It’s my favorite time of year!
With the first day of spring arriving last week, nearly 3,000 cherry blossom trees are in full bloom in Washington D.C., meaning that the annual Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing.
For the past six years, I’ve made a point to make it to at least one day of this blossom-inspired, three-week festival. I’ve always been infatuated with how this festival kick starts Spring with an explosion of life and color.
With 1.5 million visitors from around the world flocking to our nation’s capital each year to snap pictures of the iconic Yoshino (white) and Kwanzan (pink) flowers, the festival actually honors the 1912 gift of roughly 3,000 cherry trees to Washington by then mayor of Tokyo, as a symbol of the U.S.-Japanese friendship.
“The National Cherry Blossom Festival is the biggest celebration of Japan-U.S. friendship in the United States,” Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae said in an address at the event. “I’m proud of it.”
This year, I had a blast strolling through the National Mall. My best friend, Sarah and I made a day of it.
If you’re looking to find the most “Instagram ready” spot to enjoy the blooms, the majority of blossoms are located near the Tidal Basin and along the shoreline of East Potomac Park, extending all the way to Hains Point.
Just be prepared to wedge your way past the herd of cameras and selfie sticks to get that perfect shot.
I will admit that getting to the festival can be challenging, especially on the weekends. Parking in D.C. is always limited - regardless of if there is a festival going on. So your best bet is to use public transit. (I’d avoid Uber or Lyft - the surcharge can get intense).
Try Paddle Boating on The Tidal Basin!
If you want an awesome view of the blossoms, without having to elbow other tourists, rent a paddle boat. The boats hold 2 to 4 passengers and are fun activity for all ages and a good way to entertain kids while attending the festival
Try Some Cherry Infused Food and Drink
While you are there, make sure to enjoy a special cherry-themed dish.
Try some tasty unique dishes like Brie and Prosciutto crostini with cherry chutney,
Atlantic salmon couscous pistachio and dried cherries, spiced pearl onion, lemon and cilantro relish, pork belly confit with cherry sauce or Sherry Cherry Crispy Goat Cheese Salad.
That's just to name a few.
We took time to enjoy some specialty cocktails like this black cherry cider which was incredible.
All told, I can’t recommend the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. enough. For me, it's a great way to kickstart Spring with a pop of color.