Visiting the famed cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., is worthy of anyone’s bucket list — and it doesn’t get better than visiting during peak bloom.
And peak bloom is here! The National Park Service made the big announcement at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Peak bloom — when 70% of the Yoshino cherry trees along the Tidal Basin are flowering — lasts for several days, but it's highly weather dependent, according to NPS.
Huge crowds of visitors turn out every year for the blooms and the National Cherry Blossom Festival — so you’ll want a plan.
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From transportation to timing your trip, here are some essential things to know.
Things to Do at the Tidal Basin
Most people opt to walk along the 2.1-mile Tidal Basin Loop Trail. There’s a welcome area with shopping, refreshments, kids' activities, a pet comfort station and all the information you need to enjoy the trees. During peak bloom, live performances will be featured on the ANA Stage from 12 to 6 p.m.
You can also rent a pedal boat — advance reservations are a good idea.
How Long Will Peak Bloom Last?
We'll start with the not-so-good news: Showers, rain and wind on Thursday, Friday and Saturday won’t be a friend of the blossoms, Litterst said. The Blossom Kite Festival and Sakura Taiko Festival were rescheduled to Sunday due to the weather.
The good news: The blossoms are still young, strong and holding on tight, Litterst said, noting rough weather would be more concerning further along during peak bloom.
So, you’re probably fine to visit on Sunday during better weather: sunshine and highs in the mid-60s. Here's the Storm Team4 forecast.
Parking Near the Tidal Basin
As our D.C. parking guide says, expect to battle gridlocked traffic and spend a long time looking for parking if you drive into D.C. for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Yes, there are 400 free parking spaces in Hains Point and metered parking near the Tidal Basin — but you would be extremely lucky to find a spot.
If driving is still your best option, here’s how to find a spot:
- Use an app like SpotHero to find a garage or lot close enough to walk, bike share or scooter to the Tidal Basin. Several lots can be found between 14th Street, Independence Avenue, Maine Avenue and 7th Street NW.
- Park at the Union Station garage and take the Circulator’s National Mall route.
- Drop your car at one of Metro’s parking garages or lots — they’re available at 48 stations and free on weekends.
Accessible parking is available at the Tidal Basin, plus at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, World War II, Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln, Korean War Veterans and Vietnam Veterans memorials, plus the Washington Monument, NPS says.
Metro Stations Near the Tidal Basin & Cherry Blossoms
Public transit is the best way to get to the Tidal Basin. You can purchase SmarTrip cards at Metro stations, or set up mobile pay.
Here are the Metro stations closest to the Tidal Basin:
- 🟠🔵⚪ The Smithsonian/National Mall station on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines is the closest Metro station to the Tidal Basin.
- 🟠🔵⚪🟡🟢 L’Enfant Plaza, served by the Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow and Green lines, is about 1 mile away from the Tidal Basin
- 🔴 The closest Red Line stations are Farragut North and Metro Center, about 1.2 miles away.
Metrobus is also an option — use Metro’s Trip Planner or Google Maps to plan your route.
Don’t sleep on The Circulator, either. It costs $1, and the National Mall route stops at all the tourist hot spots.
Bonus: How's Stumpy?
A scraggly looking tree on the southeast part of the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial, captured the hearts of D.C. residents in 2020. Three years later, “Stumpy” is still going strong.
Check out our full guide to cherry blossom season here, including:
- Where to See Cherry Blossoms in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Say Cheers to Cherry Blossom Food and Drink Specials in the DMV
- 11 Key Dates and Can't-Miss Events for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC
- Meet Stumpy, the Little Cherry Tree That Could
- Diplomats, Nematodes and a Travel Writer: How DC Got Its Famous Cherry Trees
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