Every March and April, Washington D.C. pauses to take a deep breath and, well, blush. This is thanks to the millions of cherry blossoms that slowly wash the city in pink. There are several ways to join in the celebration — whether with the flocks that come from miles away for a glimpse of the perfect petal, or taking a self-guided tour to some of the lesser known spots for blossoms.
Tidal Basin Welcome Area
The most traditional space to envelope yourself in the flowers is at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. The large, northeast bank of the Tidal Basin holds the ANA Performance stage, which hosts daily, free performances from March 25 to April 9, 2017. Visitors can watch music and dancing that highlight American and Japanese culture with interwoven messages of friendship — the original symbol of the cherry blossom trees when they were given to the United States decades ago.
Another traditional spot, especially for that iconic cherry blossom photo, is on the Kutz Bridge. Bridge-goers can see Thomas Jefferson’s memorial across the basin as he overlooks the blushing grounds.
Several trails lead away from the above hub of blossoms and can be perfect spots for a quieter look.
West Potomac Park
Walking northwest from the Tidal Basin, head to West Potomac Park. This trail leads to another president enjoying the blossoms: Lincoln in his memorial.
One way to avoid crowds, according to the National Park Service, is to take a walk (or bike!) eastward from the basin toward East Potomac Park and Hains Point. The park sits on a peninsula jutting into the Potomac River and is surrounded by a loop of cherry blossom trees. These trees also tend to fully bloom a couple of weeks later than the main ones at the basin.
And, of course, George Washington himself couldn’t be left out — there are several bunches of blooms near the Washington Monument.
If seeing cherry blossoms on the move is more your thing, make sure to catch the parade on April 8. Any spot along the route is free and affords a quirkier view of the blossoms — recreated as giant bobbing balloons and covering dozens of floats and costumes as performers make their way down Constitution Avenue.
Bonus: Cherry Picks Restaurant
Finally, those who prefer the great indoors can still bask in the blossoms. Dozens of restaurants across the city participate in the Cherry Picks program, changing their menus to include food and drink for cherry blossom season. Try the sherry blossom festival at Estadio, whose menu includes special flights of unique sherries to complement their tapas.
For more suggestions, checkout our Washington D.C. Weekend City Picks!