Explore off-beat Cherry Blossom Festival events

WASHINGTON — Billed as “The Nation’s Greatest Springtime Celebration,” the National Cherry Blossom Festival is underway now through April 12.

Locals are likely familiar with big festival events that include the parade down Constitution Avenue, a day of music and fireworks on the Southwest Waterfront and a colorful display of kites flying on the Washington Monument grounds.

But let’s explore a few of the lesser known festival opportunities.

Free fitness activities on the National Mall

What: Area celebrity trainers lead group classes featuring yoga, zumba and dance from around the Globe like salsa and Afro-Cuban.

Where: Washington Monument Grounds

When: Saturdays — March 21, 28 and April 4


“Celebrating the Cherry Blossoms” 

What: Japanese Jazz Series

When: 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., March 23, 24, 25

Where: Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW


Panel Discussion

What: “A Blossoming Problem: The Disruptive Impacts of Climate Change on Nature’s Calendar”

When: March 26

Where: World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th St., NW


Rugby Tournament

What: Rugby tournament features the top high school/college teams in U.S.

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 28 and 29

Where: Rosecroft Raceway, 6336 Rosecroft Drive, Fort Washington, MD 20744


Freedom Walk

What: Celebrates and educates about Japanese American patriotism and perseverance during World War II

When: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., March 28

Where: Intersections of D Street and New Jersey Avenue and Louisiana Avenues NW


Blossoms and Baseball

What: 1st festival game is last Washington Nationals preseason game vs. New York Yankees

When: 1:05 p.m., April 4

Where: Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE (Green Line)

More information: Ticket prices include a $5 donation to the festival


Tysons Corner Center Cherry Blossom Event

What: Features a fashion show, makeovers and seasonal snacks

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 11

Where: 1961 Chain Bridge Rd, Tysons Corner, VA 22102 (Silver Line)


Tidal Basin Paddle Boat Online Reservations

When: Throughout the festival

More information: Preregistration guarantees boat availability

$15.00 per hour — 2 passenger boat

$24.00 per hour — 4 passenger boat


More tips for visitors:

The U.S. Park Service sponsors a visitor information booth at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day during the festival. It’s near the paddle boats in the Tidal Basin parking lot. Also in that spot, visitors will find food vendors and a gift shop that includes books and souvenirs.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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