National Cherry Blossom Festival

by McEnearney on March 29, 2018

Washington DC in Spring - Jefferson Memorial during Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the year’s most anticipated events to mark the return of warm weather in the DMV, the National Cherry Blossom Festival offers plenty of events to soak in picture-perfect views. With warm temperatures finally reaching the area on March 29th, blooming buds are quick to follow! Peak bloom is now expected from April 8th to the 12th, but the festival is ongoing a little earlier this year– be sure not to miss these signature events!

The Capitol’s greatest springtime celebration commemorates Japan’s historical gift of 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC. While 1,800 trees were initially gifted to D.C. in 1912 and planted around the Tidal Basin– the epicenter of the festival and tourist activity– Japan also gifted an additional 3,800 trees in the 1960s that were planted around the Washington Monument and other grounds on the Mall.

You are sure to see plenty of the hallmark cherry blossoms no matter which path you take between monuments and museums. Check out our selection of this year’s signature events:


Blossom Kite Festival

March 31, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm | Washington, DC

Blossom Kite Festival

Photo courtesy of National Cherry Blossom Festival

Each year, the air on the National Mall is alive with the merry site of kites– and the grounds are filled with spectators and kite flyers doing their best to avoid tangled strings. Join them this year on the grounds surrounding the Washington Monument, between Constitution Ave & 17th Street NW, for the 7th annual kite flying competition. Features kite fliers from around the world, special demonstrations, and kite making for children.



Petalpalooza Presented By FreshDirect

April 7, 1:00 – 9:30 pm | Washington, DC

Cherry Blossom - Petalpalooza

Photo courtesy of National Cherry Blossom Festival

Celebrate spring with a literal bang!  Formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, this event at the new development at The Wharf will once again transform the waterfront into a springtime spectacle. Enjoy an amazing variety of play for all ages: free music, other live entertainment (including dancing), family-friendly activities (including roller skating and crafts), cultural experiences, and delicious food. Fireworks begin at 8:30 PM.


20th Annual National Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk

April 7, 9:00 am

Rain or shine, lace up your sneakers and join a fun walk to celebrate and learn about the Japanese-American spirit of patriotism and perseverance during World War II.  This year’s theme is “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One.” While we celebrate the motto of our Founding Fathers, it is also a reminder to that we must continue to stand with others in protecting civil liberties for all Americans. Registration begins at 9 AM; Program begins at 10 AM; Walk begins at 11 AM. Within walking distance of the Union Station Metro.



National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

April 14, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Washington, DC

Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Photo courtesy of National Cherry Blossom Festival

What better way than a parade to mark the arrival of spring? Don’t miss this long-standing Washington tradition– and one of the city’s largest spectator events!– featuring lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and family entertainment. Standing along the Parade route from Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets, NW is FREE and open to the public. Arrive early for the best views! Tickets are required for Grandstand Seating.



Newseum Nights: In Bloom

April 13, 8:00 pm – 10:30 pm | Washington, DC

Cherry Blossom - Newseum Nights In Bloom

Photo courtesy of National Cherry Blossom Festival

A twist on traditional blossom activities, museum and photography lovers should take note of this rare opportunity to attend a soirée in the Newseum. Enjoy an open bar (wine and beer), Japanese cuisine-inspired nibbles from Wolfgang Puck, and the option to purchase signature cocktails. There’s plenty to do, from a karaoke lounge; calligraphy, watercolor, and other crafts; and a curator-led introduction to a new exhibit, “Pictures of the Year: 75 years of the World’s Best Photography.” Tickets are $60 purchased in advance. For an extra $15, get in early at 7:30 with other members and receive the benefits of membership to the Newseum for a full year.


Visit for full details, tips for visiting, and other event information.

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