Photo Courtesy National Cherry Blossom Festival
The days are staying lighter longer, the birds are chirping, the weather is warming up – all the signs that spring is here! And one of the best ways to celebrate the season is with a visit to Washington, D.C. to see the cherry blossoms.
Every year the pink blossoms take over D.C., blanketing the capital in pretty petals. The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 – April 13, with lots of events throughout the weeks. Of course, the flowers are the star of the show, and this year peak bloom is predicted to begin in mid-March. You can check the bloom watch for updates, but the blossoms are also beautiful even after peak bloom when they eventually turn white and fall to the ground like snow.
You’ll find the cherry blossoms in three locations – in the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park, and on the grounds around the Washington Monument. The National Park Service has created self-guided trail guides so you can explore the cherry blossoms along with many other D.C. attractions.
Beyond the blossoms, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the many events that take place during the festival. The cherry trees were originally a gift from Japan to the United States, so many of the events celebrate Japanese arts and culture as a way to commemorate the act of generosity.
On March 23, the festival will officially kick off with the Opening Ceremony, a night of performances by world-renowned performers, including special selections from the Japanese musical “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” The Super Live, which will make its debut in North America at the Opening Ceremony.
The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade takes place on April 13. Running for 10 blocks along Constitution Avenue, the parade includes giant balloons, impressive floats, marching bands, celebrity entertainers, and more. On the same day, the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival features cultural groups, performances, arts vendors and food booths in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. And at night on April 14, Cherry Blast highlights Japanese anime, cosplay, gaming, fashion and food, then culminates in a Japanese-inspired dance party.
How to get to the Cherry Blossom Festival: Take an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C. from New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and anywhere in the Northeast Corridor – and you can also connect on Amtrak from across the country. Booking a bus ticket to Washington, D.C. is also a great travel option from just about anywhere.
Once you’re in Washington, D.C., you have lots of options to get around. The Metro subway stops close to the cherry blossoms at the Smithsonian Station, as well as L’Enfant Plaza Station (which is slightly farther away, but less crowded). If you like to bike, Capital Bikeshare has hundreds of stations throughout the D.C. metro area where you can rent a bike, ride it to the cherry blossoms, and drop it off at a nearby station.
But the most fun way to get around between the blossoms is probably on the Blossom Bus. For the first time, the DC Circulator has a route that will drop you off right at the Tidal Basin – and each ride is only $1! (Plus, if you spot the giant pink bus and share a picture on social media, you can win prizes.)
What could be a better way to celebrate the start of spring than a trip to the National Cherry Blossom Festival? So book a ticket to Washington, D.C. on Wanderu.com or by downloading the Wanderu app and go bask in the blossoms!