The greatest springtime celebration in Washington, D.C. has arrived! The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the long-lasting friendship between the people of the United States & Japan. With 16 days of spectacular festivities that are primarily free, tourists visiting the nation will make the most out of their trips by visiting Washington, D.C. during this time. The festival takes place from March 26 to April 10, 2011.
When to go
The best time to visit DC is when the blossoms begin to peek out. This is predicted to be between March 29 and April 3. At this time the trees are in fullest bloom and offer the prettiest pictures. Tip: Get out to view the blooms early morning before the crowds descend. Or get out to enjoy the festival by renting a paddle boat on the Tidal Basin. Make advanced reservations!
What to see
From sustainable sushi tasting and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade to photo safaris and fireworks, there’s plenty going on for everyone. Other interesting events include: Cherry Blast: Art + Music Dance Party, Make your own Bonsai Demonstration, Monuments-by-Moonlight River Cruises, Tudor Nights: Blossoms & Bubbly, Lantern Walks, as well as Cinematic Tourist Series: Japanese Film, Animation and Cultural Workshops. For the packed list of festivities going on, click here.
During the Cherry Blossom festival, let alone on a regular day parking around the monuments can be a pure mess; avoid the disaster by taking the metro. Get off at the Smithsonian stop (orange and blue lines). From here you can expect a 10-15 minute walk to reach the Tidal Basin. If you prefer a shuttle service, take Tourmobile from Virginia’s Haines Point parking area to the Tidal Basin. You may also consider getting on a bike and using the free bike valet at the Jefferson Memorial’s parking lot from 10am to 6pm. For $15 a day on a five day pass, you can rent a bike through Capital Bikeshare.