How to Fully Experience the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Seeing the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom makes the experience of being in Washington a new experience even for those who have visited multiple times before. There is a beauty added to the surrounding area with the Cherry Blossoms blooming and petals slowly fluttering to the ground almost like a light snowfall.

This year the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held from March 20th through April 13th. There will be various events throughout the festival and everything you need to know for your exploration is right here. One thing to note is that the Cherry Blossoms are subject to nature and bloom based on the weather so it is a bit of luck and the dates can change if the blooms happen earlier than expected.

Each year during the festival the Tidal Basin’s main parking lot on Maine Ave SW (next to the paddle boats), is closed off to parking and converted into the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. There you will find information and activity tents, a performance stage and food tents. The festival is open from 10 am to 6 pm. Most of the performances and activities are scheduled in the afternoon and entry is free.

Within the festival, there are days set aside to celebrate special events. The Blossom Kite Festival is Saturday, March 30th. It is free and held at the base of the Washington Monument. While the festival includes competitive battles and trick competitions, it is also a place for you to fly your own kite. Kids also have the opportunity to make their own kite on site. If you want more information check it out here.

On April 6th you can join in on PetalPalooza at the newly constructed Wharf area. This is an afternoon and evening event includes a range of entertainment and multiple eating options. The event is capped off with evening fireworks over the water. You can learn more about PetalPalooza here.

On the final day of the festival, April 13th is the National Cherry Blossom Parade. The parade is free, but there is also stadium seating available that requires a ticket. The parade runs along Constitution Avenue between the National Archives building and the Washington Monument. It includes performers, marching bands, giant balloons, and floats. You can learn more about the parade here.

There is also a Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5k Run-Walk. To register you first must enter the lottery and be selected to participate. If you are a local and want a guaranteed spot for next years Cherry Blossom Race you can volunteer at this year’s event and get a guaranteed spot for the following year. The race is being held on the April 7th and there is also a kid’s race on April 6th. If you want more information about the event you can check it out here.

Even if you can’t attend the extra events and even if you don’t plan your trip to see the Cherry Blossoms a trip to Washington DC in the Spring is a great time to visit. The festival events happen even after or before the blossoms arrive and the beautiful weather and multiple free things to do in the DC area won’t leave you disappointed you came to visit.

And one last tip. Spring in DC is a very popular time so expect large crowds and reserve your hotel in advance.

What is your favorite thing to do at the Cherry Blossom Festival?

Written by: Amanda Huffman

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