The art displayed in D.C.’s many famous museums barely scratches the surface of what’s offered in the city. The District’s arts culture is often best experienced in a park or on the street. Whether you’re looking for a new piece to accent your dining room, something fabulous to wear or just a fun afternoon strolling around looking at art, D.C.’s best art fairs are showcases of the city’s vibrant arts scene. — Amy Gardner McNeal
The Smithsonian National Craft Show
401 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
For 23 years, the Smithsonian National Craft show has presented the finest in juried arts and crafts to the nation’s capital. Showcasing artists from around the country, this yearly event features more than 30 exhibitors of high-end art, including ceramics, jewelry and wood craft. The carefully chosen selections are presented by award-winning artists. All proceeds benefit Smithsonian grant programs. Tickets are required. Metro accessible.
Alexandria Festival of the Arts
Alexandria, VA 22314
The Alexandria Festival of the Arts is a street-fair-style art festival held annually in Old Town. This award-winning event attracts artists from around the country. The eclectic selection boasts something for every budget and style. Events also include artist demonstrations, food and live music. Stretching through more than six blocks of Alexandria’s historic shopping district, this fall festival is one of D.C.’s best art fairs and promises a great afternoon in one of the area’s most beautiful settings. The event is free. Metro accessible.
Bethesda Row Arts Festival
7200 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20852
(301) 637- 5715
Located in the heart of the arts and entertainment district in Bethesda, this sprawling art festival features works from more than 180 local and national artists. Works in oil, watercolor, photography and sculpture are on display, in a huge variety of styles. Wearable art like textiles and jewelry are also featured. The yearly art auction held at the Bethesda Row Arts Festival benefits children’s programs at the National Institute of Health. Children’s events and live music are also a part of this family-friendly festival. Enjoy some great food and fun for an afternoon while exploring downtown Bethesda. The event is free. Metro accessible.