Where to Visit the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC

Cherry blossom season is more than just another festival in Washington, DC. The bloom of the cherry blossoms marks the end of braving the cold winter inside. It marks the beginning of rooftop happy hours, patio brunches, and the first sightings of tourists. This year, the Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 20 to April 11, 2021. Plus, both locals and tourists will flock to the Tidal Basin to capture that perfect Instagram photo. That view of the Jefferson Memorial perfectly framed by pink branches can’t be beaten. However, the festival and visit to the tidal basin aren’t the only way to visit the cherry blossoms.

This blog has been updated for 2021.

Off Beat Places to Visit the Cherry Blossoms

The National Arboretum: There are dozens of flowering cherry tree varieties at the National Arboretum. This means the trees will peak at differents times and you can enjoy them through the month. Pick up a self-guided tour pamphlet at the visitor center and wander the arboretum to your heart’s content. It’s a great opportunity to get pictures with the pink flowers without fighting Tidal Basin crowds. The National Arboretum welcomes dogs on a leash and allows picnics in the Grove of State Trees. 

Petal Paddle: Enjoy the flowers from the water with a 1-hour Petal Paddle kayak tour. Head to the Wharf Boathouse to rent single kayaks for $35 or doubles for $70. Or take a guided tour for $45/person. Plus, check out other guided tours like the sunset tour or daytime monument tour. Bring a change of clothes in case you get wet!

Potomac River Cherry Blossom and Monument Boat Tour: If you don’t want to paddle your own boat, take a Potomac River Cruise between The Wharf and Georgetown during peak. $24/round trip or $15/one way. 

Hains Point: Hains Point Loop Trail is a 4.1 loop with beautiful views of the cherry blossoms plus both the Potomac and Anacostia River. It’s a perfect spot for walks, picnics, and biking. Be mindful that this location is walkable from the Tidal Basin. While it can be less popular with tourists, the area may be closed off or partly restricted due to COVID-19. 

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: In Vienna, Virginia, you can visit the cherry blossoms at Meadowlark’s Botanical Gardens throughout the month of April. Like the National Arboretum, Meadowlark is home to a few different varieties of trees that will peak throughout the season.  Plus, you can join them on April 2 for a special photograph class during sunrise ($25/person). Dogs and outside food are not allowed in the gardens.

Cherry Blossoms at the National Arboretum

Special Events to See the Cherry Blossoms

Virtual Opening Ceremony: Enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony from the comfort of your living room on March 20 at 6:00 pm. Enjoy music performance in partnership with the Japan Foundation. This event is free but registration is required.  

Artechouse: Renewal 2021: Artechouse near L’Enfant Plaza is an art venue known for its visual masterpieces that bring together art, science, technology. From March 12 to September 6, you can check out a larger than life, check out Renewal 2021 highlighting climate change. Experience this message of hope and action in this cherry blossom-inspired installation. $24/adults over 16 and $20/children. 

Bloomarro: Head to the Warf March 20 – April 11 to celebrate at blossoms at select restaurants. Enjoy Cherry Blossom-themed menus and cocktails.  Plus, don’t miss the special mural from Artechouse. 

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