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. The 2023 Cherry Blossom Festival will take place from March 20 through April 16, 2023. Peak bloom for 2023 has yet to be predicted.
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.
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DC Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Prediction 2023
Peak Bloom Was At:
Too Early to Tell
(Updated November 28th, 2022)
2022 Peak Bloom:
March 22nd to 25th, 2022
Typically the cherry blossoms bloom in March or April and last for about a week. Peak bloom is when 70% of the blossoms have bloomed which can heavily vary because of weather conditions. Wind is often a large factor as it’ll blow blooms off the trees.
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It is common for peak bloom predictions to change as they get closer to bloom. The dates often change due to weather and other circumstances which can make it hard to plan a trip to DC for the blossoms.
Last year: the National Park Service observed peak bloom on March 22, 2022.
Best Place to See the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC
By bar the best place to see cherry blossoms in Washington DC is the Tidal Basin. The cherry blossom trees surround the entire path around the Tidal Basin. This makes it great for framing up photos of the blossoms surrounding DC’s monuments.
Typically Casey Trees releases a map of all of the cherry blossoms across the city if you’d like to find a less crowded area. Some other popular areas for cherry blossoms include Congressional Cemetery, National Arboretum, and Kenwood, MD.
Since the Tidal Basin is the best place to see cherry blossoms in DC here are my tips for planning your visit to the Tidal Basin:
Tidal Basin Cherry Blossom DC 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. From here you can walk around the entire Tidal Basin to get the most out of the area.
If you plan on driving here are some tips:
Above is a map of the parking situation at the Tidal Basin. The primary parking lots are located off Ohio Drive SW. That includes Parking Lot A, Lot B, and Lot C which are located next to each other. If you’re lucky you can also find parking on Ohio Drive SW near the west side of the Tidal Basin. The parking lot off of 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 of Ohio. You’ll most likely have to go down Buckeye Dr. SW to reach that parking lot. Every time 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 Capital Bikeshare. There are also dockless bikes and scooters around the area but just be careful not to park them in a no parking area when riding down (the app will show you no parking zones).
National Cherry Blossom Festival 2023
The 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place on March 20 thru April 17, 2023. The not-for-profit organization hosts events all around DC including performances on the Tidal Basin and exhibits.
Here are the primary 2023 Cherry Blossom Festival Events:
- Opening ceremony (Free): Sunday, March 20, 2023 5:00am-6:30pm at the Warner Theatre
- Petal Porches (Free): Sunday, March 20, 2023 – Sunday, April 16, 2023 all over DC homeowners decorate their homes to celebrate the blossoms
- Blossom Kite Festival (Free): Saturday, March 25, 2023 10:00am-4:30pm at the Washington Monument Grounds
- National Cherry Blossom Parade (Free): Saturday, April 15, 2023 10:00am-12:00pm on Constitution Avenue
- Petalpalooza (Free): Saturday, April 8, 2023 1:00pm-9:00pm at the Yards (Fireworks at 8:30pm)
- Pink Tie Dinner Party (Ticket Required): TBA
DC Cherry Blossoms Pictures
If you’re unfamiliar with the beauty of the cherry blossoms in Washington DC here are a few of my photos over the years.
The most iconic place to take photos of the cherry blossoms is around the Tidal Basin. There are loads of other smaller parks around the district that also have cherry blossom trees if you’re looking for a less congested area.
Remember to tag your photos #CherryBlossomDC on Instagram.
If you’re planning a trip to DC here are my favorite spots to photograph in Washington DC. You can also stop the uniquely themed Cherry Blossom Pub that is usually open during cherry blossom season for a cherry blossom themed cocktail (or at any of these DC cocktail bars). Additionally ARTECHOUSE typically has an exhibit revolving around the blossoms as well.
Things to Do if You’re Too Early for Peak Bloom
If you’re too early for the blossoms you can also stop by Rawlins Park or the Enid A. Haupt Garden to get your pink fix with magnolias. Their pink blooms are often confused for cherry blossoms but are also worth checking out.
Both parks are a great way to see some color in the city, plus they are free to visit!
I hope you found my guide to cherry blossoms in DC helpful! If you have any questions let me know in the comments below.
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