Washington DC Cherry Blossoms Guide for Families
Washington, D.C. residents start to get an itch around mid-February. We know spring is on the way. We start stalking our gardens and watching for tulip bulbs to peek out of the layers of fall mulch that kept them warm all winter long. Most important of all, we go on watch for the DC cherry blossoms.
DC Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin
Everyone knows about the DC Tidal Basin. The Japanese cherry blossom trees are famous and plenty of domestic and international visitors show up each year to look at, climb (even though it’s forbidden) and photograph the spectacular cherry blooms. There is no “best time” to see the cherry blossoms unless you want to get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise. This is when the pros go out to photograph without the crowds. Normal humans don’t like to do that though. I suggest you head out before sunset and start walking. Many people stay close to the Jefferson Memorial to watch the sunset. You should keep walking around the basin to get the 360 views this walk provides.
Washington Monument Cherry Blossoms
Just a short walk from the Tidal Basin you will find the Washington Monument. Not many visitors know that there are cherry blossom trees here. The Monument can be a great place for families to hang out, especially if they don’t want to deal with the crowds. Mom and dad can snap their photos before letting the kids fly a kite on the National Mall.
National Arboretum Japanese Cherry Trees
The National Arboretum, on the east side of the city, is better known for its azaleas, but there is a beautiful cherry blossom walk or bike ride you can take throughout the park. This is one of the best spots to see cherry blossom trees if you don’t want to deal with the crowds. Even during peek blooms (70% of the blooms are open on a tree), you can wander in on a weekday and only have a handful of people around you. To really get away from everyone, pop up to the Asian Gardens Collection. This is not the most well known cherry blossom spot in the Arboretum, but may be the most beautiful.
The Arboretum provides a printed cherry blossom guide to take you through acres of fields and woodlands. The guide is also handy as a makeshift scavenger hunt for energetic kids. Make sure you pack a few snacks or even a picnic lunch to make the most of your trip.
What to do if it rains in DC
Chances are it WILL rain at some point during the DC cherry blossom festival. It’s springtime. It happens. Although most people will stay indoors and avoid the Tidal Basin, this is actually the best time to go during the day if you want the place virtually to yourself. Throw on your rain boots, rain coats and grab an umbrella and start exploring.
National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC
Washington DC cherry blossoms are so beloved that we had to create a month long festival just to celebrate the blooms. Events include the Blossom Kite Festival, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, Southwest Waterfront Fireworks and art exhibits throughout the city. While almost all of the events are kid-friendly, do be mindful of the crowds.
Cherry blossom season is big in DC. If your child gets nervous when surrounded by thousands of people, you may want to find alternative ways to celebrate the spring blooms. There are several hotels, spas and restaurants that offer cherry blossom specials, including afternoon teas, massages and scrubs, and tasting menus. When the crowds keep you away, there is always an alternate to celebrate the DC cherry blossoms in the spring.
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