a view of the Jefferson Memorial with pink and white cherry blossoms in the view
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The History of Cherry Blossom Trees in DC

There’s a little-known adventure story behind the cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC, that spans over 100 years.  Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore was a writer and diplomat who fell in love with Cherry Blossom trees after her first visit to Japan. She began asking different government agencies to support her idea to import the trees and plant them throughout DC. After many letters, meetings, and persuasive conversations, First Lady Helen Herron Taft got on board. The Japanese console heard about the idea from the First Lady and got to work.

In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, gifted 200 cherry blossom trees as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan. So, every spring, people worldwide travel to DC and Japan to witness the beautiful cherry blossom blooms. Here are the best places to see the cherry blossom bloom in DC.

When Do the Cherry Blossoms Bloom in DC?

cherry blossom trees in dc with Jefferson memorial far away

The National Park Service has just predicted that the cherry blossom peak bloom will happen from March 23 to March 26 in Washington, DC. The cherry blossoms in DC. typically bloom around late March to early April. The exact timing is highly reliant on weather conditions each year.

Where to See the Cherry Blossoms in DC?

Early Cherry Blossom Blooms

The Okame cherry blossoms are particularly beloved for their early bloom time, often preceding the more famous Yoshino cherry blossoms, which dominate the Tidal Basin in D.C. However, like other cherry blossoms, the peak bloom period for Okame cherry trees can vary depending on weather conditions, but it typically lasts for about one to two weeks. The best places to see the Okame cherry blossom trees are:

  • The Congressional Cemetery
  • Le Droit Park Arch
Pink okame cherry blossom tree blooms form an arch in the Congressional Cemetery
Okame Cherry Blossoms at the Congressional Cemetery

Peak Cherry Blossom Blooms

The original 200 cherry blossom trees have been propagated to create hundreds of more trees. Here are a few places to find cherry blossom blooms at their peak.

  • Tidal Basin: The Tidal Basin is the most popular place to see cherry blossoms. Most go for the beautiful view of the Jefferson Memorial, but you may want to use public transportation when visiting. Parking is extremely limited and sometimes non-existent. Visit during sunrise to beat the crowds. It gets very crowded by 10 am. Here’s a photo for reference.
  • Anacostia Park
  • Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown
  • Stanton Park
  • Oxon Run Park
  • East Potomac Park.
  • National Mall
  • Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland: Located about 30 minutes from DC, the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda boasts over 1,200 cherry blossom trees lining its streets.

Cherry Blossom-Themed Events

During Cherry Blossom season, Washingtonians and visitors celebrate it in many ways. You’ll find cherry blossom theme brunches, cruises, parties, and mocktails. Here are few more cherry blossom theme events.

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Cherry Blossom Festival DC :

The 2024 Cherry Blossom festival is celebrated between March 20 – April 14. It includes a kite festival, parade, and much more.

Cherry Blossom Cruise

The Cherry Blossom Cruise cruise provides visitors with a view of the cherry blossoms from the Potomac River and Tidal Basin. These cruises often offer narrated tours, providing information about the history and significance of the cherry blossoms, as well as other landmarks and monuments along the riverfront.

Some cruises may also include amenities such as food and beverages, live entertainment, or guided tours by experts on the cherry blossoms. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of the blossoms while avoiding the crowds that can gather around the Tidal Basin during peak bloom.

Cherry Blossom Run

The Cherry Blossom Run, also known as the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, is a competitive road race held annually in Washington, D.C., during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It attracts thousands of runners each year.

The Cherry Blossom Run features a scenic course that winds its way through the streets of the nation’s capital, passing by iconic landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial, as well as the beautiful cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin.

The main event of the Cherry Blossom Run is the ten-mile race, but there are also shorter races held in conjunction with the event, including a 5K run and a kids’ run.

Cherry Blossom Parade

The Cherry Blossom Parade is one of the hallmark events of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. It’s a vibrant procession featuring floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, performers, and cultural groups from around the world. The parade celebrates the arrival of spring and the blooming of the cherry blossoms, while also showcasing the diverse cultural heritage of the United States and its international relationships.

Looking for more fun things to do in DC? Check out this blog:

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