The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington is almost here − and there are plenty of ways for travelers from all over to celebrate.
The festival runs from March 20 to April 14 with everything from a kite festival to a parade to fireworks and more. Beyond the festival, visitors can take in the cherry blossoms via river cruises, walking around the National Mall and otherwise exploring the city.
This year, peak bloom has been predicted for April 3 to 6, according to Jeffrey Reinbold, acting superintendent of the National Park Service – National Mall and Memorial Parks. The “live bloom update” feature on the festival’s website puts peak bloom a bit later than that initial prediction. Right now, the cherry blossoms are in bloom stage 2, meaning there are visible florets. Peak bloom is now expected after April 5, per the festival.
Here’s a look at seven events and experiences travelers should check out while they’re in town (the festival’s opening ceremony on March 23 is already sold out):
- Friday, March 22
- Time: 7 to 11 p.m.
- Where: Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
- Price: $225
Those looking for a swankier event (and for adults 21 and older) to appreciate the season can go to the Pink Tie Party, which includes an open bar, local restaurants’ food and cocktails plus music and dancing.
- Saturday, March 23
- Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
The festival is partnering with the Smithsonian American Art Museum to highlight Japanese culture. This event will feature Japanese music and dance performances, face painting and a scavenger hunt, among other activities.
- Saturday, March 30
- Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Where: Grounds of the Washington Monument
Ever wanted to see thousands of kites soar above the Washington Monument? Now’s your chance. Travelers also don’t need to worry about packing a kite to take part in the fun as the festival will be selling kites there.
- Friday, April 5
- Doors: 6 p.m., Show: 7:30 p.m.
- Where: The Anthem
- Price: $55 – $95
In its second year, the Blossom Bash concert will feature pop star Meghan Trainor. The concert will take place at The Anthem in the Southwest region of the city by The Wharf.
- Saturday, April 6
- Time: noon to 9:30 p.m. (fireworks at 8:30 p.m., pending weather)
- Where: The Wharf
The name speaks for itself, doesn’t it? To break it down: Visitors can spend an afternoon and whole night at The Wharf by checking out live music, a beer garden and even a fireworks show.
Travelers have the chance to gaze at the cherry blossoms while cruising on the Potomac River. Several companies offer tours. The landscape (and selfie) photo opportunities speak for themselves.
Walking (and stopping) around the National Mall
At the end of a museum-filled day in the District, nothing really beats gawking at the cherry blossoms for hours on end to recharge. Whether visitors take a break to sit down to do so or move from tree to tree, that’s their prerogative.
For more ways to celebrate the festival and to stay up to date on peak bloom predictions, visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s website.
Thousands of tourists are flocking to the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. to catch a glimpse of the cherry blossom trees in their full glory. (April 6)
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