Washington, DC welcomes the arrival of spring from March 20 to April 12, 2015 with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a tradition that showcases the beautiful gift of 3,000 cherry trees that the city of Tokyo gave to our nation’s capital. The festival brings people together to participate in a wide range of activities, celebrating the season and Japanese culture. Events feature more than 200 cultural performances and over 90 other special events from arts and exhibits to cuisine and sports, there is something for everyone to enjoy!
The dates for this year will start from March 20 to April 12. The blossoming of the cherry trees symbolize the arrival of spring and brighten the area surrounding the Tidal Basin with their vibrant pale pink and white flowers.
Best Things to Do Around the Tidal Basin
- Walk and Picnic – Enjoy the breathtaking views and be sure to take the opportunity to take some great photos. The best time to walk around and avoid the crowds is early morning. The East side of the Tidal Basin (between the National Mall and the Jefferson Memorial) tends to get the most congested. You are free to bring your own picnic.
- Paddle Boating – Rent a paddleboat for 2 or for a family or group of 4 persons and enjoy the views from the water of the Jefferson Memorial and Japanese Cherry Trees. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Advanced reservations are recommended as this is a busy time of year.
- Cherry Blossom Cruise – Enjoy spectacular views of the cherry blossoms from a boat cruise. Excursions range from a 45-minute sightseeing tour of go on the 2.5 hours dinner cruise. The dinner will need to be booked ahead.
- Blossom by Bike Tour – Take a two-hour ride and follow a trail specifically designed for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Ride around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park through homes to famous landmarks including the Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and more.
- Visit the Jefferson Memorial – This is the most beautiful time of year to see the Jefferson Memorial surrounded by pink cherry blossom trees. And it’s free. Learn about the life and contributions of our third president and writer of the Declaration of Independence.
- Enjoy free cultural performances – Daily entertainment includes traditional and contemporary music, dance, song and martial arts demonstrations will be staged around the Tidal Basin.
- Join in a Guided Tour – See Washington DC’s top sights on a guided trolley tour, walking tour, or ride that two-wheeled electric vehicle by Segway. There are many more other tours. Get the opportunity to see famous landmarks in Washington DC. Hire a Deaf guide who knows about DC area or bring along a guidebook for briefing of the landmarks and sites.
- Attend Special Events by the National Cherry Blossom Festival Organization – A wide variety of events are associated with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The most popular events include the Opening Ceremony, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, the Sakura Matsuri- Japanese Street Festival and the Fireworks Display on the Southwest Waterfront. Check with the National Cherry Blossom Festival for schedules and locations.
For many other tour activities around Washington DC and nearby cities check with our vacation activities page.