton Day is the only day of the year that you can take the Virginia Railway Express to town. Train service to Clifton is free from all stops between Manassas and Rolling Road, and the return trip is only $5.00. 9:00 – 5:00.
Fall Carnival and Harvest Days, Frying Pan Park, Oct 13 -15
Enjoy a whole weekend of fun at Frying Pan Park at the Fall Carnival and Harvest Days. Carnival rides, games, food, join the animals at the farm along with Harvest Days demonstrations and kid-friendly activities. Free admission; carnival tickets $1.25 each with multi-packs available. Friday 5:00 – 9:00; Saturday 11:00 – 9:00, Sunday 11:00 – 6:00.
Lucketts Fall Vintage Market, Berryville, Oct 13 – 15
The annual Lucketts Fall Vintage Market returns to the Clarke County Fairgrounds. Shop for unique finds from more than 200 hip vintage vendors. A craft beer garden, music, food trucks, and workshops add to the fun. General admission tickets are $15, Friday 12:30 – 5:00, weekend 10:00 – 5:00. Early bird $45, Friday 8:30 – 12:30.
Fairfax Fall Festival, Oct 14
The streets of Old Town Fairfax are lined with booths featuring crafters, food stalls, and local businesses during the 46th annual Fairfax Fall Festival. Carnival rides, live entertainment on three stages, and food and beer courts add to the fun. Admission is free but there are fees for some activities. 10:00 – 5:00; concert at 5:30.
Leesburg Car Show, Leesburg, Oct 14
Celebrating its 35th year, the Leesburg Car Show fills historic downtown Leesburg with over 150 classic cars. Check out the cars and cheer on your favorite for the awards in 32 categories. Noon – 4:00.
Garden Glow, Maymont Richmond, Oct 19 – 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.
Virginia Sales Tax Holiday, Oct 20 – 22
The Virginia Tax-free Weekend is back! Usually held in August, the special shopping weekend eliminates state tax on school supplies, clothing, shoes, and some emergency and home products. Follow the link for the full list.
Halloween Events, Multiple Locations, Oct 20 – 25
Don't miss out on early Halloween Events in Northern VA! Follow the link for our full guide to fun and spooky Halloween events happening this weekend and throughout the month.
Fall Harvest Festival, Mount Vernon, Oct 21 – 22
Mount Vernon celebrates autumn with Fall Harvest Family Days. Explore the farm, watch 18th-century demonstrations, and meet General Washington. All events are included with admission. 9:00 – 5:00 daily.
Tysons Fall Festival, Tyson Plaza, Oct 21
Celebrate the season on The Plaza at Tysons Corner with pumpkin carving, kids activities, live music, pet costume contest, and more. Free admission, noon – 6:00.
Haymarket Day, Haymarket, Oct 21
This annual hometown street festival includes a parade featuring local schools, performers, and law enforcement led by the year’s Town Marshal. Dozens of vendors, entertainers, a beer garden, and culinary options add to the family-friendly day. Free admission; 10:00 – 4:00
Ball's Bluff Battlefield Anniversary, Leesburg, Oct 21
Mark the 162nd anniversary of the Battle of Ball's Bluff with guided tours, reenactments, a concert, and cannon firing demonstration. At sundown, luminaria will be lit and there will be a ceremony at the cemetery. Free; 11:00 – 7:00.
Art Safari, Torpedo Factory Center, Alexandria, Oct 21
Join in an afternoon of hands-on activities for kids and families at the annual Art Safari in Old Town Alexandria. Dress to get a little messy! Free. 12:00 – 4:00.
Reston Home Tour, Reston, Oct 21
The annual Reston Home Tour offers self-conducted tours of four outstanding private homes in Reston neighborhoods plus the new Kensington Reston assisted living facility. See inspiring interior design, architecture, unique ideas, art collections, and renovation successes. Tickets include a location map and all proceeds benefit Reston Museum, operated by Reston Historic Trust. $30/35 advance/day of; 10:00 – 5:00.
Titanic Exhibition, National Harbor, Oct 21 – Dec 10
Here's another great reason to visit National Harbor. The Titanic Exhibition presents a powerful story of the disaster through the recovered belongings and stories of the people who were onboard. Tickets start at $29.50.
