When will DC’s cherry blossoms be at their peak?

D.C.’s cherry blossoms are expected to peak between March 22 and March 25 this year.

Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, made the announcement at a news conference Tuesday held on Maryland Avenue in Southwest, overlooking the Tidal Basin, where throngs of visitors gather each year to admire the delicate pink blooms.

This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival will run March 20 to April 17 and is returning to in-person events after largely going virtual the last two years because of the pandemic. The four weeks of programming include the traditional opening ceremony and parade, along with performances, food, arts and cultural events. Restaurants and hotels across the city will also be offering special blossom-themed packages.

The 2022 festival marks the 110th anniversary of the gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki to Washington, D.C.

“I’m sure that when people gathered at the Tidal Basin in 1912 to plant the first tree, they had no idea what an impact their effort would make,” said Ryo Kuroishi, of the Embassy of Japan. “But looking back, we can now see those cherry blossoms have become a lasting symbol of our special friendship that has grown between Japan and the United States.”

The embassy’s Japan Information and Culture Center will be among the venues hosting festival-related exhibitions throughout the city. Other events include:

  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on Constitution Avenue, featuring floats and entertainment by Taylor Dane, Freddie Jackson, Tag Team and others (April 9);
  • The Blossom Kite Festival on the Washington Monument grounds (March 26);
  • Petal Porches, where various neighborhoods in D.C., Maryland and Virginia decorate their porches in pink;
  • Art in Bloom, showcasing community-wide installations of oversize cherry blossom statues painted by local and international artists;
  • Petalpalooza at the Capitol Riverfront, with live music on three outdoor stages, interactive art installations, activities, a beer and wine garden, roving performers and a fireworks show (April 16).

As for seeing the trees up close, the best viewing times are typically four to seven days after peak bloom starts. And you don’t need to converge on the Tidal Basin to admire them. Clusters of trees can be found along the National Mall, as well as the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park.

“Whether you travel to see the blooms in person or enjoy the blossom experience online with the #BloomCam and other virtual resources, we hope you’ll join us in Washington’s grandest springtime tradition,” said Reinbold.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Rediscover Spring,” which National Cherry Blossom Festival President and CEO Diana Mayhew said “symbolizes hope, renewal and new beginnings.”

“The trees, a gesture of goodwill from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., now, more than ever, serve as a reminder of the importance of unifying communities and sharing in the celebration of peace and international friendship,” Mayhew said.

The trees are also a major economic engine for the city, drawing 1.5 million people over the four weeks of programming, according to festival organizers.

“D.C. is open,” Mayor Muriel Bowser declared at the news conference.

“Whether you are a fifth-generation Washingtonian like me or a first-time visitor to our nation’s capital,” Bowser said, “I hope you will immerse yourself in the spectacular radiance of our beautiful and blossoming cherry trees and take advantage of all that our city has to offer.”

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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