Enjoy these free events around the DC area this weekend

Now that the government shutdown has been averted, and federal workers can breathe a sigh of relief, it’s a good time to enjoy the crisp fall air — without opening your pocketbook.

Here are some free events taking place around D.C., Maryland and Virginia this weekend.


2023 World Culture Festival
Sept. 29-Oct. 1
The National Mall

Organized by D.C.-based nonprofit Art of Living foundation, the World Culture Festival offers “a platform for the preservation of local and indigenous traditions through music and dance as well as the opportunity for everyone else to relish and enjoy,” according to its website.

A list of programming is available online, with Saturday featuring events celebrating go-go music, Garba dancing and Chinese classical music.

In the event of a shutdown, Sunday’s programming will be moved “to a private venue” and livestreamed for audiences, according to Art of Living spokesperson Kushal Choksi.

Learn more about parking restrictions and road closures related to the festival here.

Art All Night
Sept. 29-30 from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.
At these locations across the District

D.C.’s annual Art All Night festival brings activations to more than 20 main street corridors and eight public libraries this year. The event features visual and performing arts, local vendors and kid-friendly programming.

“Art All Night is a showcase of the incredible artistic talent that resides in DC,” said D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development Director Kristi Whitfield in a news release.

Panda Palooza 
Until Oct. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nationals Park

The National Zoo’s Panda Palooza — which started on Sept. 23 to celebrate the Zoo’s three Giant Pandas before they head back to China — is still going strong for a couple more days. On Saturday and Sunday, guests can enjoy activities like a conservation scavenger hunt, live music and free screenings of “Kung Fu Panda” and “The Miracle Panda” — plus, special panda-themed treats, like a Panda Cookie from Dolci Gelati and a Panda Sundae from Ben and Jerry’s.

If you can’t make it this weekend but want to see the pandas before they leave, the Zoo has announced it will remain open until at least Oct. 7 in the event of a shutdown using prior-year funds.


Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Fall Fair
Oct. 1 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Veterans Plaza

On Sunday, head down to Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring to check out the work of more than 80 vendors — selling everything from paintings to handmade jewelry, home décor to clothing (for both people and pets). The fair will go on, rain or shine!

Montgomery Parks’ Sunday Serenade
Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Cabin John Regional Park’s Amphitheater

With the help of Montgomery Parks and some local acts, you can kick off your Sunday morning with some live music at the Cabin John Regional Park’s Amphitheater in Bethesda. On Oct. 1, you can check out the Dixie Power Trio, which offers zydeco, jazz and rock tunes.

If you miss it this weekend, you can come back for the next two Sundays — on Oct. 8 for the Dave Chappell Band to hear some jazz and blues and Oct. 15 for the jazz group The Bruce Swaim Quartet.

Takoma Park Street Festival
Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
From Eastern Avenue NW on the D.C. border to Philadelphia Avenue in Takoma Park

The Takoma Park Street Festival will return for its 42nd year on Sunday. Celebrate with live local music — with 18 performances across three stages — and more than 150 booths hosted by local artists, community groups and green companies. On Laurel Avenue’s Takoma Streetery, you’ll find local restaurants and food trucks to eat at.


Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
McLean Community Center

Nonprofit organization McLean Project for the Arts is turning McLean Central Park into a platform for numerous mini art galleries, showcasing and selling the work of juried artists from across the mid-Atlantic. You can tune into live music throughout the event, plus grab snacks from food vendors and take your family along for a Children’s Art Walk.

WTOP’s Michelle Goldchain contributed to this report.

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle. Before joining WTOP, she covered local Connecticut news at the Rivereast News Bulletin and reported on Congress

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