Every year, hundreds of tourists from all over the world, plus local residents, travel to the Tidal Basin in Washington DC to see the cherry blossom trees during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival is a celebration of the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan and is open to the public and free to attend. This year’s event begins today, March 20th, and lasts through April 12th. Whether it’s your first time attending the event or not, here are some helpful hints that we think will ensure smooth sailing during your trip the 2015 Cherry Blossom Festival.
Peak Bloom: It’s always hard to tell, but experts say that the Peak Bloom Date is when 70% of the trees have blossomed. Surrounding the Peak Bloom Date is the Blooming Period, before more than 20% of the petals fall and leaves appear which typically lasts about 14 days. Just from taking a look at past year’s bloom schedules, it appears the best time to go would be between the weekends of March 20 – April 3 (but of course, we’re no experts).
Transportation: The closest Metro station to the Tidal Basin is the Smithsonian Metro Station and from there it’s about a 10 minute walk. There is no designated Cherry Blossom Festival parking, and parking is very limited in the area as well, so the Metro is usually the easiest way to get there. If you’re leaving from The Maxwell, simply hop on the Orange line to get there.
Once Your There: Besides walking the Tidal Basin on foot, you’ll also have the option to experience the cherry blossoms by paddle boat. The Tidal Basin Boathouse is located at 1501 Maine Ave. SW and offers boat rides for $12-24 per hour, between the hours of 10 AM and 12 PM. We recommend that reserve your boats in advance online, to ensure boat availably: http://www.tidalbasinpaddleboats.com/reservations.html
After-Party: Since you’re most likely traveling a little ways to see the cherry blossoms, you’ll want to make sure to have some other activities planned to do while in Washington DC. Beyond the various events the festival puts on, there are many local restaurants and bars that celebrate the festival with great specials and deals that are worth checking out. For example, Mari Vanna DC will be offering $5 cherry pies, $5 cherry vodka shots and $5 cherry cocktails during the festival. We love this article about 10 ways to eat and drink your way through the festival, plus you can read more about related events on the Festival’s website here: http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/
Have fun and be sure to share your pictures with us on social media using the hashtag #LiveWellMaxwell!