Washington, DC's Cherry Blossoms Are Blooming Early This Year. Here's When to Go

Just in time for the return of the city's annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Pink Skies and Full Bloom
John Baggaley / Getty Images

Visiting Washington, D.C., during cherry blossom season is one of the top spring activities for travelers across the U.S. Now, according to the latest forecasts, it seems that visitors won't have to wait much longer to see their favorite florals in full bloom.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that the world-famous D.C. cherry blossoms are set to bloom earlier than usual this year, around March 24 or within a five-day window of March 22 and 26. The National Park Service dropped their cherry blossom forecast a day later, confirming yesterday that they expect peak bloom between March 22 and 25.

The predictions foretell an earlier than usual bloom for the area. The average peak bloom in D.C. has arrived on March 31 over the past 30 years and on April 3 over the past 100 years. March 15 marks the earliest peak bloom on record, which occurred back in 1990. Last year, peak bloom occurred on March 28.

Experts have contributed the trend of earlier blooms in recent decades to a warming climate. February weather in D.C. has been mild this year, with March forecasts expected to be similar.

Peak bloom occurs when at least 70 percent of the cherry blossom trees along Washington, D.C.'s scenic Tidal Basin are in full bloom. Once this happens, the blossoms remain in their fully formed glory for several days, with cool and calm weather conditions able to extend their bloom even longer.

The news arrives at a serendipitous time. Washington, D.C.'s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which is set to return in person this year after a two-year hiatus, will kick off on March 20, just days before peak bloom. The festival will run through April 17.

"I am thrilled to welcome back residents and visitors to rediscover our celebrated and renowned National Cherry Blossom Festival," said Mayor Muriel Bowser at a press conference this week. "Whether you are a fifth-generation Washingtonian like me or a first-time visitor to our nation's capital, I hope you will immerse yourself in the spectacular radiance of our beautiful and blossoming cherry trees and take advantage of all that our city has to offer."

Article Sources
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  1. The Washington Post. "We Predict D.C.'s Cherry Blossoms Will Peak About One Week Early This Year." February 28, 2022.

  2. National Park Service. "Bloom Watch." Retrieved March 2, 2022.

  3. WJL ABC 7 News. "Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom 2022 Dates Announced: When You Should Go to D.C.'s Tidal Basin." March 1, 2022.