The cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. are the main attraction in Spring, offering a robust sea of pretty pink petals throughout our nation’s capital. Their beauty will make even the biggest workaholic stop to admire the blooms. If marveling at the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. tops your bucket list, our experts have put together an easy guide for you to catch the best views.
When will the cherry blossoms bloom?
Before you book your plane ticket, there are ways to predict the peak of the cherry blossom blooming period. The blooming period is a relatively brief window where the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. transition from buds to breathtaking flowers, and back to leaves. Typically, the blooming period lasts two weeks, occurring during the last week of March to the first week of April. The precise date depends heavily on the weather in the weeks and months leading up to it. Yes, the warmer February may have an effect on when the blossoms make an appearance. Warmer winters and early springs trigger an early bloom, where blistery winters tend to delay it. Luckily, the experts are on it! The National Park Service has announced their peak bloom prediction to be between March 17-20. Although, Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang has predicted March 23-27. A more accurate timeframe will be announced up to 10 days before the estimated blooming period. So, if you’re traveling to see the blossoms, keep an eye out!
What is the best location to see the cherry blossoms?
Once you’ve booked your flight and packed your bags for your flower filled getaway, it’s time to figure out where to see the cherry blossoms in all their glory. The most popular place to see the cherry blossom trees is at the Tidal Basin. You’ll certainly find an endless supply of petals for the ultimate photo opt. They can also be seen along the shoreline of East Potomac park, extending all the way to Hains Point. Cherry blossom trees are scattered throughout D.C. They can be found along the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and around the Washington Monument. When these trees are in full bloom they will be hard to miss, no matter your location.
What does “peak bloom” mean?
When researching for your trip, you might hear the term “peak bloom” getting tossed around. Peak bloom is essentially a specific day where 70 percent of the Yoshino Cherry Blossoms are fully open. The day the cherry blossoms reach peak bloom, however, is not the only day you can see them in all their glory. You will be able to marvel at the beautiful spectacle for at least a few days before the peak bloom and at least a couple days after. Peak bloom generally occurs around the middle of the blooming period but the weather during the months leading up to it also affect it. If visiting the blossoms during peak bloom is a must on your trip, pay close attention to the blooming period predictions and plan accordingly!
What is the best way to see the blossoms?
Visiting a new city is overwhelming enough, let alone hunting down the best location to see the cherry blossom trees. Luckily, you can leave the hunting to the experts! Throughout the blooming season, National Park Service Rangers conduct walking tours scheduled throughout the day for the entirety of the bloom period. The best part is that they’re completely free! These walks allow you to take in the blossoms’ beauty without embarking on a scavenger hunt to find them. You will find rangers around the Martin Luther King Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and in the Maine Avenue parking lot during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
What is the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
If you’re planning a trip around seeing the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., the Chloe Johnston experts highly recommend the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This annual festival celebrates springtime, the gift of the cherry blossom trees, and the friendship between the United States and Japan. At this festival, you can expect daily events featuring diverse programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture. Among the events and activities are a parade, fireworks, performances, and breathtaking exhibits. All of these are even themed around the cherry blossoms. Another reason this festival should top your “to do” list is it’s primarily free and open to the public. The 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 20 through April 14, with the parade being on the last day.
What are the best restaurants in DC?
A short walk will bring you to the L’Enfant Plaza where delicious cuisine is around every corner. If you’re looking to be wined and dined, or maybe you just want to take a load off, then Muze at the Mandarin Oriental is the restaurant for you. Muze is an East meets West themed restaurant that offers all-day menus and plenty of options for kids. If you want a true Washington D.C. experience, then take a stroll around the L’Enfant Plaza Metro. You’ll surely find food trucks lined up as far as the eye can see. You’ll also have an eclectic mix of cuisine at your disposal, ranging from tacos and kabobs to traditional American burgers. For the cherry blossom connoisseur on the go, check out Potbelly Sandwich Shop where you can pick up a toasted sandwich any time of the day. No matter your taste palette, D.C. offers a broad range of restaurants that will be sure to satisfy even the biggest foodie. Not to mention, with the pink sea of cherry blossoms in every direction, you’ll have dinner with a view no matter where you decide to chow down.
