Make Arlington Home Base for the National Cherry Blossom Festival

​The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, America’s greatest springtime celebration, is set for March 20 to April 13 just across the Potomac River from Arlington in Washington, D.C.

The three-week cultural festival, held at multiple venues across the capital, attracts more than 1.5 million visitors. Coming from around the world, these guests take part in events honoring American and Japanese cultures, recalling Tokyo’s gift of the trees to the city of Washington, D.C. in 1912.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

This year’s festivities include:

  • March 22: The Pink Tie Party, a fundraiser featuring pink attire, cocktails, live music and dancing.
  • March 23: The Opening Ceremony at the Warner Theatre, with free performances by American and Japanese artists.
  • March 23: The Smithsonian American Art Museum Cherry Blossom Celebration includes a taiko drumming performance, Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts.
  • March 30: The Blossom Kite Festival means you can fly your own kite (or children can make their own at an activity station) on the Washington Monument grounds. Enjoy competitions and kite demonstrations.
  • April 6: Petalpalooza at The Wharf offers live music, a beer garden and fireworks. Festivities start at noon, and the fireworks show is set for 8:30 p.m.
  • April 13: The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®, features giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country and celebrity entertainers.
  • April 13: Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, produced by the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C., stretches six blocks in downtown D.C., with performers and vendors sharing love of Japanese culture and traditions.

Stay in Arlington and Save

Haven’t booked your hotel yet? Here in Arlington, travelers can stay just minutes from festival activities while enjoying hotel rates that average 20 percent less than those in downtown Washington, D.C.

Skip the Crowds

It definitely can get crowded around the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin in D.C., the most well-known area for viewing the capital’s cherry blossoms. Staying in Arlington, you can easily venture back and forth from festival events, and even catch glimpses of the Tidal Basin from sites like Gravelly Point.

Yes, you can enjoy all the fun of being amidst the lovely puffs of white and pink giving the area its unforgettable look without the crowds:

  • Stroll or bike along the Arlington and Alexandria banks of the Potomac River on the Mount Vernon Trail.
  • View blooming trees.
  • Even catch a glimpse of those famous cherry blossoms across the river.

Better yet – explore Arlington outdoors by connecting to the “Arlington Loop,” a trail route created by Bike Arlington that provides a map connecting four regional trails.

  • If you need a bicycle, stop by any of the 92 Capital BikeShare stations found throughout Arlington and purchase a day pass.
  • Another opportunity for some outdoor adventure is exploring deep in the woods of Potomac Overlook Regional Park, with 70 acres of woods, trails and educational gardens.
  • For the off-the-beaten-path view of the cherry blossom trees, head to Arlington National Cemetery.
kites flown during the Blossom Kite Festival
Blossom Kite Festival

Bloom Watch

Peak bloom happens on average on April 4 and can last up to two weeks depending on weather.

The National Park Service’s Bloom Watch tracks how the buds are doing on the way to bloom, and they are blooming earlier and earlier each year due to climate change, according to the National Park Service and research by the Smithsonian Institution.

Author: Kathleen Murphy