CitySights DC

Visiting Washington, DC, During the National Cherry Blossom Festival

If you are trying to decide when to plan a visit to the nation’s capital, aim for the beginning of spring. The National Cherry Blossom Festival 2016 in Washington, DC, is so popular with tourists that it has become one of the busiest times of year, but it is well worth the crowds. The annual festival, which is scheduled this year March 20-April 17, has almost 300 events, which means there is even more to do and see than the usual amazing attractions. The best part is that many of these events are free to the public, making a spring trip to the Capital a budget-friendly vacation.

What is Special about Cherry Blossoms?

Back in 1912, our country received Yoshino cherry blossom trees as a gift from Japan as a sign of amity, and since that time, they have become a national treasure. For three weeks every spring, the DC area celebrates these cheerful blossoms for their beauty as well as their history. Tourists flock to the city to enjoy the natural marvel in addition to the many wonderful cultural and historical attractions that Washington has to offer.

Where Can You See Them?

The trees are located in three main areas of the city and are maintained by the National Park Service. These include the Tidal Basin area, Hains Point, and on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Guided walking, driving, and double decker bus tours are available to help you enjoy the best opportunity to see them all. Combined with stops at the Jefferson, FDR, and the Martin Luther King, Jr, and other memorials, you can visit popular attractions at the same time you enjoy the splendor of the blooms. Other fun ways to take in the cherry blossoms include paddle boat rides on the Tidal Basin or bike rentals along the Mall.

What Else Can You Do?

The annual festival jumpstarts with an Opening Ceremony, featuring live music performed by American and Japanese talent at the historic Warner Theatre. Other highlighted events include a fundraising gala, the Pink Tie Party, which benefits the Festival’s non-profit organization, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®, popular as a spectacle for its floats, balloons, and marching bands. Other must-see happenings during the three-week festival are the Blossom Kite Festival on the National Mall and the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. No matter what time of day, you can find cherry blossom-themed fun during your visit.

DC area restaurants, bars, galleries, and shopping venues get in on the cherry blossom action as well. Expect to find special menus incorporating fresh, local ingredients, cherry-infused drinks, art exhibits, and souvenirs to enjoy long after your trip.

With so many options, you might not know how to fit in everything you want to experience. Washington, DC, is beautiful under the springtime bloom, and everyone will find something they want to visit while in town. Luckily, the National Cherry Blossom Festival happens every spring, so plan to come back year after year to enjoy the fresh line-up of events while you savor the majesty of our nation’s beloved cherry trees.

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