For over 100 years, Washington D.C. has come alive with bright pink flowers each spring thanks to a gift from Japan. In 1912, the mayor of Tokyo donated 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States to celebrate the friendship growing between the two nations. Ever since, the U.S. capital has enjoyed these exquisite blooms lining the Potomac River during this spectacular season. From the annual Cherry Blossom Festival to unprecedented photo ops, here are some reasons you’ll want to see Washington D.C. in spring.
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Much like Japan, Washington D.C. honors the coming of these beautiful flowers with numerous festivities. The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 20 to April 12 and features activities throughout the city. Kick off the event with a Pink Tie Party on March 20 or watch the opening ceremony on March 21. Grab your kite and head to the Washington Monument for the Blossom Kite Festival on March 28. Or, watch the National Cherry Blossom Parade, one of Washington D.C.’s largest spectator events on April 4. You’ll see giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, celebrity entertainers and more burst down Constitution Avenue.
Where to See Cherry Blossoms This Spring in D.C.
From the Jefferson Memorial to the Washington Monument, the city is bursting with pink blooms. It’s a great time to see the city’s many iconic monuments and landmarks. Experience a four-hour cherry blossoms sightseeing tour that includes the U.S. Capitol, White House, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and more. Or, enjoy a scenic segway cherry blossom tour along the Tidal Basin, to Hain’s Point, the Japanese Pagoda and other beautiful attractions.
If you aren’t yet planning to be in Washington D.C. but are traveling nearby, you can also find a wide variety of one to three day cherry blossom tours departing from Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago!
Potomac River Cruises
One of the most memorable ways to experience cherry blossom season is on a boat cruise along the Potomac River. Enjoy a tour that includes a stop at George Washington’s historic birthplace along with a river cruise. Many of the longer day tours and multiday tours also include the option to see cherry blossoms as you float along the river. Try a one-day tour from New York City or enjoy a two-day tour from Philadelphia.
Other Spring Sightseeing in D.C.
While cherry blossoms are definitely the star of spring in Washington D.C. there are plenty of other blooms to enjoy around the city. Head down to the National Arboretum for a self-guided tour to explore nearly forty different types of flowering cherries found in the park. Slip into the National Art Gallery, a perfect museum any time of the year, and wander through the Sculpture Garden to enjoy the sweet sights and scents of spring. Or, rent a bike and pedal around DC’s many monuments, parks, and trails. Along the way, take the time to enjoy the unique spring scenery. You can also purchase a DC Explorer Pass for just $60 to see more sights.
Whether you want to see cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. or Japan or want to head to the Netherlands for tulip season, spring is a delightful time to travel. For more ways to enjoy spring blooms, click here. Or, discover more places to enjoy cherry blossom season around the world here.