Everything to Know About the Washington DC Cherry Trees

Here is a guide to everything you need to know about cherry trees and the cherry blossom season in Washington DC. 

  • 01 of 10

    When do the cherry blossoms bloom?

    Cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.
    ••• Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    The date when the cherry blossoms reach their peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on the weather. The dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival are set based on the average date of blooming, which is around April 4th. The dates are predicted each year by the National Park Service.

    More Info: See the current year's estimated peak bloom dates

  • 02 of 10

    What are the National Cherry Blossom Festival dates?

    ••• Photo © Getty Images

    March 15 – April 16, 2017. The festival is an annual, city-wide event featuring more than 200 international cultural performances and over 90 other special events. Due to the early arrival of spring, the festival dates have been moved up to include an additional 5 days.

    More Info: Best of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

  • 03 of 10

    Where are the cherry blossoms in Washington DC?

    ••• Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Washington, DC's famed cherry trees grow in three park locations: around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park (Hains Point), and on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
    See a map.

    Approximately 3,750 cherry trees are on the Tidal Basin. Most of the trees are Yoshino Cherry. Other species include Kwanzan Cherry, Akebono Cherry, Takesimensis Cherry, Usuzumi Cherry, Weeping Japanese Cherry, Sargent Cherry, Autumn Flowering Cherry, Fugenzo Cherry, Afterglow Cherry, Shirofugen Cherry and Okame Cherry.

    Some cherry trees are also located in some quieter places around the region. For details, see a guide to Cherry Blossoms Off the Beaten Path Around Washington, DC

  • 04 of 10

    How do I get to the Tidal Basin and the National Mall?

    ••• Photo © PNC

    The best way to get to the Tidal Basin and the National Mall is by public transportation. For tips on getting to the cherry blossoms and festival events.

    More Info: Cherry Blossom Festival Transportation Guide
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Do you have photos of the cherry blossoms?

    ••• Photo © Noel Hendrickson
  • 06 of 10

    What is the history of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC?

    In 1912, the people of Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees to the United States as a gift of friendship. First Lady Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, planted the first two cherry trees on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin. These two original trees are still standing today near the John Paul Jones statue at the south end of 17th Street. Workmen planted the remainder of the trees around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park. In the early 1990's, the Cherry Blossom Festival became a two-week long celebration, as it is today.

    To learn more, read Ann McClellan's book The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration. Buy a Copy from Amazon.

    More Info: History of the Cherry Trees

  • 07 of 10

    How can I avoid the crowds during Washington’s cherry blossom season?

    The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the more heavily attended annual events in Washington, DC. Visit the Tidal Basin early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the largest crowds. The largest crowds visit on the weekends. Many of Washington’s most popular attractions will be very busy as well. Plan ahead and make reservations or buy admission tickets in advance.

    More Info: Washington DC Attractions That Require Advance Planning
  • 08 of 10

    Where should I stay when in Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival?

    ••• Photo © John Slater

    The Washington DC area has a wide range of places to stay, including hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts. You can find cheap hotels and luxury accommodations near the National Mall or you may consider staying in the nearby suburbs.

    More Info: Hotels in Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Where should I eat during the National Cherry Blossom Festival?

    ••• Photo © Jen Grantham/Getty Images

    Washington DC has hundreds of fantastic restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world. Many local restaurants offer special dishes and add cherries to some of their recipes during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. For details, see a guide to Washington's Cherry Picks The museum cafe's are expensive and often crowded, but are the most convenient places to dine on the National Mall. There are a variety of restaurants and eateries within walking distance to the museums as well. See a Guide to Restaurants and Dining Near the National Mall.

    More Info: A Guide to Restaurants in Washington DC

  • 10 of 10

    What else should I do in Washington DC during the spring season?

    ••• Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    The spring is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy a variety of family fun activities in the Washington, DC area. From outdoor recreation, to community events to visiting historical and cultural attractions, there are endless opportunities for fun around the region.

    More Info: Spring Family Fun in the DC Area and Top 10 Things to Do in the DC Capital Region