WASHINGTON — The National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual springtime celebration, attracts visitors from all over the world to Washington, D.C.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival typically coincides with the “peak bloom” of D.C.’s cherry blossom trees, which Japan gave to the U.S. as a gift in 1912. According to the National Park Service, the average peak bloom date is in April.
Throughout its four-week run, the festival hosts a variety of family-friendly events — from concerts to parades and more.
The 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 15 through April 16.
D.C.’s cherry blossom trees line the city’s Tidal Basin along the Potomac River. This is the most popular viewing spot for the blossoms — but it is not the only spot.
The Chevy Chase, Maryland, neighborhood of Kenwood has 1,200 cherry trees, located just off River Road near the popular Capital Crescent Trail. The U.S. National Arboretum and Anacostia Park are two places to catch a glimpse of the pink-hued trees.
American University in Northwest D.C. has 30 cherry trees at the East Quad Building. They were planted as an expression of AU-Korean friendship in 1943 by the exiled president of Korea.
Cherry blossom parade
D.C. police released a list of road closures for the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade that will block off a main thoroughfare of downtown D.C. starting early April 8.
Here is a map of the closures:
The full list of closures is below:
Early closure 3 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 7th Street between Constitution Ave. NW and Independence Ave SW
Closures from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- 9th Street between Pennsylvania Ave. NW and Constitution Ave. NW
- 10th Street between Pennsylvania Ave. NW and Constitution Ave. NW
- 12th Street between Pennsylvania Ave. NW and Independence Ave. SW / SE SW freeway
- Access to 12th Street Tunnel from I-395 ramp SW
- 14th Street between Pennsylvania Ave. NW to Independence Ave. SW
- 14th Street Bridge ( inbound) all traffic sent to I-395 freeway SW
- 15th Street between E Street to Constitution Ave. NW
- 17th Street between New York Ave. NW to Independence Ave. SW
- 19th Street between E Street to Constitution Ave. NW
- Virginia Ave between 20th Street to Constitution Ave. NW
It’s easy to get around D.C. — especially in the spring. There are bike share programs, car share companies, boats, taxis and, of course, the Metro.
The National Park Service estimates peak blooming period to around the weekend of March 25. The park service declined to give exact dates for the peak bloom. The park service has updated the predicted peak bloom several times throughout the season.
The peak time is defined as when 70 percent of the trees around the Tidal Basin will be in bloom.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival utilizes an army of volunteers. There are volunteer opportunities at a variety of different venues. Volunteers receive a free Cherry Blossom T-shirt. Find out what’s available and how to sign up.