Best hotels in D.C. area?
If you want to wake up every morning with the aroma of cherry blossoms in the air, you’re going to need to know the right places to stay. There are a variety of hotels within a short walking distance of the cherry blossoms. However, they are most likely going to have high rates for the weeks of the bloom. If convenience is your top priority, we recommend staying at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Foggy Bottom, W Hotel, or Willard Intercontinental Hotel. The State Plaza Hotel and JW Marriot Hotel are also a short distance past that, if you don’t mind walking. For travelers on a tighter budget, we suggest utilizing the Metro system to avoid high rates and parking fees. The Metro opens up the possibilities of staying in Maryland and Virginia. From here, you’ll find just a short commute to the Tidal Basin. Whether you have time or money on your mind, the options are endless to make your stay in D.C. unforgettable.
What is the best way to get around Washington D.C.?
The National Cherry Blossom Festival attracts one million people annually. That means you’ll be up against one million commuters trying to catch their best glimpse of the pink petals. Getting around the city during the bloom weeks can be a bit challenging, especially on the weekends. However, there are several ways to spend less time commuting and more time enjoying the festivities. Parking will be limited near the festival. Many roads are blocked off, and not to mention, traffic is sure to put a damper on your itinerary. The best way to maneuver your way to the Tidal Basin is by public transportation.
Public Transportation and other means:
It’s time to live like a local and use the Metro to explore even more than the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. Your best bet is taking the Metro to the Smithsonian Station and then taking a stroll to the festival. For those traveling to D.C., you may advance purchase your Metro fare to skip the station lines. If you’re not a public transportation connoisseur, prepare yourself for long lines, especially during the duration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. If the Metro isn’t your thing, try jumping on the D.C. Circulator Bus that will pick you up every ten minutes from Union Station. Because of the low cost of only $1 per person, prepare yourself to squeeze and stand during the bloom weeks. If personal space is a priority, opt for a taxi or Uber to drive you to the festival’s entrance. You’ll have leg room to spare. However, what you gain in convenience you may lose in dollars because the rates for taxis typically increase during the festival week. Perhaps the best way to get around D.C. without losing sight of the cherry blossoms is by bicycle. On weekends, free bike valet service is available at the Jefferson Memorial parking lot for the outdoor enthusiast on a budget. After all, what better way to marvel at the cherry blossoms than by riding alongside them in the springtime?
What is the National Cherry Blossom parade?
What better way to end your stay than marching 10 blocks alongside the National Cherry Blossom Parade? The springtime parade down Constitution Avenue marks the end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival and they sure know how to go out with a bang. Elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, celebrity entertainers, and eclectic performers file down the street in a theatrical celebration only found in the nation’s capital. In the 2018 parade, celebrity performers will include Arrested Development, Ty Herndon, Well-Strung, Billy Gilman, and XPOGO. It is scheduled for the last day of the festival which is currently marked as April 14th, depending on weather conditions closer to the occasion.The parade will be sure to top your itinerary and end your trip on a high note.
How can you avoid crowds during the cherry blossom season?
With the National Cherry Blossom Festival being one of the most heavily attended annual events in Washington D.C., it can be easy to get swept away in the crowds. Standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers could take away from the serene display of cherry blossoms. However, you can still find some much needed space. Visit the Tidal Basin in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the majority of the crowds. Most travelers coming to Washington D.C. for the event will visit on the weekends. Therefore, try booking your trip during the weekdays if possible. You never know, playing hooky from work might just save your precious sanity. If you’re planning on visiting any attractions that require tickets, book them in advance! This will allow you to bypass the lines and breeze through your itinerary at your own pace. Lastly, try to pick locations with less number of trees and inevitably there will be less crowds. After all, this event only happens once a year, right?