Things to Do DC

11 Key Dates and Can't-Miss Events for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC

Get in the spring spirit with these National Cherry Blossom Festival 2023 events in the D.C. area

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Spring is near and the cherry blossoms are getting closer and closer to peak bloom — which the National Park Service projects will fall close to March 22-25.

But the National Cherry Blossom Festival brings an entire month of bloom-filled celebrations, officially beginning on Monday, March 20 (AKA the spring equinox). No matter when you visit D.C. in March and April, you'll have a chance to enjoy cherry blossom season.

Check out these key dates and can't-miss events for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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Best Days to Visit the Cherry Blossoms: Peak Bloom in Late March

Peak bloom is when 70% of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are flowering. The exact date changes from year to year, depending on the weather. The National Park Service predicts this will occur about March 22-25.

Are the cherry trees worth visiting outside of peak bloom? Yes, especially in the days immediately before, when the blooms are at their puffy white stage.

Tidal Basin Welcome Area & ANA Stage — through April 2

On your way to stroll by the Tidal Basin blossoms, stop by the welcome area for merchandise shopping, refreshments, kids' activities, a pet comfort station and all the information you need to enjoy the trees.

The welcome area will also be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. located at West Basin Drive SW. During peak bloom, live performances will be featured on stage from 12 to 6 p.m.

Opening Ceremony — March 25

To commemorate the mayor of Tokyo giving D.C. 3,000 cherry trees in 1912, The National Cherry Blossom Festival’s signature opening ceremony features acclaimed artists with Japanese-American ties including Travis Japan, Anna Sato X Tashiyki Sasaki and Mika Stoltzman set to perform at the Warner Theatre. While tickets are currently sold out, sign up to the festival's email for news about the potential release of additional tickets and walk-up tickets.

All the performances will be shown on the festival's YouTube channel, @CherryBlossFest.

Blossom Kite Festival — March 26

One of the festival's most eye-catching and fun events brings hundreds of kite flyers to the Washington Monument grounds. All are welcome, no matter the experience level or age — you don't even need to own a kite. Buy your own kite on-site or pick up a free kite kit that you can decorate. The festival will feature activities, music, competitions and performances. Make sure to stop by the Sylvan Theatre for the Sakura Taiko Festival featuring traditional Japanese drumming.

Cherry Night — March 31

Put your pink on and party the night away at venues throwing cherry blossom-themed parties across D.C. Pick up tickets to Hook Hall's silent disco, a Nicki Minaj dance party at Wunder Garten or live music at VUE Rooftop. Most events are free to attend — but in D.C. during cherry blossom season, advance registration is always recommended.

Pink in the Park — April 1

This festival in Arlington features musical guests Crush Funk Brass, DJ Chan Don, Footwerk and Reesa Renee. Visitors can visit a beer and wine garden or food trucks, and pick up giveaways. The cherry blossom celebration will start at 3 p.m. and end at 7 p.m.

Looking for a fun family-friendly activity before the music festival? Enjoy a pool day at Long Bridge Aquatics Center with Pink in the Pool, a kids' event filled with activities like kite making and face painting. Special registration is required.

Credit Union Cherry Blossom 5K & 10 Mile — April 1 and 2

This event features four races: a 5K, a 100 miler, a kid's run and a virtual run. Proceeds from this event will go to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Petalpalooza — April 8

Enjoy a full day of live music, art and activities for free along the banks of the Anacostia River. At the Capitol Riverfront around The Yards and Navy Yard Metro, roam interactive art installations at Petlapalooza Art Walk and grab a drink from a cashless beverage garden. Finish off the evening at 8:30 with the Official National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show, which will be visible from the festival and Anacostia Park.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade — April 15

This parade showcases floats, helium balloons, marching bands and, of course, D.C.'s cherry blossoms. Performers include multi-platinum-selling group C+C Music Factory and Emmy Award-winning Carson Kressley. Individual tickets to enter the grandstands start at $25. It's free to watch along Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets.

Sakura Matsuri, Japanese Street Festival - April 15 and 16

Billed as is the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S., Sakra Matsuri is set to feature more than 24 hours of Japanese cultural performances. Performances range from J-pop, traditional music and martial arts. Highlights include a Matsuri Market with Japanese snacks, the Hakutsuru Sake Tasting Pavilion (pre-registration required), the Ginza Marketplace and culinary demonstrations.

Early birds can get a one-day ticket for $10 or two-day tickets for $15 through March 31. Then, ticket prices will increase to $12-$25.

Anacostia River Festival — May 20

Celebrate the ninth annual Anacostia River Festival. The event is family-friendly and will have plenty of outdoor activities, food and local performances. It's free and will run from 1 to 4 p.m.

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