It is such a beautiful time of year in the DC area. The skies are blue, the clouds are fluffy and there is pink flowers tracing their way throughout the city. Breathtaking and awestruck are a few words that come to mind. If you have never seen the Cherry Blossoms in DC, you must! We have been going yearly for the past 10 years, and it is something we look forward to. Check out this family friendly guide to seeing the Cherry Blossoms this spring in DC!
Cherry Blossom Peak 2023
Typically the Cherry Blossoms peak bloom is the last week in March. It can vary depending on the weather. Here are a few of the predicted peak dates for this year:
National Park Service: March 22-25
Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang: March 25-29
NBC4 Storm Team4: March 15-20
Where to Park
Parking in DC can be very tricky. I would recommend going early in the day on weekends, or a weekday afternoon if you are able. We have went afterschool the last few years during the week and it was less crowded.
- Ohio Drive SW, the entire stretch from Lincoln Memorial to Jefferson Memorial
- Main Ave parking lot (near the paddle boats)
- West Basin Drive next to the FDR Memorial and MLK Memorial (closed during Cherry Blossom Festival)
- Lots A, B, and C under the 14th Street Bridge
Free Parking- East Potomac Park near the golf course and Hains Point are still unmetered/free parking
You can also take the metro to avoid parking and fees. I love to check Spot Hero or Parking Panda apps whenever I go into the city for deals or to secure a spot early.
Where to See Cherry Blossoms
Tidal Basin – It is most beautiful to see the blossoms around the Tidal Basin and the National Mall. The trees line the walkway of the river and it is gorgeous. There are no handrails, so be careful when pushing strollers and walking along the path. I always held my kids hand towards the grassy side.
National Arboretum – The Arboretum features 76 varieties of cherry trees blossoming in the research and display collections, and you can take a self-guided adventure through acres of flowering cherry trees by car, foot, or bicycle.
Capitol Building- The Capitol Grounds cares for both big and small groups of cherry trees of a few different varieties (Yoshino and Japanese flowering). One of the largest groupings is in Lower Senate Park, where there are more than 100 cherry trees lining the fountain and pathways.
Where to Eat or grab a Treat
There are many restaurants that have fun, seasonal Cherry Blossom offerings. I wanted to share some good kids friendly places as well.
There’s a food tent in the parking lot next to the paddle boats. They offer a variety of treats and drinks.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop (1240 Maryland Ave., SW)
Most of the museums are just over a mile’s walk from the Tidal Basin, but you can enjoy the National Mall scenery on the way.
The Pavilion Café at the Sculpture Garden (Seventh St. and Constitution Ave., NW)
Mitsitam Cafe at the Museum of the American Indian (Fourth St. and Independence Ave., SW)
View the Cherry Picks selections here- https://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/where-to-eat/
Family Fun Experiences
Tidal Basin Paddle Boats
One of the best ways to experience the cherry trees is on a paddle boat! This year, Guest Services, Inc. is offering online paddle boat reservations during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Paddle boats are available daily from 10 am to 4 pm in the Tidal Basin Welcome Area.
Blossom Kite Festival
Saturday, March 25, 2023
10 AM – 4:30 PM
Rain date: March 26, 2023
Set Dates are Subject to Change
Spring on the fun at the Washington Monument Grounds with activities, music, competitions, and performances. Kite enthusiasts, beginners, families, and friends are all welcome – bring your own kite, purchase one onsite, or pick up a free kite kit that you can decorate onsite, courtesy of presenting sponsor Hilton.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Saturday, April 15 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM | Sunday, April 16, 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 3rd & 7th Streets
The Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival is the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the United States. The festival features over 24 hours of Japanese cultural performances on four stages (including J-Pop, traditional Japanese music, and martial arts) and a diverse range of cultural exhibitors, artisan and commercial vendors of traditional and contemporary Japanese goods, and Japanese and other food and beverages.
Tips for Cherry Blossoms with Kids
- Know where the bathrooms are. Bathrooms are located at the Jefferson Memorial, MLK Memorial, and FDR Memorial. During the National Cherry Blossom Festival there are temporary porta johns in the parking lot next to the paddle boats and out the back of the Jefferson Memorial. (Bring your own sanitizer as well.)
- Always pack water bottles, a treat and a protein snack. It takes longer than you think to walk and get back to your car.
- Go over your lost and found procedure. Have your child go to a park ranger if lost.
- Pack a light blanket and a few activities such as cards, coloring, or a ball. We take a break mid walk to rest and fuel back up.
- Make a day of it and visit a museum and or restaurant mentioned above.
- Wear layers. It can get cool in the morning and evenings quickly.
- Make a game out of the walk and site seeing such as I Spy, counting the trees, reading fun facts ect.
Get all the details and more here: https://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/
Do you plan to venture to DC to see this magnificent site?