Sunrise Over Jefferson Cherry Blossoms

Photography Guide to Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

One of the best times to visit Washington DC is during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival to view the peak bloom of cherry blossom trees on the Tidal Basin. With amazing bursts of pink and white the cherry blossom trees create a huge burst of color in the nation’s capital. This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival is March 20 thru April 15, 2018.Guide to the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

It’s difficult to plan a trip around peak bloom since the most accurate predictions are about 10 days before they bloom. I’ve seen many friends come to town and miss the peak bloom by a few days.

2018 Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Forecast

Current Prediction: April 5th – 8th (Updated April 4th 2018)

It’s far too early to predict when the cherry blossoms in DC will reach peak bloom. Typically the cherry blossoms bloom in March or April and last about a week. Peak bloom is when 70% of the blossoms have bloomed which can heavily vary because of weather conditions.

Last year the National Park Service observed peak bloom on March 25, 2017.

Tidal Basin Parking Map

Tidal Basin Guide

Tidal Basin Parking Map

It’s probably easiest to just Uber/Lyft to the Tidal Basin, I would recommend getting dropped off near the MLK memorial off Independence Ave SW.

If you plan on driving here are some tips:

Above is a map of the parking situation at the Tidal Basin. The main parking areas are on Ohio drive. The parking lot off Maine Ave should be avoided since it’s closed for festival activities.

There is street parking on Ohio Dr and next to the MLK memorial but they can be hard to come by. Street parking on Ohio Dr is paid and costs a few dollars an hour via the ParkMobile app.

The entire stretch of Ohio Dr becomes a one way, so it can be difficult to get to the bigger parking lot off Ohio. You’ll most likely have to go down Buckeye Dr SW to reach that parking lot. Everytime I shoot the Cherry Blossoms for sunrise I park at the lot on Ohio south of the Tidal Basin.


You can also metro to the Tidal Basin, the closest metro stop is Smithsonian which has the blue, orange and silver lines.

Additionally if you can bike and are nearby you can rent a bike via bikeshare or use one of the newer dockless bikes such as Mobike, ofo, Jump, LimeBike or Spin.

Photos of the Cherry Blossom in DC

If you’re unfamiliar with the beauty of the cherry blossoms in DC here are a few of my photos over the years.

Planning a trip DC? Here are spots to photograph in Washington DC.

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