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The National Cherry Blossom Festival is planned to coincide as nearly as possible with the blooming of the trees. Peak Bloom Date is defined as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees are open. The date when the Yoshino cherry blossoms reach peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions. The mean date of blooming is April 4, but nature is not always cooperative and the National Park Service horticulturists cannot make an accurate prediction much more than 10 days prior. The blooming period starts several days before the Peak Bloom Date and can last as long as 14 days; however, frost or high temperatures combined with wind and/or rain can shorten this period.
Anytime is a good time to see the blossoms. However, visitors should be prepared for heavier crowds on weekends and when the trees reach their peak blooming period. There is no guarantee, but there are often fewer people during the week, early in the morning, and in late afternoon/early evening.
For the most part, the care of the Japanese flowering cherries has been entrusted to the members of the Tree Crew for National Capital Parks-Central. These individuals are professional arborists with technical competence through experience and related training to provide for the care of the trees.
- As hard as members of the Tree Crew work year round, there are things you can do to assist in the maintenance and longevity of the trees when you visit:
- Please do not climb the trees or pick branches.
Be aware of walking around the roots of the trees as ground compaction causes damage to the trees.
Check out our Visitor Information page to download helpful documents that advise you on how to drive, bike, and walk to the Tidal Basin.
The Festival website has the most current information available and is constantly being updated. If you would like a printed version of the Calendar of Events, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request to: National Cherry Blossom Festival, 1275 K Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005. The current year’s calendar of events is available in late February each year.
You can also retrieve Festival information once in Washington by visiting Festival information centers. There is a Welcome Area located on the southern grounds of the Washington Monument, and an Information Kiosk located on the west side of the Jefferson Memorial. There is also an official Festival Headquarters at Union Station with information and official merchandise.
The Festival partners with numerous Washington, DC hotels that are located both within the District and the surrounding areas, providing visitors with numerous options and deals when selecting where to stay during your trip. View the list of participating hotels.
To get more information about Washington, DC while planning your trip, see the Visitor Information page, or call the Festival Hotline at (877) 44BLOOM to address specific questions regarding information on area airports, recommended hotels, etc.
The 2020 Festival will be held March 20 through April 13, with the Parade on Saturday, April 4, 2020.
The 2021 Festival will be held March 20 through April 11, with the Parade on Saturday, April 10, 2021.
The cherry blossom trees currently grow in three National Park Service locations: around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park (Hains Point), and on the Washington Monument grounds. For information on varieties of cherry blossom trees and park maps, see the National Park Service cherry blossom page.
For led tours, there are several options. Here’s a complete list of cherry blossom-specific tours.
The National Park Service and the National Cherry Blossom Festival publish a pamphlet for visitors to use on a self-guided tour. This map can be picked up at the Information Stations located on the north side of the Tidal Basin (grounds of the Washington Monument) and the south side of the Tidal Basin (adjacent to the Jefferson Memorial), which are in place throughout the Festival.
The National Park Service has a limited supply of wheelchairs available for rent at no charge. Wheelchairs may be checked out from either the World War II Memorial or the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Visitors can sign out an available wheelchair on a first-come first-served basis by leaving a form of ID (i.e., drivers license) but wheelchairs must remain at that memorial site. They are not permitted around the mall. Upon return of the wheelchair, the ID will be returned.
Dogs are allowed on the National Mall and Memorial Parks but the owner must keep the dog on a leash 100% of the time. Never is an owner allowed to let a dog run freely in any of these locations. Also the owners are NEVER allowed to let the dog “go to the bathroom” in the Reflecting Pool or in the pool at the World War II Memorial. The National Park Service has had and continues to have problems in this regard and are making their best attempts to educate the public. For more pet friendly info click here!
Please call the Office of Park Programs/Permits Office at (202) 245-4715. Large picnics can only be held at Hains Point and a permit is only required from Memorial Day through Labor Day. All other times are on a first-come first-served basis.
An approved Special Use Permit application is required to have wedding ceremonies on or near the National Mall. Advise the office personnel that you would like to apply for a permit to have a wedding ceremony. A Special Use Permit application can be picked up or faxed to you. Completed applications should be mailed to the Office of Parks Programs. An application fee may be required for this permit. There are certain site locations in and along the National Mall where wedding ceremonies are allowed. Please ask for available site locations and required fees. The Office of Park Programs will help you find a location for your wedding so that it does not interfere with other groups who already have a permit.
The Festival features creative and diverse activities that promote traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and the environment, and community spirit and youth education, the majority of which are free and open to the public. Signature Festival events include the Opening Ceremony, the Blossom Kite Festival, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®. There are over 150 daily cultural performances by local, national and international entertainers, sports competitions, and so much more. Browse the Events page by category or date for event listings and additional information.
Many Festival events are FREE and open to the public. However, there are a few exceptions. Browse the Events page for listings and to see which events have admissions fees.
There are many different ways you can get involved with the Festival through performing and visual arts. For more information on our Sing into Spring vocal competition and other performing arts and design opportunities, go to https://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/get-involved