Cherry blossoms up close with the Jefferson Memorial during the National Cherry Blossom Festival this spring in Washington, DC
The cherry blossom trees are the stars of springtime in Washington, DC. From peak bloom to where to find them, here’s what you need to know before planning your trip to see the blossoms.
The cherry blossom trees are without a doubt the stars of springtime in Washington, DC. Visit the District during this time and you’ll find the nation’s capital is accented in pink for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place which virtual and in-person events from March 20 – April 11, 2021. Here are some must-knows as you plan to celebrate the blossoms at home or during a safe, in-person visit to DC.
The National Park Service announced that peak bloom for the cherry blossoms in DC began March 28. According to NPS, four to seven days after peak bloom are the best times to view the blossoms, and they can last up to two weeks, depending on the weather. Also, in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and DC Health and in consultation with the National Park Service Office of Public Health, the National Park Service will limit all vehicular and pedestrian access to the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and West Potomac Park during the peak bloom period of the cherry blossoms as a public health precaution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The start and end dates of any restrictions are dependent on the bloom cycle of the trees, but are currently projected to fall between approximately March 26 and April 12. Updates will be posted the National Park Service's website and on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts dedicated to the National Mall.
To ensure the health/safety of our communities, it is recommended for all to enjoy the festival virtually this year and see the cherry blossoms via the live BloomCam. If you find yourself in DC, please observe all health/safety protocols and travel guidelines. Visit nps.gov/nationalmall for the latest safety information about seeing the blossoms.
Note that the National Park Service requires masks be worn when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Visit the Service's website for more information. You can also see what's open in DC and peruse the latest travel status updates.
When do the cherry blossoms bloom?
This popular question has a different answer year-to-year. The average peak bloom date, which is when 70% of the flowers of the cherry blossom trees are open, is around April 4. In the past, peak bloom has occurred as early as March 15 and as late as April 18. The entire blooming period can last up to 14 days, which includes the days leading up to peak bloom. The National Park Service (NPS) annually predicts the official peak bloom and shares details on its website, which also indicates that “it is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before the peak bloom.” The best viewing of the cherry blossom trees typically lasts four to seven days after peak bloom begins, but the blossoms can last for up to two weeks under ideal conditions.
Where can you see the cherry blossom trees?
The most popular place to visit the cherry blossom trees is at the Tidal Basin, which provides great photo ops near the Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The majority of blossoms are located in this area and along the shoreline of East Potomac Park, which extends all the way to Hains Point.
Meanwhile, small clusters of trees can be found along the National Mall, just northwest of the Lincoln Memorial and around the Washington Monument. Off-the-radar cherry blossom trees can be found at the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park. Here's how to get to the cherry blossoms by bike, Metro or walking at all of DC's cherry blossom spots. Be sure to read DC's latest travel status updates as well.
What time of day should you visit the cherry blossoms?
First off, there is no bad time to visit the cherry blossoms. Any time you get to see them is time well spent. During the spring season, the least busy time to visit the cherry blossoms is in the early morning or evening. You can expect more people on weekends and when the blooms are peaking.
Last but not least, do your part in helping to protect the National Mall and the cherry blossoms. We kindly remind you to look at the blossoms, but never pick them (it’s against the law).
What events are happening to celebrate the season?
The National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20 – April 11) is a citywide event that celebrates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, DC by the mayor of Tokyo. This year's festival features a range of spectacular virtual and in-person celebrations, from porch decorations across the city to an art scavenger hunt to virtual editions of the Opening Ceremony and Pink Tie Party . Local restaurants even get into the spirit with the Cherry Picks program, while DC-area hotels offer blossom-themed packages, deals and discounts. Check out the upcoming National Cherry Blossom Festival events.