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5 Things You Need to Know About the National Cherry Blossom Festival

National Cherry Blossom Festival - National Mall - Washington, DC

If there’s anything you need to know about the National Cherry Blossom Festival and DC's famous cherry blossom trees, it’s all right here.

The cherry blossom trees are without a doubt the stars of springtime in Washington, DC. Visit the District during this time and you’ll find the nation’s capital is accented in pink for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place from March 18 - April 16, 2017. Here are five things you need to know before planning your trip to see the cherry blossoms.

1 When do the cherry blossoms bloom?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms - Free things to do in Washington, DC

This popular question has a different answer year-to-year. The average peak bloom date, which is when 70% of the flowers of the cherry blossom trees are open, is April 4. In the past, peak bloom has occurred as early as March 15 and as late as April 18, according to the National Park Service (NPS). The entire blooming period can last up to 14 days, which includes the days leading up to peak bloom. NPS offers the official peak bloom prediction on its website, which indicates that “it is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before the peak bloom.”

2 Where can you see the cherry blossoms?
Where can you see the cherry blossoms?

During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the most popular place to visit the cherry blossom trees is at the Tidal Basin, which provides great photo ops near the Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

The majority of blossoms are located near the Tidal Basin and along the shoreline of East Potomac Park, extending all the way to Hains Point. Meanwhile, small clusters of trees can be found along the National Mall, just northwest of the Lincoln Memorial and around the Washington Monument. Off-the-radar cherry blossom trees can be found at the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park.

Last but not least, do your part in helping to protect the National Mall and the cherry blossoms. We kindly remind you to look at the blossoms, but never pick them (it’s against the law).

3 What time of day should you visit?

@markeisenhower - Paddleboats by Jefferson Memorial cherry blossoms - Washington, DC

First off, there is no bad time to visit the cherry blossoms. Any time you get to see them is time well spent. During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the least busy time to visit the cherry blossoms is in the early morning or early evening. You can expect more people on weekends and when the blooms are peaking.


Want more reasons to visit Washington, DC this spring? Discover your ultimate guide to springtime in the District.


4 What National Cherry Blossom Festival events are going on?

@alinarose - National Cherry Blossom Festival Kite Festival - Spring in Washington, DC

Family-friendly activities, exciting events and fundraisers occur throughout the festival. The major events include:

And be sure to check out our guide to even more events during the festival.

5 How else can I experience the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC?

@brittmichele15 - Springtime at CityCenterDC - Where to Shop in Washington, DC

The National Cherry Blossom Festival sweeps the entire city. Many area hotels offer special cherry blossom-themed packages, which, in addition to discounts, may include a free bloom-inspired cocktail, chocolates, meals or more. Select restaurants also get in the celebratory spirit and participate in the Cherry Picks program, which brings a cherry blossom- and spring-inspired themed food and beverages.

So, now that you have the basics down, you’re ready to go. Enjoy this year’s festival! And be sure to check out our guide to spring before you visit the nation's capital!