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Top Spots to Photograph the Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms

Capturing a lasting image of the cherry blossoms can be a daunting task. Luckily, we’ve compiled the best spots for you to shoot the blossoms.

Expert photographers will tell you, taking a captivating cherry blossom shot requires the right scene. Another thing they'd tell you is to take a picture at the right moment. For the blossoms, that's during peak bloom, which typically occurs around early April, but in the past has occurred as early as March 15 and as late as April 18.

Put your lens into action by snapping shots of the trees from these vantage points, and you’re sure to snap some keepers.


1 The Jefferson Memorial Steps
The Jefferson Memorial Steps Angela N

The memorial’s marble steps are ideal for hunkering down with a picnic or just to catch your breath. Use a long-focus lens to look out over the cherry blossom-lined Tidal Basin and snap away. Otherwise, find plenty of nearby blossoms to frame a shot of the memorial’s iconic portico and dome.

701 West Basin Drive SW

2 The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Geoff Livingston

The sculpture’s nickname, the Stone of Hope, comes from a line in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Let pink and white blossoms dot the foreground of a photo featuring the prominent statue—the 30-foot structure is surrounded by 182 new cherry blossom trees planted for the opening in 2011.

Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive SW


3 The Japanese Lantern
The Japanese Lantern Jason Vines

This nearly 400 year-old stone lantern is one of a pair—its twin resides at a Tokyo temple. The Japanese lanterns were carved to honor the Third Shogun of the Tokugawa period. To mark the National Cherry Blossom Festival each year, the lantern is lit by the Cherry Blossom Princess representing the Embassy of Japan.

Tidal Basin at Independence Avenue and 17th Street SW

4 Tidal Basin Paddle Boats
Tidal Basin Paddle Boats Flickr User: hpien

Take either a two- or four-person paddle boat ride and see the blossoms from out on the water. Paddle out to the middle of the Tidal Basin for a panoramic shot of the trees. Or, float on to the Jefferson Memorial.

1501 Maine Avenue SW

5 The U.S. National Arboretum
The U.S. National Arboretum Mike Myers

Outfitted with flowering cherry trees, the U.S. National Arboretum is another place to behold the celebrated pink and white flowers. The Arboretum’s cherry trees usually peak at a different time than the Tidal Basin ones, offering an alternative opportunity to catch the blossoms.

3501 New York Avenue NE

As a reminder, please do your part in helping to protect the trees by never picking the cherry blossoms (it's against the law).

Read our complete guide to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s website for more information on this year’s festival.