The National Cherry Blossom Festival: Getting around town

There are a number of ways to make your way around D.C. in the springtime — from bike to boat and everything in between.

Here are some of the best ways to travel throughout the city:

Metro

The Metro is Washington’s subway system. It operates in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and comprises six lines: red, orange, yellow, green, silver and blue. Fare costs vary depending on time and length of travel. You can find charge details on Metro’s website.

The best stops to view the blossoms along the Tidal Basin are the Smithsonian, Foggy Bottom and L’Enfant Plaza stations.

A map of the Metro

Capital Bikeshare

Capital Bikeshare is the D.C. area’s best way to get around on two wheels. The program has more than 3,000 bicycles and 350 stations in the District, Arlington, Alexandria and Montgomery County.

Check a bike out at one station and return it to any station near your final destination. The Capital Bikeshare station map shows you where you can find available bikes.

The cost is $8 per day or you can purchase a three-day pass for $17. This is a great alternative to renting a bike — especially if you don’t want to lug one around with you while you’re out enjoying the festivities.

Capital Bikeshare
A rider picks out a bike at a Capital Bikeshare station in Washington, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

The National Mall Circulator

The National Mall Circulator route was launched last summer. Bus stops are as far west as the Lincoln and Vietnam Veterans Memorials and as far east as Union Station, with stops in between serving Smithsonian museums and areas popular for viewing cherry blossoms.

It’s a dollar a ride, and if you use a SmarTrip card you can get on and off the bus as much as you want during any two-hour time period.

Find out more here.

Taxi and Car Services 

Taxis are aplenty throughout the city — especially in busy tourist destinations. However, if you are having trouble finding one, you can always call one of the local businesses for service. The D.C. Taxi Cab Commission lists phone numbers for the area’s dispatch services.

Uber also operates in the D.C. area. Download the Uber app or sign up online to request a car at your convenience.

Boat Rides and Other Options 

One way to beat the crowds at the Tidal Basin is to avoid it altogether. Instead, get your glimpse of the cherry blossoms from the Potomac River on a boat.

DC Cruises offers 50-minute cherry blossom river tours around the city’s monuments from March 26 through April 19. Get information on times and tickets on the website.

Spirit Cruises and Odyssey Cruises will host dining cruises March 19 through April 17 along the blossom route.

The Potomac Riverboat Company offers direct service to the National Mall from National Harbor, Maryland and Alexandria. View the schedule and purchase tickets on the boat’s website.

You can paddle yourself around the Tidal Basin on a two- or four-passenger boat, or, starting in April, rent a kayak or paddle board at the Key Bridge Boat House and take in the scenery.

Pedicabs and Segway tours are also two great ways to get around town and the Tidal Basin during the festival.

Eric Slaughter captains the boat during a DC Cruises tour on the Potomac River in Washington on Thursday, March 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Eric Slaughter captains the boat during a DC Cruises tour on the Potomac River in Washington on Thursday, March 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 Need a place to crash? 

There are a number of hotels in D.C., and a number of sites through which to book. The National Cherry Blossom Festival features hotels with special rates and packages through its website. Click here to book.

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