The National Chery Blossom Festival celebrates the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. The annual celebration brings over one million people nationwide not only to honor the relationship between Japan and the United States, but to partake in the weeks of events and excitement surrounding the city.
First-timers and Cherry Blossom Festival veterans alike can benefit from our seven insider tips for things to know that will help you bloom this season.
Tip #1: Reserve paddle boats beforehand.
Reserve for your paddle boat online to beat the lines. New this year are the swan paddle boats. You’ll be able to go straight to the front, which will save you at least 3 hours in the line. You can rent your paddleboat at the Tidal Basin official rental site.
Tip #2: The Metro is your best friend.
Each year, more than 1.5 million people flock to witness the cherry blossoms bloom in D.C. Imagine if everyone tried to find parking at the same time! Leave the stress behind and take the Metro to see the Cherry Blossoms for a more enjoyable trip. Make sure to plan your trip beforehand to avoid any confusion the day of!
Suggested route: take the Metro to the Smithsonian Station (Blue/Orange lines) or the L’Enfant Plaza Station (Blue/Yellow/Green lines), 7th Street & Maryland Avenue exit.
Tip #3: Take a sunrise tour.
Imagine snapping a picture while the sky matches the hue of the cherry blossom trees. Sunrise, when the sky turns pink, is one of the best times to take a self-guided stroll by the 3000-plus trees. If you don’t take our advice, and end up driving to the festival, this is also an opportune time to find parking that you might not find later in the day. There’s no bad time to visit, but you’ll avoid the large, busy crowds if you go early morning or early evening.
Tip #4: Don’t let hunger take you away!
All of that walking will work up your appetite. Satisfy your taste buds with the variety of food trucks surrounding the Cherry Blossom festival. Grab food and make it into a picnic by the Washington Monument.
Tip #5: See the Cherry Blossom tour at full bloom.
Although the Tidal Basin is the most popular Cherry Blossom viewing spot, there are several other picturesque spots that will captivate the blossom, including the Jefferson Memorial Steps, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Japanese Lantern, and the U.S. National Arboretum. You’ll get to see the cherry blossoms at full bloom and still avoid the big crowds!
Tip #6: Don’t pick the Cherry Blossoms.
D.C. loves its Cherry Blossoms so much that they’ve created a law against pickers. Remember to admire the Cherry Blossoms with your eyes and not your hands to prevent problems with Cherry Blossom lovers alike. Do your part as we all strive to protect the blossoms.
Tip #7: Experience springtime D.C. style without breaking the bank.
In order to get the full experience, we encourage you to book a room with a hotel near the action. Our exclusive Cherry Blossom Festival package, equipped with a two night stay in our boutique rooms, two Metro cards, complimentary sake sampling and more, will heighten your Cherry Blossom Festival experience AND help you save.
We hope to see you all at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Official kick-off begins Monday, March 15 and will run through Sunday, April 16, 2017. Plan your events today.