One of the best ways to celebrate spring is by attending the popular National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. For 2019, the festival officially begins March 20 and ends April 14. This year, peak bloom is predicted for April 3 – 6.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of Washington, DC’s largest spectator events, featuring giant colorful helium balloons, floats, marching bands, celebrity entertainers and other performers. Spectators can watch the parade for FREE along the parade route from Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets NW. This is a very popular event, so arrive early for the best views. This year, the parade is on Saturday, April 13 from 10am – 12pm.
Get a glimpse of last year’s parade:
One way to get a perfect and unique view of the cherry blossoms while avoiding some of the crowds is to take a cruise along the Potomac River. Aboard one of National Ferry Fleet’s luxurious vessels, you can take in the capital’s glorious landmarks and the gorgeous cherry trees.
You’ve only got a limited window of time to soak in the beauty of the blossoms and capture panoramic photos commemorating the occasion.
The cruise is approximately one hour long. You can relax on the outdoor deck or in the the climate-controlled interior cabin. There are snacks and refreshments available for purchase from two onboard bars.
- Where: Washington Marina-National Ferry Corporation — 1300 Maine Avenue, SW, Washington, DC
- When: Discounted tickets are available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from March 23 – May 11. Check here for other dates at full price.
- Time: 1pm, 4:30pm
- Regular price: $35
- Discounted price: $5 – $17.50 Get your discount tickets here
- Please note: This is a very popular event and tickets at these prices are limited.
The easiest and recommended way to get to D.C. during the festival is to take the Metro. Take the Blue, Silver, Orange, Green, or Yellow line to L’Enfant Plaza. From L’Enfant Plaza, Walk West on D Street toward 9th Street SW. Continue straight onto Maryland Ave. Walk around the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and take the footbridge across Maine Avenue. The Washington Marina-National Ferry Corp. is located directly across the street from the rear entrance of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
There is no on-site parking available. Arrive extra early if you plan to drive to find parking in the area. The nearest parking garages are located at The Wharf or L’Enfant Plaza Garage (420 10th Street SW). Parking availability is not guaranteed.
Another Cherry Blossom Boat Tour is available through DC Cruises:
- Where: 3100 K St. NW, Washington, DC (in front of Nick’s Riverside Grill)
- When: Discounted tickets are available for various dates and times between March 30 and April 13. Peak days are selling out fast.
- Times: Various
- Regular price: $25
- Discount price: $16 – $22 Get your discount tickets here
Discount through Boomerang Boat Tours:
- Where: 3100 K Street Northwest, Washington, DC
- When: Saturdays & Sundays through April
- Times: Various
- Regular price: $32
- Discount price: $16 Get your discount tickets here
About the National Cherry Blossom Festival
The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. Today, the Festival spans four weekends and welcomes more than 1.5 million people to enjoy diverse programming and the trees. Over the years, millions have participated in the annual event that heralds spring in the nation’s capital.
You can find more discounted tickets for events in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area here.
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