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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.
This year’s festivities include:
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.
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 and 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.
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