dc cherry blossoms on tidal basin

Every spring, Washington, DC leaves winter behind with the vibrant blooming of its world-famous cherry blossom trees. These magnificent, natural attractions have so much in their history, variety, and meaning. Dive into the bloom this year and with our guide to viewing the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC.

The History of DC’s Cherry Blossom Trees

The city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place in March and April celebrates a gift that the city received over one-hundred years ago. In 1912, Yukio Ozaki, the then-Mayor of Tokyo sent around 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States as a sign of strong relations between the United States and Japan. Most of these magnificent beauties were planted around the gorgeous Tidal Basin, which is on the National Mall and also home to the gorgeous Jefferson memorial.

While the vision of the trees around the Tidal Basin is one that’s filled with tranquility and beauty, it took some hard work to get it that way. The trees arrived in Washington, DC originally infested with insects in 1910. It was such an issue, that just a few days after they arrived, then-President William Howard Taft agreed to have the trees burned. Ozaki must have really felt strongly about the gift, because two years later, he sent an additional 3,000 trees to the states, and they were successfully transported and planted.

Peak Bloom Forecasts

Over a century later, the trees are standing strong and continue to draw major crowds year after year, making DC a favorite Spring Break destination. If you’re on the hunt to enjoy the vision of the trees during peak bloom, then you might want to check out some of the many peak bloom forecasts available here and around the internet. Usually, these blooms happen early in April. Every year, the National Park Service issues an official forecast of peak bloom dates, which their team of skilled horticulturists develop using historical data, weather observations, and hands-on experience watching the trees.  

Based on the warmer-than-usual weather of the 2018-19 winter, which means that the trees could blossom earlier than usual this year. The best ways for you to keep up with these predictions and numbers is to keep up with the National Park Service, the National Weather Service, and other assets like CherryBlossomWatch.com as well as cherry-blossom focused accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

How to Get to the Cherry Blossom Trees

There are a number of ways to get to the Cherry Blossom Trees when visiting Washington, DC this spring. One of our favorite, most enjoyable ways to cover a lot of ground is to use one of Capitol Hill Hotel’s two-wheelers and bike along the National Mall to the Tidal Basin. Learn more about our Capitol Hill Hotel bike program here!

If you’ve already seen the cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin, or you just want to sidestep the crowds,  then you can also check out the bloom at three other National Park Service locations in Washington, DC. In addition to the Tidal Basin location, DC has cherry blossom trees located at the Washington Monument grounds, West Potomac Park, and East Potomac Park.

Things To Do Near the Cherry Blossoms

The Shutdown has ended, and DC is officially open again, welcoming Spring Break visitors in town for the cherry blossoms. After seeing the trees, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the surrounding area, which is dense with American history and culture.

The National Mall is the top destination for monuments and government buildings in the United States. When you’re here, you can peruse various Smithsonian institutions including the National Air and Space Museum, and the relatively new National Museum of African American History and Culture. The area also has national landmarks that include the United States Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and the White House.


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