Washington International Horse Show, Marlboro MD, Oct 23 – 29
Since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show has brought world-class equestrian competition to DC. See top riders, Olympic veterans, and superstar horses in the nation's capital for thrilling show jumping, educational events, boutique shopping, and more. General admission tickets start at $25.
Bricks by the Lake, Reston,
Bricks by the Lake has been postponed to Jan 27, 2024.
Join in a day of Lego fun at Reston's beautiful Lake Anne. Bring your own themed creation, watch a master builder at work, compete in a timed Lego competition, and join in other crafts and activities. Free admission, 11:00 – 4:00.
Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Oct 28
The world-famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race returns to Great Meadow in The Plains. Race Day features hurdle and timber horse races, Jack Russell Terrier races, tent, tailgate and hat contests, and vendor booths for shopping. Tickets go on sale in mid-August.
Annandale Parade, Annadale, Oct 28
Enjoy family fun at the popular Annandale Parade. Watch clowns, storybook characters, marching bands, antique & military cars, fire trucks, civic organizations, and beautifully costumed international dancers as they march along Columbia Pike. This sixty-nine-year-old tradition gets bigger and better every year. Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. Free; 10:00 – noon.
Halloween Weekend Scares and Fun, Oct 28 – 31
Special Halloween events of the spooky and not-so-scary variety will be going on all Halloween Weekend. Awesome annual Halloween events include these favorites and many more.
- Air & Scare Day at the Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
- A family-friendly Ghost Town at Burke Lake Park
- Spirits and Spirits fun for all ages in historic Occoquan
- A terrifying haunted trail at the Workhouse Arts Center
- Trick-or-treating in Alexandria's Old Town
See our complete guide to Halloween in Northern Virginia for the full list of special events and trick-or-treating opportunities.
Marine Corps Marathon, Arlington, Oct 29
One of the largest marathons in the world, the Marine Corps Marathon follows a scenic course by the Potomac in Arlington and Washington DC. Known as ‘the best marathon for beginners,' the MCM is the largest marathon in the world that doesn't offer prize money, earning its nickname, “The People's Marathon.” Follow the link for details on schedule and registration.
Ongoing October Events and Fall Fun in Northern VA
Check out our guides to favorite fall activities for Autumn fun all month long. Our guides make it easy to plan a fall day trip or a weekend getaway.
Pumpkin Patches in Northern Virginia
Area pumpkin patches really ramp up in October. Our complete guide to pumpkin patches and corn mazes in Northern Virginia includes both paid and free options.
Apple Picking and Apple Season Festivals
October is prime apple season in Virginia and you can visit beautiful orchards in and near Northern VA. Apple picking is family-friendly, but it also makes a fun date or group outing. Our complete guide to Apple Picking in Virginia: U-Pick Orchards + Apple Festivals includes a handy map of the best apple-picking spots near DC.
16 Favorite Fall Hikes in Northern Virginia
Soak up the best fall foliage views with our guide to favorite fall hikes in the Northern VA area. From easy strolls to more challenging trails, we've found a great selection of foliage-friendly hikes in the region.
Virginia Wine Month
October is Virginia Wine Month so it's a great time to visit and sample the wonderful wineries in Northern VA. Use our guides to discover a new winery or revisit an old favorite:
- Sensational Northern Virginia Winery Views Close to Washington DC
- 8 Awesome Hike and Winery Day Trips Near Washington DC
- Beautiful Hunt Country Scenic Drive in Northern Virginia
- 17 Fantastic Northern VA Wine Country Vacation Rentals and Airbnbs
More Fantastic Ways to Celebrate Fall in Northern Virginia
Still looking for October events and outings? Follow the link to see how local Virginia tourism experts like to celebrate the fall season.
Coming in November
Check our November Events guide for the best things to do in November in Northern Virginia and nearby. For example, the DC Winter Lantern Festival returns to Lerner Town Center just in time for the Thanksgiving break.
Fall is a beautiful time in Virginia and there are so many ways to celebrate the season. Happily, many favorite annual October events in Northern Virginia are back in 2023.