DC will come alive as the National Cherry Blossom Festival gets underway and welcomes spring to the District. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week extravaganza that honors the city’s most celebrated celebrities as they make their début around the Tidal Basin: the 3,000 cherry trees gifted to Washington, DC by the city of Tokyo. The delicate and beautiful flowers also signify the beginning of DC’s busiest tourist season.
Planning Tips for Viewing the Famed Cherry Blossoms
- Plan on going early in the morning to beat the crowds. It is estimated that over 500,000 people will make the trek to view the lovely pink and white petals.
- There is limited parking around the tidal basin. Take the metro if possible or consider seeing the blossoms by bike. If you take the metro you will want to get off at the Smithsonian Station on the Blue or Orange lines. For directions once you arrive, check-out themap of the Tidal Basin.
- Bring a breakfast picnic and enjoy your coffee and bagel with a sunrise viewing of the blossoms.
Fun for the Family
There are so many events throughout the city celebrating these flowers that there is definitely something to please everyone. To follow are some of the most popular Cherry Blossom events and activities:
- Paddle Boats. Tidal Basin Paddle Boat House, 1501 Maine Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. I love the paddle boats. Whether you want to enjoy a little romance with a boat for two or if you want to bring the kids, the paddle boats can provide you with a special and fun cherry blossoms viewing experience. Paddlers can leisurely enjoy the trees around the Jefferson memorial by renting a paddle boat for $8.00 per hour for a two passenger boat and $16.00 per hour for a four-passenger boat.
- If you’ve every wondered why the Cherry Blossom trees are planted around the tidal Basin and who came up with idea to do so, then you will want to take the Blossoms Secrets Stroll walking tour. Tours are two hours in length and are given Mondays & Fridays at 10:00 am; Saturdays & Sundays at 2:00 pm. The cost is $10 per person; kids three and under are free. No reservations are required. The group meets at the Smithsonian Metro Station, 1200 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., 202-484-1565. To purchase tickets online, click here.
- Soccer fans will delight at the Cherry Blossom Soccer Tournament. This event will feature 32 adult co-recreational soccer teams who will be competing for the Cherry Blossom Cup on the National Mall, Washington, D.C. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, March 29, 2008 and Sunday, March 30, 2008, with the Kickoff Party scheduled for Thursday, March 27, 2008.
- There will be great fun for the whole family at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day at the National Building Museum (401 F St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 202-547-1500) that takes place on March 29, 2008. Visitors can watch the Shizumi Kdomo Dance Troupe perform traditional Japanese children's dances; listen to Japanese folk music performed on the koto; see a larger than life origami sculpture and create your own origami figures to take home; dress up in traditional Japanese clothing and so much more.
- Additionally, visitors won’t want to miss the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show on April 05, 2008 at 8:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Southwest Waterfront - 7th Street & Maine Ave., SW or the Lantern Lighting Ceremony on April 6, 2008 from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Tidal Basin, Independence Ave. and 15th St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 202-547-1500.
For a complete list of Cherry Blossom events, click here.