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Things to Know About the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms - Free things to do in Washington, DC

Check out these things you need to know about the National Cherry Blossom Festival and DC's famous cherry blossom trees.

Updates About Visiting the Cherry Blossoms

Please find the latest recommendations from the National Park Service and the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority below:

According to the National Park Service on March 21:

"The National Park Service strongly urges anyone considering a visit to see the cherry blossoms to reconsider and to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as it is difficult to maintain effective social distancing in large crowds. Slowing the spread of infections diseases is everyone's responsibility."​ NPS also announced new traffic measures to discourage excessive visitation.

Please note that WMATA has closed the Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery Stations and advised the public not to use the Metro for cherry blossom travel.

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The cherry blossom trees are without a doubt the stars of springtime in Washington, DC. Visit the District during this time and you’ll find the nation’s capital is accented in pink for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place from March 20 – April 12, 2020. Here are five things you need to know before planning your trip to see the cherry blossoms.

Washington DC Coronavirus Resources

1 When do the cherry blossoms bloom?

Cherry blossoms up close with the Jefferson Memorial during the National Cherry Blossom Festival this spring in Washington, DC

This popular question has a different answer year-to-year. The average peak bloom date, which is when 70% of the flowers of the cherry blossom trees are open, is around April 4. In the past, peak bloom has occurred as early as March 15 and as late as April 18. The entire blooming period can last up to 14 days, which includes the days leading up to peak bloom. The National Park Service (NPS) predicts that the official peak bloom will take place from March 21-24 on its website, which also indicates that “it is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before the peak bloom.” The best viewing of the cherry blossom trees typically lasts four to seven days after peak bloom begins, but the blossoms can last for up to two weeks under ideal conditions.

2 Where can you see the cherry blossom trees?

@amandaeisner - Couple near Washington, DC Tidal Basin during National Cherry Blossom Festival cherry blossom tree peak bloom

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. Off-the-radar cherry blossom trees can be found at the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Stanton Park and Oxon Run Park.

Here's how to find the best Metro lines, bus routes and bicycle pathways for reaching DC's cherry blossom spots.

Your ultimate guide to the cherry blossoms and springtime in Washington, DC

3 What time of day should you visit the cherry blossoms?

@transplantedindc - Cherry Blossoms around Tidal Basin and Japanese Lantern in full bloom - Spring in Washington, DC

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 evening. You can expect more people on weekends and when the blooms are peaking.

Last but not least, 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).