It’s that time of year again. The days are longer, the birds are chirping and the Washington, D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival is almost upon us. This is a favorite season for almost all Washingtonians, but it’s also the beginning of a busy tourist season. The cherry blossoms are great, but the moment is diluted when sharing it with 10,000 of your closest friends. Here are three ways to get the cherry blossom experience without going crazy in the tourist frenzy.
Jump in the River
Ok, well not literally as that may result in the production of multiple limbs, but my favorite way of seeing D.C. is from the water, especially during the cherry blossom bloom. DC Cruises offers a 60 minute cruise that leaves from Washington Marina, a quick walk from the Tidal Basin as well as the Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stops. The cruise takes the guest on a route around Hains Point, providing gorgeous views of the cherry blossoms from every vantage point. So sit back, relax and enjoy the evening adventure.
It’s true that the tidal basin is the more impressive display of cherry blossoms in Washington, but it’s not the only place to find these gorgeous trees. One the best displays isn’t actually in the District, it’s found in the Kenwood neighborhood of nearby Bethesda, Maryland. This posh neighborhood is home to two, five kilometer routes that provide stunning views of not only the blossoms, but many other flowering trees and plants as well. If you want to stay in the city, then head over to Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. Keep in mind though that there is an $8 entrance fee and parking is never easy in Georgetown. Finally, Stanton Park is one of the many green spaces found in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The park, named for President Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, has four acres rimmed by cherry trees, the perfect alternative to the madness at the Tidal Basin.
Ok, ok, the Tidal Basin, but…
Alright, you got me, I admit that the best place is see the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms is actually at the Tidal Basin. BUT, do not go in the middle of the day. Or mid-morning. Or the gloaming. No, instead consider yourself well-informed and go there before dawn. I don’t think there is a more beautiful or magical moment in Washington than seeing the sun rise over the cherry blossoms. Pack a bagel, a thermos of coffee and sit there enjoying your own, private festival.
So there you have it, three ways to witness nature’s brilliance without having anyone step on your feet, shove you or accidentally spill their soda all over your shoes. While you’re enjoying the cherry blossoms, don’t forget about the many other monuments and memorials in the immediate area. My favorite is the FDR Memorial, a quick walk from the Tidal Basin.
For complete information on the Washington, DC Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as projected bloom times, please visit the official site.