The 19 best things to do around NoVA this November

From swaying with the music to shopping for holiday gifts, here’s how to fill your calendar this month.

Photo courtesy of the Center for the Arts at George Mason University

This post originally appeared in our November 2019 issue. Want more fun things to do? Subscribe to our newsletters.

1. Enjoy Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s iconic The Four Seasons composition performed by violin virtuoso Daniel Hope and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Fall in love with the classic all over again as the orchestra pairs the famous work with neo-classic composer Max Richter’s Recomposed, creating a new look at Vivaldi’s iconic work. Written specifically for Hope, Richter’s piece has been called “a beautiful recomposition with undulating string beds carrying Daniel Hope’s lyrical lone violin lines,” by The Independent. // Nov. 10; 2 p.m.; George Mason University’s Center for the Arts: 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax; $29-$48

Photo by Robert Merhaut

2. This month at Signature Theatre, Soul Divas, a cabaret dedicated to the legendary women of soul music, will be held over the course of five days, with a total of eight shows. Read our interview with one of the stars of the show, Kanysha Williams, here. // Nov. 19-24; times vary; Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; $38

3. Celebrate local, national and international independent filmmakers at the 13th annual Alexandria Film Festival. Come out and support its high-quality short- and feature-length films, including documentaries, animations and comedies. Stop by for panels and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers to get insight into their films and storytelling process. // Nov. 7-10; times vary; AMC Hoffman Center 22: 206 Swamp Fox Road, Alexandria; $12-$50

Photo courtesy of the Art League

4. Artists, breweries and restaurants all come together for a deliciously inspiring time at the annual Art on Tap in Alexandria. Local restaurants have selected a drink/artwork pairing and must create an appetizer that complements the duo and fits the theme. Vote for your favorite combinations to see which restaurant wins. // Nov. 1; 7-10 p.m.; The Art League: 105 N. Union St., Alexandria; $35-$45

Photo courtesy of The State Theatre

5. Grab your neon clothes, Doc Martens and fanny packs for a silly Saved by the ’90s party. Roll over to The State Theatre for a night of nostalgia as the Bayside Tigers perform your favorite ’90s hits, from The Beastie Boys to Britney Spears. // Nov. 16; 8 p.m.; The State Theatre: 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church; $17-$20

Photo by Kristen Lynne Photography

6. Did someone say shop ’til you drop? The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start grabbing gifts. We took it upon ourselves to find five locations perfect your perusing. Find them here. // Various locations

© Sebastian /

7. Marvel at Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations at the 28th Annual Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show. Spend the day watching demonstrations, digging up fossils and exploring the vendor booths to find your own gem to take home. // Nov. 23 & 24; times vary; George Mason University: 4400 University Drive, Fairfax; $3-$6 

Photo courtesy of The Birchmere

8. Contemporary jazz performer Chris Botti is one of the most successful trumpet players of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The Grammy winner has performed with some of pop music’s top artists, including Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga and Paul Simon. Don’t miss out on an incredible night of music as Botti makes his way to The Birchmere for a two-night performance. // Nov. 22 & 23; 7:30 p.m.; The Birchmere: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; $110

9. Enjoy a magical afternoon with the one and only Mario the Maker Magician. Unlike traditional magicians, the New York-based performer uses DIY robotic creations and handmade props to execute his tricks. Mario’s act has been featured on Sesame Street and Sprout, while the magician has also toured with David Blaine. // Nov. 2; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Alden Theatre: 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean; $10-$15

10. Celebrate the coming of fall 18th-century style at the Fall Harvest Ball. Enjoy music from the 1770s, English country dancing and seasonal desserts. Those not familiar with English country dancing can attend a dance class at the museum to practice their steps. // Nov. 9; 8-11 p.m.; Gadsby’s Tavern Museum: 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria; $45

Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

11. Whiskey fanatics should head over to Mount Vernon for the first-ever George Washington Whiskey Festival. Visitors will be able to sample the Founding Father’s rye whiskey and 12 other spirits while hearing stories from distillers and whiskey experts. Splurge on a VIP ticket for a tour of the Distillery and Gristmill before the main event. // Nov. 9; 6-9 p.m.; Mount Vernon Ford Orientation Center: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria; $85-$225

Photo courtesy GMU Center for the Arts

12. The cast of Taj Express is returning to Fairfax this month to perform their international hit musical. The story follows a young composer trying to make it big as he follows the footsteps of his idol, A.R. Rahman. Performers will dance to a variety of Indian music, including Indian pop hits from Oscar-winning composer Rahman and folk-music classics. // Nov. 9; 8 p.m.; George Mason University’s Center for the Arts: 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax; $29-$48; second performance at Hylton Performing Arts Center on Nov. 15 

Photo by Lock and Company

13. Roald Dahl’s beloved Matilda Wormwood is coming to the NextStop Theatre main stage in Matilda the Musical. Follow your favorite 6-year-old genius as she uses her telekinetic powers to battle her parents in order to go to school and fight villain Miss Trunchball on behalf of Miss Honey. // Nov. 14-Dec. 22; NextStop Theatre Company: 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon; $40

Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap

14. Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster is bringing her talents to Wolf Trap for a three-performance weekend. Her Broadway credits include Little Women, Young Frankenstein and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The Broadway veteran—and current star of TV show Younger—is a triple threat, mastering acting, dancing and singing throughout her career both in theater and television. // Nov. 23 & 24; times vary; The Barns: 1635 Trap Road, Vienna; $75-$85

15. Rhe’a Roland’s She Persisted solo exhibit looks at the experience of hitting rock bottom and having to build yourself back up. Inspired by resilience, this collection of art depicts the struggle of creating a life around sexism and racism while working to make oneself stronger. // through Nov. 10; Workhouse Arts Center: 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton; free

REUTERS / Brendan McDermid –

16. Max Weinberg is best known as the drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s primary backing band, E Street Band, and for his time as the bandleader on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. We spoke with him prior to his upcoming performance at The Barns at Wolf Trap. Read more here. // Nov. 8, 8 p.m.; The Barns at Wolf Trap: 1635 Trap Road, Vienna; tickets begin at $52

Photo by Elizabeth Fraser – Arlington National Cemetery

17. Honor the soldiers who are on active duty, the veterans who have served and those who have sacrificed their lives for freedom during the Veterans Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Witness the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, then make your way to the amphitheater for an observance program. // Nov. 11; 11 a.m.; Arlington National Cemetery: 1 Memorial Ave., Arlington; free

Photo courtesy of Killer Deluxe

18. Virginia-based rock duo Killer Deluxe is making its way back to Jammin Java for another exciting performance. Come out to see the local band perform its self-titled album, including hit song “Tomorrow is Yesterday.” // Nov. 30, 8 p.m.; Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; $15-$25

Photo courtesy Sur la Table

19. Get ready for the big day with these five cooking classes that will help you ace your Thanksgiving dinner prep. // Various locations

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