10 Can’t-Miss Fall Art Events in Alexandria

Known by locals and visitors for its vibrant art scene, Alexandria is home to some extraordinary art events and venues for everyone from film fanatics to craft lovers, music enthusiasts to theatre fans and everyone in between. With the fall festival season upon us, we’ve rounded up our top 10 can’t-miss fall art events throughout Alexandria. Looking for some creative inspiration, the perfect gift, a date idea or a good show? Check out our list for fun fall ideas.

1. King Street Art Festival

king-street-art-festival-creditImage Credit: Visit Alexandria

The King Street Art Festival was named one of America’s Best Small Art Festivals by Fodor’s Travel in 2016, happening September 17 & 18, 2016. Six blocks of King Street, from Washington Street all the way to the Potomac waterfront, are transformed into an outdoor gallery filled with art including paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics and more from over 250 artists from the U.S. and abroad. Up and down King Street during the 14th Annual festival, there will be live music and hands-on activities, including artists from the Torpedo Factory Art Center creating their artwork in Market Square on both days. Be sure to check out The Art League’s popular Ice Cream Bowl Fundraiser, featuring 1,400 handmade ceramic bowls and local artisanal ice cream, all for only $15 per bowl, and stop into the Torpedo Factory for even more art.

2. Live Music Week

Alexandria Live Music Week CREDIT Alexandria Live Music WeekImage Credit: Alexandria Live Music Week

This year, the 2nd Annual Alexandria Live Music Week is back with even more music, featuring over 50 participating venues and over 300 performances from September 30 to October 8, 2016 in addition to buskers, local shop promotions and more. Presented by Alexandria Live and On Tap Magazine, this city-wide event will include venues like The Birchmere: America’s Legendary Music Hall, The Light Horse, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, Bilbo Baggins, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Nick’s Night Club, Daniel O’Connell’s, MetroStage and many more. There will be a “This is Spinal Tap” movie viewing party at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub courtesy of the Alexandria Film Festival.

3. Art on the Avenue

Art_on_the_Avenue_2015_CREDIT_M_Enriquez_for_Visit_Alexandria_720x480_72_RGBImage Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Every year at the Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, over 50,000 visitors stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue between Bellefonte and Hume Avenues. At the 21st Annual Art on the Avenue on October 1, 2016, visitors will be greeted by over 300 artists including jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, unique painters, sculptors, fabric artists, musicians, and more. Food vendors will also be serving up hot dogs, BBQ, Indian, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, homemade cider donuts and more treats throughout the day. Kid-friendly activities include stuffing your own scarecrow, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design and weave screen art to name a few.

4. Art Safari

Torpedo_Factory_Exterior__CREDIT_K_Summerer_for_Visit_Alexandria_720x480_72_RGBImage Credit: K. Summerer for Visit Alexandria

Happening for the 21st year on October 8, 2016, Art Safari is a fun and free Alexandria family tradition. Resident and visiting artists lead young visitors in an afternoon full of hands-on creative activities such as papier-mâché, fiber, and printmaking. Enjoy the Alexandria Archaeology Museum’s special activities featuring their collection of 18th– and 19th-century pottery and china, as well as The Art League’s popular Gallery Scavenger Hunt. Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty. 

5. Art on Tap

art-on-tap-glassImage Credit: The Art League

The Art League’s 9th Annual Art on Tap event on November 4, 2016 is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to sample craft beers from local breweries that have been artfully paired with a work of art from an Art League instructor. Local restaurants choose a brew/artwork coupling to serve as their muse to create the perfect complementary appetizer. You can enjoy the creative combinations while drinking from a take-home Art on Tap beer tasting glass, and then vote for your favorite at the end of the event.

6. Alexandria Film Festival

Alexandria Film Festival CREDIT Alexandria Film FestivalImage Credit: Alexandria Film Festival Facebook Page

The 10th Annual Alexandria Film Festival is a must for filmmakers and film lovers, showcasing independent films from around the world with diverse and thought-provoking short and feature length-films and documentaries. The festival, happening from November 10-13, 2016, highlights the talents of local, national and international filmmakers and includes opportunities for audiences to ask questions and interact with filmmakers.

7. Steel Magnolias at The Little Theatre of Alexandria

Little Theatre of Alexandria Steel MagnoliasImage Credit: The Little Theatre of Alexandria

The Little Theatre of Alexandria is the oldest award-winning theater in the Washington metro area and one of the few community theaters in the country with its own building. This fall, The Little Theatre of Alexandria will play “Steel Magnolias” now through October 1, 2016. The performance follows Playwright Robert Harling’s story, popularized on Broadway and in the 1989 film, about “a group of Louisiana women as they bond and gossip at a local beauty shop while following the marriage and motherhood of one of the customer’s daughters.”

8. Blackberry Daze at MetroStage

Blackberry Daze Metro StageImage Credit: MetroStage Facebook Page

Located in a converted lumber warehouse, MetroStage is known for its intimate theatre environment, with seats on risers wrapping around a “thrust” stage keeping the audience in close proximity to the actors. Now through October 9, 2016, MetroStage is performing Blackberry Daze, a romantic mystery thriller that follows the story of a small Virginia town after World War II. USA Today calls the play “A powerful deeply moving story of triumph and tragedy, love and family…a journey straight into the center of the human heart.”

9. Alexandria Symphony Orchestra

Alexandria Symphony OrchestraImage Credit: Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Facebook Page

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra‘s 2016-2017 season kicks off on October 1, 2016 with Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 “Eroica” and continues with four more compelling masterworks throughout 2016 and 2017. Concerts are led by renowned guest conductors who have led ensembles worldwide including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra as well as performances at Carnegie Hall, Glimmerglass Festival and more. Before the season starts, the Alexandria Symphony Family Fall Festival at Fort Ward Park will feature food, live music, and activities for all ages as well as beer and wine. 

10. The Birchmere Celebrates 50 Years

Birchmere_1_CREDIT_R_Kennedy_for_ACVA_720x508_72_RGBImage Credit: R. Kennedy for Visit Alexandria

The Birchmere: America’s Legendary Music Hall is celebrating 50 years in 2016 with some legendary performances. The world-famous concert venue is known for its nightly lineup of classic and up-and-coming jazz, country, folk, bluegrass and R&B artists in an intimate setting, and has hosted acts like Johnny Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris and Ray Charles. If you’ve never been, celebrate their milestone and catch a show at the venue The Washington Post describes as “the best listening club in America.” Check out their calendar for artists and bands coming to Alexandria this fall, including El DeBarge on October 2 and 3, Lyle Lovett on October 4, Chick Corea on October 17, Leon Russell on October 10 and Suzanne Vega on November 1.


For more on things to do this fall, click here. For more on Alexandria’s arts scene, click here.


Header Image Credit: Visit Alexandria