Here are five ways to see the cherry blossoms in the nation's capital:
The Tidal Basin is the most iconic location to view cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. This area is surrounded by a looped path and is lined with thousands of cherry trees. Strolling along the Tidal Basin during the peak bloom (usually in late March to early April) is a quintessential D.C. experience. You can also rent paddle boats or take a guided tour on the water for a unique perspective.
Where: Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.
Directions: The Tidal Basin is located near the National Mall. If you're coming from downtown D.C., head towards the National Mall and find parking at nearby lots or garages. You can also take the Metro to the Smithsonian station (Orange, Blue, or Silver Line) and walk to the Tidal Basin from there.
The National Mall, stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, features many cherry trees as well. You can explore the monuments and memorials while enjoying the blossoms. The most famous spot on the Mall for cherry blossoms is around the Washington Monument.
Where: National Mall, Washington, D.C
Directions: The National Mall runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol. You can take the Metro to various stations along the Mall, including Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, and Capitol South. Parking may be available at nearby garages or street parking.
If you prefer a quieter and more residential setting, visit the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland. Kenwood is known for its stunning cherry blossom-lined streets and is a great place for a peaceful walk or drive among the blossoms.
Where: Kenwood neighborhood, Bethesda, Maryland.
Directions: To reach the Kenwood neighborhood, drive north from downtown D.C. Take Wisconsin Avenue (MD-355) toward Bethesda. Turn onto River Road and head east until you reach the Kenwood neighborhood. Parking is available on the residential streets.
The U.S. National Arboretum is another excellent place to see cherry blossoms. It offers a serene and less crowded environment than some of the more popular locations. Check out the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum while you're there.
Where: U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, D.C.
Directions: The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast D.C. You can take New York Avenue (Route 50) and follow the signs to the Arboretum. There is ample parking available on-site.
Explore the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, where you'll find cherry trees scattered throughout the residential streets. The area around the Capitol Building itself has some beautiful cherry blossoms, and you can combine your visit with a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
Where: Capitol Hill neighborhood, Washington, D.C.
Directions: Capitol Hill is a large neighborhood located near the U.S. Capitol. You can take the Metro to stations like Capitol South (Orange, Blue, or Silver Line) or Eastern Market (Orange, Blue, or Silver Line) and then explore the area on foot. Street parking may be available but can be limited, so consider using public transportation.
Please note that traffic and parking availability may vary depending on the time of day and the season. It's a good idea to check for any road closures or parking restrictions, especially during the peak cherry blossom season when these areas can be quite crowded.
The exact timing of the cherry blossoms' peak bloom can vary from year to year due to weather conditions, so it's essential to check the National Park Service's Cherry Blossom Watch to plan your visit accordingly. Additionally, during the National Cherry Blossom Festival--March 20 – April 14, 2024, you can enjoy various events, including parades, cultural performances, and fireworks, adding to the overall experience of seeing these beautiful blossoms in full bloom.