The average peak bloom date, when 70% of the flowers of the cherry blossom trees are open, is April 4. The peak bloom date last year occurred on April 10. In the past, peak bloom has occurred as early as March 15 and as late as April 18, according to the National Park Service. The entire blooming period can last up to 14 days, which includes the days leading up to peak bloom.
NPS offers the official peak bloom prediction on its website, which indicates that “it is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before the peak bloom.” This year, the Service has predicted that peak bloom will occur between March 23 and 24.
During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the most popular place to visit the cherry blossom trees is at the Tidal Basin, which provides great photo ops near the Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
The majority of blossoms are located near the Tidal Basin and along the shoreline of East Potomac Park, extending all the way to Hains Point. Meanwhile, small clusters of trees can be found along the National Mall, just northwest of the Lincoln Memorial and around the Washington Monument. Click the National Park Service’s easy-to-follow National Cherry Blossom Festival map for a visual guide to viewing the blossoms.
Off-the-radar cherry blossom trees can be found at the U.S. National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park.
Last but not least, as we celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, do your part in helping to protect the National Mall and the cherry blossoms. We kindly remind you to look at the blossoms, but never pick them (it’s against the law).
First off, there is no bad time to visit the cherry blossoms. Any time you get to see them is time well spent. During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the least busy time to visit the cherry blossoms is in the early morning or early evening. You can expect more people on weekends and when the blooms are peaking.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival sweeps the entire city. Many area hotels offer special cherry blossom-themed packages, which, in addition to discounts, may include a free bloom-inspired cocktail, chocolates, meals or more. You can book a hotel package today.
Most people stroll the sidewalk around the Tidal Basin for a standard view of the cherry blossoms, but you can also see them from an old-school paddleboat, on a Segway or a bike, or even from an Odyssey or Spirit cruise up the Potomac River. Want to stick to walking? Try out the guided Blossom Secrets Stroll from Washington Walks. Or, head to the Key Bridge Boathouse for its special three-hour Cherry Blossom Paddle (April 7-12) and enjoy a paddle past the blossom-lined Georgetown Waterfront, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial and East Potomac Park.
The sky above the National Mall comes alive with color for a day as professional kiters (yes, that’s a real profession) and amateurs are invited to fly their colorful kites from the base of the Washington Monument at the annual Blossom Kite Festival. If it’s been awhile since you’ve flown a kite, no worries – the event includes kite-flying demos and kite-making for kids. The Blossom Kite Festival is scheduled for April 2.
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