As DC cherry blossoms reach peak bloom, admirers flock to Tidal Basin

Cherry blossoms are seen in Lower Senate Park on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 20, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)(AFP via Getty Images/MANDEL NGAN)

In an excited Twitter post on Monday, the National Park Service announced that the D.C. cherry blossoms have reached peak bloom along the Tidal Basin.

Peak bloom is a threshold at which at least 70% of the cherry trees are in bloom, according to the National Park Service.

On Monday, people were out basking in the warm weather and taking in the pink petals.

Mark Fanelli, of Boston, was coming back from a trip to the Carolinas and decided to stop in D.C. for a visit. He told WTOP that the blossoms didn’t just live up to the hype, “it’s exceeded the hype.”

“I didn’t realize how beautiful it was going to be,” he said. “And it’s a great atmosphere out here. And it’s nice to see all the people out enjoying the beautiful summer-spring day.”

Krishna Barekh, who lives in New Jersey and works in New York, also came down specifically to see the blossoms.

“There are so many people enjoying this and it’s almost like COVID was never there,” she said.

Kristen Dowling, of Arlington, Virginia, said she’s been a waiting a long time for a perfect day like this.

“The water is so blue. The sky is blue,” she said, adding that the blossoms “just look so soft. And like on the horizon far away on the other side of the Tidal Basin … they look like they all are sort of blending into each other in the distance over there. But up close, they’re like very intricate — like all the flowers are really pretty on their own.”

Allie Soel, also of Arlington, said there was no place else she’d rather be. “This is a perfect spot. We’re just reading our books, watching the people walk by, enjoying the flowers.”

The ambience was also a big draw. “It’s all good vibes here and everyone looks really happy,” said Sarah Clark.

Alicia Moulton is a regular every year. “I’ve been here for so long, I don’t always take as many pictures as I used to. It looks about the same from year to year but yeah, it’s beautiful. My feed will certainly be filled up with pictures from other friends.”

D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Watch posted on Instagram that this year it has been an early bloom, fueled by above-average temperatures in February and warm temperatures in March.

After two years of going virtual due to the pandemic, the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival is in-person this year. It started on Sunday and runs through April 17.

Photographers were out taking advantage of the blooms early Monday morning.

The 2022 festival is the 110th anniversary of the gift of the trees from the mayor of Tokyo to D.C. as a gesture of Japan-U.S. friendship.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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