With the kids back at school and the tourists back at home, fall is a great time to explore all that D.C. has to offer. Whether you’re a lover of food, arts and crafts, 16th century England or books, check out these best fall festivals to attend near D.C. and expand your entertainment options.

Taste of DC
Pennsylvania Ave. and 9th through 14th Sts. N.W.
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 618-3663

Date: Oct. 11-12, 2014

Give your taste buds something to shout about. The Taste of D.C. is a two-day festival that features more than 70 of the best D.C.-area restaurants over the span of five city blocks. Sample delicious menu items, savor a glass of wine or catch a live demonstration from a DC chef. The event also features a beer garden and music stage, family-friendly programs and the 4th annual Ben’s Chili Bowl’s World Chili Eating Championship. Admission tickets are available to purchase online. Entrance to the festival is located on 11th and E and 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue.

SW Artsfest
400 M St. S.W.
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 554-8282

Date: Oct. 3-5, 2014

Come see the handiwork of local and national artists at this interactive and mostly free festival. The SW Artsfest features a variety of events including a flea market, film festival, concerts, performing art productions and delicious food. This neighborhood arts festival takes place at the Southwest Waterfront, DC’s newest urban oasis. Take a walking tour of this bustling new neighborhood or listen to a panel discussion about music and art history. The event also features an end-of-summer fair with kid-friendly activities and raffle prizes. The SW Artsfest is conveniently located within steps of the Waterfront Metro stop.

Related: Best Places For Handmade Accessories In Washington DC

Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair
Union Market
1309 5th St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002

Date: Sept. 27-28, 2014

For a festival that’s a bit out of the ordinary, check out the Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair. Presented by the Washington City Paper, this event features the alternative artwork of more than 140 indie vendors. Check out handcrafted jewelry, punk rock baby clothes or avant-garde art. The event also features hands-on craft projects and activities and a special kids area. Take a break from the festivities and enjoy a meal at one of a variety of local restaurants like DC Empanadas or Soup Up. All products featured at the festival are guaranteed to be original and designed by each individual artist. Tickets are available to purchase online.

Maryland Renaissance Festival
1821 Crownsville Road
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 266-7304

Date: Aug. 23-24, 30-31; Sept. 1, 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28; Oct. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 2014

Relive the days when travel occurred by horse and men and women wore stately garb at the 37th annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. Spread over 27 acres, the festival features a variety of special events including a jousting competition, archery demonstration and musical and dance performances, plus arts and crafts vendors, delicious food and drinks and kid-friendly interactive activities. This year’s story line takes place in Revel Grove in Oxfordshire England and features King Henry VIII, his queen Katharine of Aragon and their royal court. Tickets are available to purchase online. Multiple-day passes are also available to purchase.

Related: Best Free Tours In Washington DC 

Fall for the Book
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-3986

Date: Sept. 11-18, 2014

Book lovers unite. This year’s Fall for the Book festival features the chance to mix and mingle with nearly 150 local and national writers, including Jodi Picoult, Richard Russo and Washington Post writer Dave Finkel as well as a variety of events including readings, panel discussions and interactive activities throughout various locations around the DC area. This free event also features VIP receptions which offer the chance to meet your favorite author, enjoy tasty hors d’oeuvres and listen to festival headliners at the Mason Inn and Conference Center. Book prizes will also be presented to a variety of authors. Festival participants hail from a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction, cooking/food, history and biography and politics/current affairs.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.