Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms are expected to look their loveliest in early April, according to their stewards, the National Park Service. Here’s a guide to the blossoms and the festival celebrating them.
What: The National Cherry Blossom Festival, a chance to enjoy and celebrate the beauty of the cherry trees planted along Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin. The original trees were a gift of friendship from Japan to the United States in 1912.
Besides the opportunity to stroll among the blossoms, the festival offers paddle boat rides and ranger talks, as well as other events in the area, including a parade, a lantern lighting, a kite festival and a street festival.
When: This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival started last week and runs through April 14. The trees are expected to be at peak bloom beginning April 1*, according to the National Park Service. The park service says that peak bloom is “the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) blossoms are open.”
Where: Much of the activity is centered around the Tidal Basin Welcome Area, off Maine Avenue Southwest near 15th Street Southwest. Events and activities will be offered there on weekends during the festival, daily during the week of peak bloom.
Outside the welcome area, events include the Blossom Kite Festival (10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 30) on the Washington Monument grounds, near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest; the Official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony (April 7) at Independence Avenue and 17th Street Southwest; the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (10 a.m.-noon April 13) along Constitution Avenue, from Seventh to 17th streets Northwest; the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival (10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. April 13) along Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest between Third and Seventh streets Northwest; and the Anacostia River Festival (1 p.m.-5 p.m. April 14) in Anacostia Park, Anacostia Drive and Good Hope Road Southeast.
How much: Walks along the Tidal Basin are free, as are most of the events associated with the Cherry Blossom Festival. Tickets for the Japanese Street Festival are $10-$50, free for kids 12 and under.
*This story has been updated with a revised peak-bloom projection from the National Park Service.