2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival FAQ

FILE- In this March 30, 2019, file photo the Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building is visible as cherry blossom trees bloom on the West Lawn in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, FIle)

Cherry blossom trees in springtime D.C. are almost as iconic as the city’s monuments.

Here is everything you should know about the Japanese cherry blossoms in D.C.

The cherry blossoms are expected to reach peak bloom between March 21 and March 24.

WTOP’s Reem Nadeem contributed to this report.

  • Q: How has the coronavirus outbreak affected the 2020 Cherry Blossom Festival?
  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival is making adjustments to its schedule in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Q: When is the 2020 Cherry Blossom Festival?
  • The best time to see the cherry blossoms is four to seven days after peak bloom, but that depends on the weather. Peak bloom is defined by the National Park Service as the day when 70% of the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin are open. The date varies year by year and depends on weather conditions.

    Cherry blossoms begin blooming before the peak bloom date. The cherry blossoms are considered in bloom from the time 20% of the blossoms are open until the petals fall.

    The National Cherry Blossom Festival is from March 20 to April 12.

  • Q: Where can I see the cherry blossoms in D.C.?
  • The Tidal Basin is the most popular spot to see the Cherry Blossoms in D.C. But if the Cherry Blossom Festival crowds aren’t appealing, there are some other options to see the flowery sights.

    The Trust for the National Mall has set up a camera so cherry blossom viewers can enjoy the blooms from their computer screens if they are not able to see them in person due the coronavirus outbreak measures.

    You can also see photos of the cherry blossoms in this gallery.

    Clusters of cherry blossom trees can be found along the National Mall and around the Washington Monument. Some lesser known cherry-blossom viewing destinations include the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park, according to Washington.org.

  • Q: Cherry Blossom Festival Events
  • Many events at the National Cherry Blossom Festival have been canceled due to measures to deal with the coronavirus updates.

  • Q: What's the big deal with the cherry blossoms anyway?
  • In 1912, the mayor of Tokyo gifted Washington, D.C., with 3,000 cherry trees, or sakura, as a symbol of the friendship between the people of the U.S. and the people of Japan. The festival now lasts four weeks and attracts more than 1.5 million people to the city.

    In 2011, about 120 propagates from the original 1912 trees were collected by the National Park Service and gifted to the Japan Cherry Blossom Association to maintain their genetic lineage.

    See a full timeline of the cherry blossom trees’ history in D.C. here.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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