Dc has turned pink! Cherry blossoms are in bloom and along with them come the National Cherry Blossom Festival which runs from March 18th to April 16th, 2023.
Cherry blossoms are located throughout the National Mall, concentrated on the Tidal Basin, Hains Point, and on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
By far the most popular viewing spot is the Tidal Basin and on a nice day it can be very pleasant to walk around the Tidal Basin’s trail, which is pretty much stroller friendly.
My children love spending an afternoon walking around the Mall with the cherry blossoms as the backdrop.
There is something magical about seeing a familiar place transformed by the trees. But, if you would like to add a little more to your cherry blossom-viewing experience there is no shortage of options.
During past festivals my family has enjoyed taking advantage of the many family-friendly activities that are offered as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Here are some of the best of the 2023 festival offerings for families.
2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival
Blossom Kit Festival
The Blossom Kite Festival takes place on March 25th on the grounds of the Washington Monument and at featured parks.
This is a perfect event for the entire family to attend and is completely free. Full details here.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of the largest events. The parade goes for 10 blocks along Constitution Avenue.
There is so much to see from:
- Elaborate floats
- Marching bands
- Celebrity entertainers
- and more
This is a free event so get there early to get a spot. You can splurge and purchase Grandstand Seating online if you prefer one of the best seats in the house.
This year, the parade will be hosted on April 15th, 2023.
Petalpalooza takes place on April 8th and is a day full of live music and activities. There will be plenty of family-friendly, hands-on activities along the Anacostia River and the day will end with a 15-minute choreographed fireworks show starting at 8:30pm. This is a free family-fun event.
This is only the second year for Petal Porches. From March 20th to April 16th, come explore DC residents who have decorated their homes to represent the cherry blossoms.
You can find a map of the homes on the bottom of this page by selecting the Petal Porches filter.
Pink Tie Party
Pink Tie Party, is a reception-style event hosted by TCMA for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
Anacostia River Festival
On May 20th, The Anacostia River Festival will host the annual festival honoring the history and sounds of communities on both sides of the river. You’ll see (and hear!) a lot here from:
- Go-Go music
- Local drum lines
- Military bands
- Canoeing (need to pre-register)
- Fishing (need to pre-register)
If these activities aren’t enough for you, check the official Cherry Blossom Festival website for a complete list of events.
Other Ways to Experience the Cherry Blossoms
If you would rather get a different view of the cherry blossoms or want to try to avoid the crowds, there are a few options other than walking available.
Several companies such as DC Cruises offer tours where you can get a different perspective of the cherry blossoms. Options range from a basic water tour to eating lunch or brunch while sailing the Potomac.
Paddle boat rentals in the Tidal basin are available during the festival for a unique view of the Cherry Blossoms. During the festival, we recommend you make a reservation, but know that it is sometimes a possibility to walk-up and get a boat.
Another option is to take a bike tour where children are welcome.
When to Go
During the festival, especially on the days of peak bloom, expect very large crowds. The cherry blossoms are still beautiful in the days before and after peak bloom and you may find you have a better time if you go when the crowds are slightly less dense.
Whenever you decide to visit, we recommend that you go as early as possible in the morning when the area is less crowded.
If you want to make sure to avoid the crowds, see the 23 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in DC (Without Crowds).
If possible, definitely take the Metro to see the Cherry Blossoms and any events you plan on attending.
Parking is extremely limited near the Tidal Basin on the Mall and all festival activities tend to be crowded.
The closest metro stop will depend upon your destination so check www.wmata.com to plan your route.
If the crowds are going to keep you away from seeing cherry blossoms on the Mall, Kenwood, Maryland (near Bethesda) also boasts an impressive collection of Cherry Blossoms.
Off the beaten path, a visit to driving or walking through Kenwood can be a lovely way to see the pink-and-white beauties.
See the full list of 23 less crowded places to see the cherry blossoms.
Seeing the Cherry Blossoms is a quintessential part of a D.C .Spring. However you choose to see them this year, enjoy their magnificence and take your camera!
Good to Know Before You Go
- Be prepared. Bring snacks, water, sunblock, hats, raingear for wet weather and a stroller or backpack carrier for the little ones. Take breaks and don’t worry about having to “see it all.” Enjoy what you can with whatever your child(ren) can handle.
- Prep the kids. Show the kids the National Cherry Blossom website and tell them about the history of the trees. Tell them your plan so that they know what to expect.
- Heavier crowds are on weekends, so if you can swing some time off during the week, we recommend you visit on a weekday morning.
- The Festival is accessible by foot, bike, bus, car and metro. Visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website for full details to plan the best way to visit for your family.