Cherry blossom season is upon us once again! Area residents and visitors from all over the world will come to see the absolute beauty of the blossoms with DC as the backdrop. In fact, District officials estimate that 1 million people visit here during the Cherry Blossom Festival. While the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin and the National Mall are spectacular, the massive crowds can make the experience a bit less enjoyable and more challenging, especially with kids.
We have compiled a list of some other spots in and around DC where your family can enjoy the cherry blossoms with a bit more peace. Do you know of a great spot in or near DC to see cherry blossoms with less crowds that is not on our list? Please share in the comments section. The National Park Service is expected to announce this year’s peak bloom date on March 1st. We will update this article once that information has been released.
You may get a view of the cherry blossoms with less crowds along the Potomac and around the National Mall if you view them by boat. City Cruises offers water taxi service with routes connecting The Wharf to Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, and National Harbor. Riders can get views of blossoms from all of these routes. There is a 45-minute tour from Georgetown geared specifically for Cherry Blossom viewing, as well as dining cruises and one to watch the Festival fireworks. Other companies offering cherry blossom cruises include Capitol River Cruises and EmbarkDC, which offers private boat tours for up to 6 people.
The Basilica is located in DC’s Brookland neighborhood. It is the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, and among the 10 largest in the world. One million people visit the Basilica each year. During early April, visitors can enjoy the beauty of 150 cherry trees blossoming on its grounds. Parking is free and guided tours of the Basilica are available.
The National Arboretum is one of DC’s best-kept secrets. It provides 446 acres of gardens, walking trails, and a stunning collection of plants, including several varieties of cherry trees. The cherry trees are spread throughout the arboretum, but exploring this beautiful space is part of the fun. Entry is free, so make a day of it and take along the family dog and a picnic. In the past, the Arboretum has implemented parking restrictions and made changes to entry and exit points during peak blossom season. Make sure you check out the website for traffic updates before visiting.
This park has over 200 cherry trees! The Oxon Run Pinknic will take place on April 2nd. Hosted in coordination with the Blossom Kite Festival, there will be kite programming, entertainment, and more.
The four acres of this park are absolutely stunning when the cherry trees bloom. It is a lovely place to enjoy cherry blossoms with less crowds. There are so many trees that the park looks like it is covered by clouds made of petals. There is a playground in the park and it is an easy walk from Union Station.
Many cherry trees can be found throughout the Capitol Complex. The Architect of the Capitol has created a list of the top 5 areas to enjoy spring blooms, as voted on by its employees. Perhaps the best place to enjoy the cherry blossoms is in Lower Senate Park, where over 100 trees burst with blossoms every spring.
The 4.1 mile loop around Hains Point is full of cherry blossoms. It provides great photo ops with river backdrops. It can get crowded early in the cherry bloom season since many people park there to walk over to the Tidal Basin. If you want to see some pretty cherry blossoms with less crowds, check out the 481 Kwanzan cherry trees on Hains Point, which bloom two weeks after the Yoshinos (the variety around the tidal basin). Peak bloom here is often less crowded, particularly if you can go on a weekday. There are playgrounds, picnic tables, and restrooms at the tip of Hains Point.
The Gardens at Dumbarton Oaks are an oasis in the city. This historic estate in Georgetown has a number of large cherry trees that make for great picture ops. Japanese plum trees and tulip magnolias are also in bloom. The gardens are open from 11:30am – 5:30pm Tuesday through Sunday and admission is free. Montrose Park is nearby, with a fun playground for the kids. It, too, is home to many cherry trees.
This DC neighborhood sits just west of Georgetown. Its quiet, residential streets are lined with cherry blossoms each spring. Yoshino cherries line most of these streets, which is the same variety that graces the Tidal Basin area. Expect peak bloom to be during the same time period.
The streets in this area of Chevy Chase, Maryland are lined with around 1200 cherry trees! The neighborhood’s streets become carpeted in the cherry blossom petals each spring. Remember to always be respectful when viewing in residential areas.
The cemetery is beautiful during every season. In spring, there are many differing blooms that bring bright color to this solemn place. Visitors should take time to quietly explore these sacred grounds as they pay respects at notable spots such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame.
Cherry blossom hunters will find lovely blooms scattered throughout the Memorial grounds. Visitors can also tour the interior of the Memorial, though advance registration is required. When you finish enjoying the blooms here, stroll down King Street and through the surrounding neighborhoods to find more spring blooms. One place that bursts with cherry blossoms is the garden at Carlyle House.
For helpful information about the Cherry Blossom Festival, check out DCMB’s post Enjoying the National Cherry Blossom Festival with Kids as well as the festival website.
Also, Cherry Blossom Watch provides frequent updates about the blossoms, a good explanation about “peak bloom,” and information about the varieties of cherry trees in our area and how their bloom periods differ.