Nothing heralds the arrival of spring in Washington, D.C., quite like the magnificent cherry blossoms. For a few short weeks, a tapestry of blooming cherry trees, or sakura, disrupts the cityscape in the most breathtaking way, bringing a flair of romance to the nation’s capital and prompting celebration among locals and visitors alike.
The blooms that cloak the Tidal Basin every year were gifted to the United States by Japan as a symbol of friendship and political alliance. This iconic flower, a symbol of beauty and transience of life, serves as an annual reminder to unplug and be present. Whether you live here or are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., during the peak cherry blossom season, you are in for a treat. The city is alive during this time, offering a wide array of entertainment on top of sakura viewing.
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Here are the best ways you can enjoy cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., in 2022.
Best time to see cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.
The biggest misconception about cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C., is that it is short. There are a few varieties of sakura trees that blanket the city, and while they each bloom for one to two weeks, the earliest variety — Okame — starts blooming in mid-March and the latest one — Kwanzan — reaches peak in mid-April. Altogether, you have a month-long window to see these iconic blooms in all shades of pink. That said, the most popular time is during the prime bloom of Yoshino trees that line the Tidal Basin like a string of pearls.
To determine its peak bloom dates each year, the National Park Service measures the buds’ growth. You can get the latest updates on the 2022 cherry blossom forecast by visiting Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Watch website. If you are unable to visit, you can still enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival virtually and see the blossoms via the live BloomCam.
Best spots to see cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.
The National Mall and Tidal Basin, undeniably some of the most beautiful places to see cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., attract throngs of viewers each year. However, there are plenty of other spots where you can avoid the crowds and enjoy the fleeting beauty of the pink blossoms in a more intimate, scenic and secluded setting. A few options include Hains Point Loop Trail in East Potomac Park, the U.S. National Arboretum, the U.S. Capitol grounds, Stanton Park in Capitol Hill, Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Georgetown, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
If you want to see Washington, D.C., beyond major sights and parks, then stroll through neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and Alexandria’s Historic Old Town, all dotted with cherry blossom trees on random streets. Get lost in the maze of historic houses while also taking breaks at local cafes and shops.
Special events planned during cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. will host its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival and a few fascinating signature events like the Blossom Kite Festival, Petalpalooza, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and more.
Trust for the National Mall will also be holding its annual fundraiser that serves to maintain, preserve and protect our treasured blossoms. You can make a gift in your name or in tribute to a loved one.