Can’t-miss events: The 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival

Enjoy fireworks, concerts and other family-friendly entertainment around the Tidal Basin and National Mall during the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Check out this year's highlights.

WASHINGTON — The parade is just one of several can’t-miss events during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Enjoy fireworks, concerts and other family-friendly entertainment around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Below are some notable highlights.

One-time Events

Opening Ceremony

Sunday, March 25, 5–6:30 p.m., Warner Theatre (Updated: Friday, March 16)

The event will feature traditional and contemporary performances by singer T.M.Revolution, Japanese drummers Miyako Taiko, the 6821 Quintet and more.

Pink Tie Party

Thursday, March 15, 7–11 p.m., Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

Enjoy delicious food highlighting D.C.’s culinary scene, an open bar, “unique” entertainment and a silent auction.

SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration

Saturday, March 24, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m., Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard

This celebration of Japanese culture features music and dance performances, face painting and cherry-blossom-themed crafts.

Sakura Taiko Takeover

Sunday, March 25, noon–6 p.m., ANA Performance Stage

Enjoy Japanese drumming and dance performances. For more information, check out the festival’s official page.

Blossom Kite Festival

Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., on the National Mall near the intersection of 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW

Watch colorful kites soar above the cherry blossoms. Bring your own kite or buy one. Children can also make their own at an activity station and there will be “pet comfort services,” including waste bag distribution, treats, and water stations using bowls with potable water. Competitions and demonstrations are also planned.


Saturday, April 7, 1–9:30 p.m., The Wharf

Formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Petalpalooza features interactive art installations, games and activities, live music, an 8:30 p.m. fireworks show (weather permitting) and more. Pets comfort services will be provided again (waste bag distribution, treats, and water stations using bowls with potable water), as well as a chance to meet to adoptable dogs from the Humane Rescue Alliance from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.–noon, on Constitution Avenue NW, from Ninth to 15th streets NW

The event is free, but $20 tickets to the grandstand are available. See more on the festival page. Read more about road closures here.

Recurring Events

Daily performances

Saturday, March 24 to Sunday, April 8, noon–6 p.m. daily at the Ana Performance Stage

For other daily activities, check out the Events and Activities page.

Ranger-led Lantern Walks

March 31–April 1, 8 p.m. at the National Park Service tent in the Tidal Basin Welcome area

Beat the crowds and bring your flashlight for a 1.8 mile, two-hour guided walk around the Tidal Basins.

(Note: Walk dates have been changed due to new predicted peak bloom dates.)

Run with a Ranger

March 17, 24 and 31, 8 a.m. at the Washington Monument Lodge (15th Street between Madison and Jefferson Drives, adjacent to the Washington Monument)

Take a 3.5 mile jog with a park ranger under the beauty of the cherry trees.

Ranger Bike Tour

March 17, 24 and 31, 1 p.m. departing from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (East Basin Drive)

Bring your bike and take a leisurely, three-hour ride beneath the blossoms.

Pups ‘n Petals Dog Walk

March 17–18, March 23–25, March 30–April 1, 2 p.m. outside the Franklin Delano Roosevelt bookstore

Enjoy a two-hour stroll among the cherry blossoms with your favorite furry friend.

Birds and Blooms

March 17, 24 and 31, 7:30 a.m. at the World War II Memorial contact station

Bring your binoculars to see the birds among the blossoms.

(You can also find a full list of events on the festival’s official page.)

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