Peak cherry blossom season comes every year, usually late in March or early in April. These beautiful flowers attract many visitors to Virginia, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. area.
If you’re looking for the best place to enjoy cherry blossoms, you’re in luck. This guide will help you find the most popular spots, along with some hidden gems without the huge crowds.
When is cherry blossom season in Virginia, Maryland, & DC?
Before you choose the right spot and head out to view cherry blossoms, it’s important to know when the season starts and ends. Peak cherry blossom season starts when about 70% of the cherry blossom tree flowers have opened. Peak season may start as early as March 15th or as late as April 18th.
Every year is a bit different. According to the National Park Service, the 2020 cherry blossom season will hit its’ peak between March 27th and March 30th.
One of the easiest ways to know when cherry blossom season happens is by looking at the dates for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year, the festival will happen from March 20th to April 12th.
How long is peak cherry blossom season?
Throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C., the peak cherry blossom season will last about four to seven days. The National Park Service has stated, “it is nearly impossible to give an accurate forecast much more than 10 days before the peak bloom.”
What time of day is best for viewing cherry blossoms?
There isn’t a bad time of day for viewing cherry blossoms. However, the least busy times tend to be the early morning and the evening. Weekends attract more visitors and tend to be busier compared to weekdays.
Top Spots for Cherry Blossoms in Virginia, Maryland, & DC
There are several great places throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. for cherry blossom viewing. The Tidal Basin is by far the most famous option offering more than 3,000 cherry trees, along with famous monuments throughout. Some of the other top spots for cherry blossom viewing include:
- The National Mall
- The Lincoln Memorial
- The Washington Monument
- The National Arboretum
- The FDR Memorial
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
If you’re looking for a great place to see cherry blossoms, but you don’t want to fight huge crowds, there are several hidden gems visitors don’t always know about. These spots include:
- Anacostia Park
- Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown
- Oxon Run Park
- Stanton Park
- Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
- East Potomac Park
- Montrose Park
All of these spots offer lower crowd levels with beautiful cherry blossoms to enjoy.
Viewing Cherry Blossoms Outside of DC
While Washington D.C. offers some of the best cherry blossom viewing areas, Virginia and Maryland offer other options, too. Some of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing outside of DC include:
- Kenwood Neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland
- Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia
- Van Gogh Bridge at Lake Anne in Reston, Virginia
- Alexander Bell Drive in Reston, Virginia
- Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia
- Centennial Park in Ellicott City, Maryland
- Glenview Mansion in Rockville, Maryland
- Green Springs Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia
- Snow Meadow Lane in McLean, Virginia
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia
- River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia
All of these choices offer great cherry blossom viewing outside of the very busy Washington D.C.
A Few Unique Ways to View Cherry Blossoms in DC
There are several great ways to view cherry blossoms, whether you choose the Tidal Basin or one of the hidden spots. Here are just a few great ways to see the cherry blossoms this year.
Tidal Basin Pedal Boats
One of the best ways to see the cherry blossoms is from a Tidal Basin pedal boat. Not only will you get to enjoy beautiful views, but you’ll also get to enjoy the fun of a two-person Swan pedal boat with an electric motor.
With the pedal boats, you can view the cherry blossoms from underneath the trees. In addition, you won’t have to fight the crowds along the busy shoreline.
Another way to view the cherry blossoms from the water is the water taxi. You’ll get a unique view of the cherry blossoms as you arrive on the water.
Big Bus Tours
The hop on hop off busses from Big Bus Tours is a great choice if you want to enjoy multiple viewing spots during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. These tours will stop at many of the best Tidal Basin viewing spots, along with several other spots throughout Washington D.C.
Cherry Blossom Segway Tour
A bit unusual, taking a Cherry Blossom Segway Tour gives you a guide and plenty of great viewing options throughout the Tidal Basin. You can even proceed on foot to get a closer look throughout your tour.
There are several great ways to see the cherry blossoms throughout Washington D.C. Choose one of these unique options or simply arrive and walk through the many areas offering incredible views of the beautiful blooms.
Whether you choose to view cherry blossoms in DC, Virginia, or Maryland, remember the following tips:
- Never pick the flowers. It’s illegal.
- Arrive early in the day or late to avoid crowds
- Sunrise and Sunset attract the largest amount of photographers
- Parking is limited in the Tidal Basin, so choose alternate transportation, when possible
There are plenty of great viewing areas to enjoy. Make sure you take the time to plan your day so you can enjoy the best spots for cherry blossom viewing in Virginia, Maryland, and DC.