Add These Free Outdoor Fests to Your Fall Calendar

Get into the groove, sample savory snacks and sips, and perk up your pooch at these street parties.

Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk headlines the 30th annual Rosslyn Jazz Fest, kicking off a season of outdoor festivals in and around Arlington. (Image courtesy of Rosslyn Jazz Fest)

The fall. There is just so much to enjoy: PSLs. Leaf peeping. Hay rides. Street festivals.

While you’re counting down the days till the autumnal equinox, you can get started on the season with these free outdoor fests—packed with live music, mouth-watering food, kid and pet activities, and opportunities to enjoy the weather before cold temperatures roll in. Add these neighborhood parties to your list:

Rosslyn Jazz Fest

Sept. 10, 1-7 p.m.

Afro-Cuban musician Cimafunk—named one of Billboard’s 10 Latin Artists to Watch in 2019—headlines this 30th annual jazz celebration at Gateway Park. While jamming out, enjoy yard games, stop by the Arlington Art Truck, visit food trucks and grab a beverage from one of three pop-up bars. (Pro tips: Rev up for the big day with these pre-fest events, and study up on the artists with the official Rosslyn Jazz Fest playlist.) // Gateway Park, 1300 Langston Blvd., Arlington. Free admission. Additional costs for food and drink.

Starr Hill Soft Opening Chess

The Perch, Capital One Hall’s skypark, is celebrating its first birthday with a three-day party. (Courtesy of Capital One Hall)


Sept. 16-18, Times vary

Capital One Hall’s skypark, The Perch, rings in its first birthday with this three-day party. Catch an array of local bands, sip on pours from the Starr Hill Biergarten, play a round of mini golf and even adopt a rescue dog while you’re at it. Event registrants will receive $5 off a ticket to Bruce Springsteen tribute concert We Rock Cancer on Friday night at Capital One Hall. // Starr Hill Biergarten at The Perch, 1805 Capital One Drive, Tysons. Free admission. Additional costs for food and drink. Donations to Ronald McDonald House Charities encouraged. 

Mwenso And The Shakes

Mwenso and the Shakes, based in Harlem, N.Y., will play Rosslyn Jazz Fest Sept. 10.  (Image courtesy of Rosslyn Jazz Fest)

Falls Church Festival

Sept. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Get a taste of Falls Church (literally—you can purchase “taste tickets” to be exchanged for samples of local restaurant fare and alcoholic beverages) at this all-day affair in the heart of The Little City. Bring the little ones out for lots of outdoor entertainment, including live music, a crafting tent and amusement rides. And pop by booths from local makers and community organizations. // Falls Church City Hall and Community Center, 300 Park Ave., Falls Church. Free admission. Additional costs for food and drink.

Clarendon Day

Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Fall’s almost here, but it’s never too late to enjoy some yacht rock. At this family-friendly community event, kick back and groove to Captain Seawalker’s Yacht Rock Party and other live bands as you stroll past six blocks of booths, vendors and kids’ activities. Highlights include bites from SmokeCraft Modern Barbecue, Ambar and Circa; beer and wine pours; locally made jewelry, hats and candles; and an 18-foot inflatable slide. (Don’t get too excited: We’re told that’s just for kids.) The first 600 children to stop by the Clarendon Alliance booth will receive a prize. // The periphery of Clarendon Metro Park on Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards, Arlington. Free Admission. Additional costs for food and drink.

Clarendonday Street Shot

Clarendon Day will take over six blocks around the Clarendon Metro station on Sept. 24. (Image courtesy of Clarendon Alliance)


Sept. 25, Noon-5 p.m.

Hit this fourth annual street festival near Four Mile Run, hosted by New District Brewing Co., featuring live performances, local art, food trucks, a “Kidz Zone” and, of course, beer. Want a memento? Advance ticket beer packages ($22) come with three pours and a commemorative pint glass. // S. Oakland Street near S. Four Mile Run Drive. Free admission. Additional costs for food and drink. 

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Paws on the Pike is celebrating its fifth year with pet photography, animal blessings and more. (Image courtesy of the Columbia Pike Partnership)

Paws on the Pike

Oct. 8, 1-5 p.m.

This pet party marks its fifth year with an outdoor blowout near Columbia Pike. Gussy up your favorite little friend for a professional photo shoot from Alex Sakes Photography, sign them up for an animal blessing, let them hydrate at the water bar and find plenty of other pet-geared fun. // Centro Arlington, 950 S. George Mason Drive, Arlington. Free admission.

McLean Pet Fest

Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sure, there will be pet tricks on display, helpful informational resources, music, food trucks and giveaways. But we all know the big draw for this fest is the pet parade. (Stick around till 3 p.m. to catch it!) Want a better idea of what to expect? Peep this video to catch highlights from last year’s event. // McLean Central Park, 1468 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean. Free admission.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink