The famous cherry blossom trees around the DC Tidal Basin will peak late next week, April 3 - 6.
Though the National Park Service said Monday's snow probably would not hurt the cherry blossoms, the relatively cold March pushed back NPS' originally projected peak bloom date from late March.
Here’s all of your need-to-know info about the trees, the Cherry Blossom Festival, DC transportation, the Cherry Blossom Parade and more:
The peak bloom is when 70 percent of the blossoms are open and the average peak bloom date is April 4, but was originally projected to be slightly earlier in 2013 thanks to a relatively warm winter, according to the National Park Service. That changed in late March due to colder-than-normal temperatures in mid-March in the DC area.
To make sure you do not miss the peak bloom, the National Park Service has created a live web cam of the Tidal Basin. Now you can monitor the bloom progress to decide when to plan your trip.
Cherry Blossom Festival
The very first "Cherry Blossom Festival" was in 1935. The 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 20 through April 14.
More information on the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival is available here.
The National Park Service has launched a mobile app to help you with transportation, navigation and other information. Download the National Cherry Blossom Festival mobile app here.
Once you’re downtown, the official National Cherry Blossom Headquarters is at Union Station and is open daily. The Tidal Basin Welcome Center is at the Paddle Boat parking lot at 1501 Maine Ave. SW. Both places have maps, merchandise and more.
Cherry Blossom Parade
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 13.
The parade route goes along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets NW. Tickets are not required to see the parade unless you want to sit on the grandstand—tickets for those seats are $20.
The DC! The Blossoms tour by OnBoard bus service is official bus tour of the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Daily tours have already started. They depart from the Old Post Office at 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $69.99 for adults, and $59.99 for children under 12 years old. The tour lasts three hours and includes many monuments.
The Cherry Blossom Festival, especially during peak bloom time, can get crowded and parking downtown may be difficult.
Metro has a Trip Planner available here to help you plan your route, and recommended bus routes and stations are listed here.
You may also use the DC Circulator bus system.
Cherry Blossom History
This year marks the 101st anniversary of the gift of the trees from Japan to the United States. In 1912 Japan sent 3,020 cherry trees of several varieties to Washington, DC. Many of those trees were planted around the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and on the White House property, according to the NPS.
Thinking About Growing Your Own Trees?
Cherry Blossom Tree Care Tips
- Cherry blossoms need some special
- Cherry blossom trees like full sunlight and well-drained soil.
- They can be susceptible to frost, so plant them on higher ground if you can.
- Oriental cherry trees are less hardy than other varieties. Sour cherry trees are the strongest.