Posts Tagged ‘Visitor tips’

Washington DC — By Jon Rochetti on March 1, 2010 at 6:33 am
Filed under: cherry blossom festival, Events, top ten, top-feature, Visitor tips

Top Ten Tips for DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival

The most anticipated event during Washington DC’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is the blooming of the Cherry Trees around the Tidal Basin and the National Mall.

Jefferson Memorial Cherry Blossoms Washington DC

Over the past two decades, peak blooming periods have ranged from as early as March 17th in 2000 to as late as April 11th in 1992.  Although the average peak blooming date is April 4th, that date is impacted by the length and severity of winter, along with the amounts of local rain and area temperatures during February and March.

Usually, the cherry trees remain in full bloom for about 2 weeks, but seasonal rains, strong winds or even a late frost can shorten the viewing period.

The Cherry Blossom Festival publishes  on their Bloom Watch site, the cherry tree’s anticipated blooming date, based on the stage of the buds on the trees.

Washington Monument Cherry Blossoms Washington DC I recommend that if you want to see the cherry trees in their full bloom, you  should attend as early as possible once the colorful blooms are open.  Strong winds can reduced the viewing period to less than the usual two weeks and  only one weekend.

Here’s my Top Ten  tips for visiting the annual explosion of color of the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival:

  1. Dress in layers – temperatures can range from the upper 30s to the low 70s.
  2. Bring your camera (and an extra battery) as this is one of DC’s best photo ops and you’ll probably take more photos than you anticipated.
  3. Visit on a weekday or after 5:00 p.m. because crowds are lighter and parking is much easier.
  4. If visiting on the peak weekend(s), try to use Metro, as traffic in the area is extremely heavy and parking can be very challenging anywhere near the Tidal Basin.
  5. If the weather is cold, still plan on attending as the blossoms will still be in bloom and very beautiful.
  6. For the best views, try to visit at least twice, once just as the buds are opening, as well as later.
  7. Some of the best photo sites are south of the Washington Monument along Independence Avenue with the monument in the background, along the Tidal Basin with the Jefferson Memorial  as the backdrop, and from the Kirtz Bridge on Independence Avenue looking toward the Jefferson.
  8. Early in the morning can be a great time for photos, as the rising sun offers some great lighting.
  9. The paddle boats available for rental in the Tidal Basin reopen on March 15th. You can reserve your paddle boat rental in advance for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
  10. The closest Metro subway station is Smithsonian (Blue & Orange  lines), about a two blocks from the Washington Memorial and about seven blocks from the Jefferson Memorial.

BONUS TIP:  Wear comfortable walking shoes.

And if you happen to capture a great photo of the cherry blossoms, send me a copy and I’ll publish the best photos I receive on PlanetEye Traveler in a Cherry Blossom photo recap post.

Images – from personal collection   ©2007  & 2010 Jon Rochetti

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