Cherry blossoms reach stage 3 of bloom watch, peak bloom still on track

It’s the first official weekend of The Cherry Blossom Festival and peak bloom is still expected to arrive on schedule, with the blossoms reaching stage three of the bloom watch Saturday.

Stage three indicates an extension of the florets and an average of 12 to 17 days to peak bloom. Peak bloom is April 3 to April 6.

With all the options for beautiful views and events, you can also expect some pretty large crowds. National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst says your best bet to get to the District is public transportation.

“It’s a short walk from the Smithsonian metro station to the Tidal Basin welcome area where all the events are taking place,” Litterst said. “The Circulator makes a stop there as well.”

Once you arrive, you may want to avoid some of the more iconic sites and opt for the lesser known locations to catch the views.

“If you, for example, get down to East Potomac Park, you could get away from the crowds a little bit. There’s just as many trees, it’s just as beautiful,” Litterst said.

This year, Litterst said more than one million people are expected to pass through the District for the festival. While selfies are encouraged, he’s reminding visitors to respect the trees.

“Please don’t climb the trees, don’t break off branches and take blossoms with you … stick to the paths,” Litterst said. “If you’re off the path, you’re walking on the roots and all those feet can compact the soil and create problems for the trees.”

The Cherry Blossom Festival will wrap up with a parade along Constitution Avenue April 14th.

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