Want to Celebrate Cherry Blossom Season? Check Out these Four Things to Do!
It’s springtime in the D.C. area. You know what that means: baseball, gorgeous weather, and more tourists visiting the monuments. However, the most beloved D.C. spring ritual has to be the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
This annual celebration started in 1912, when First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees (gifts from Japan) on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. Since then, the beautiful cherry blossoms have attracted millions of visitors to the nation’s capital each year.
Here is a list of four fun activities you can enjoy during the Cherry Blossom Festival, which lasts through April 12. Some of these are free, others reasonably priced, but rest assured that all promise a fantastic time!
- Cherry Blossom Kayak Tour –Tuesday, April 7; Friday, April 10; and Saturday, April 11. For all you kayakers, head to Georgetown and depart from the boathouse underneath the Key Bridge. Paddle past the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, and Tidal Basin to reach East Potomac Park, where the cherry blossoms frame the edge of the river. Tickets cost $45 and include sit-in kayaks, paddles, lifejackets, and an instructor. Key Bridge Boathouse (3500 Water St. NW)
- Capitol Hill Cherry Blossom Food Tour – Wednesday, April 8, to Friday, April 10. Explore the city in a new way during a three-hour food tour, which will introduce you to a variety of Capitol Hill restaurants featuring cherry-infused dishes and drinks, as well as Japanese-inspired fare. Tickets cost $49.
- Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival – Saturday, April 11, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Sakura Matsuri Festival is the nation’s largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture, featuring food vendors, crafts, more than 50 cultural groups and performances, and plenty more. Tickets are $8 in advance online. Day-of tickets are $10 online or at the gate, or $5 after 3 p.m. Kids age 12 and younger get in for free. Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 9th and 14th streets
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade – Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m. to noon. The festival’s final weekend is capped off by a pink-focused parade and street festival. Watch blossom-themed floats, giant balloons, marching bands, and famous entertainers cruise down Constitution Avenue. The parade is free, but if you’d like grandstand seating, tickets start at $20. Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets NW