National Cherry Blossom Festival: Top Five Experiences

Get insider tips for Washington, DC's most anticipated annual event, when 3,000 cherry trees bloom to life.

Cherry Blossoms, Washington DC, DC, festival, tidal basin, Jefferson Memorial, National Cherry Blossom Festival, USA
The Tidal Basin is a popular spot for viewing the cherry blossoms.
Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
Rent a paddleboat to view the cherry blossoms from the water.
Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC
Cherry Blossoms near the Washington Monument in DC
The Washington Monument
Couple enjoying cherry blossoms in Washington, DC
Enjoy a romantic stroll during peak bloom.
Kites flying at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC
Blossom Kite Festival
Cherry Blossoms, Washington DC, DC, festival, tidal basin, Jefferson Memorial, National Cherry Blossom Festival, USA
Cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, Washington, DC
Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossoms near the Washington Monument in DC
Couple enjoying cherry blossoms in Washington, DC
Kites flying at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC

Back in 1912, the mayor of Tokyo gave the city of Washington, DC 3,000 cherry trees to honour the friendship between the United States and Japan.

Today, the pink-and-white blooms are one of the area’s most beloved sights. And the National Cherry Blossom Festival is the region’s most popular event, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each spring. Here are some of the most fun and photo-worthy festival experiences:

Admiring the Cherry Blossoms

See the famous flowering trees with a stroll along Independence Avenue, along the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial, or take a free tour with a guide who will recount the history of how the trees came to Washington, DC. To enjoy the view from the water, rent paddleboats at the Tidal Basin. There are also Potomac River cruises that offer stunning views of the monuments and cherry trees.

Enjoying the Cultural Events

Take your pick from hundreds of international cultural performances. Highlights include a star-studded show of music and dance at the Opening Ceremony, daily performances of theatre, dance and martial arts at the Sylvan Stage on the Mall, and the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival. This popular festival-within-a-festival, the largest Japanese cultural festival in the United States, features food, music, martial arts demonstrations and more.

Sampling the Cuisine

Throughout the festival, visitors will be able to feast on foods that celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Restaurants serve creative cherry-infused cocktails, appetisers and main courses, and they decorate plates and glasses with blossoms. Multi-course menus inspired by the festival pay tribute to America’s friendship with Japan.

Seeing Kids’ Imaginations Soar

From a photo safari to special museum exhibits, the National Cherry Blossom Festival features activities for kids of all ages. One of the most popular events for children is the Blossom Kite Festival. The Blossom Kite Festival, which takes place 30 March, showcases creative kite makers and hosts competitions where fliers show off their sky-high tricks.

Watching Romance Bloom

Spring is clearly in the air during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but so is love. There are a variety of ways to enjoy the blooms together. By day, picnic under the trees with a special cherry-inspired basket from a local restaurant. By night, watch fireworks illuminate the sky during Petalpalooza, a festival featuring live music, games, fireworks, free product giveaways and more in DC's newest waterfront neighbourhood, The Wharf. 

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