Cherry Blossom Festival 2018: Your Essential Guide to Blooms, Parades and More

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival has begun! The Yoshino cherry trees reached the green bud stage at the end of February, marking the beginning of cherry blossom fever. Peak bloom is projected for April, but you can already enjoy the blooms.

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People take pictures of blooming Cherry Blossoms, March 24, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
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From April 8 to 12, the National Park Service expects the cherry blossoms to be fully laden with petals, a time known as peak bloom. Once peak bloom begins, expect large crowds flocking to the Tidal Basin, the quintessential place to see hundreds of trees blossoming near the monuments to Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr.
Founders Park in Alexandria, Anacostia Park, the U.S. National Arboretum and Kenwood, Maryland top News4’s picks for places to enjoy the spring flora without the massive crowds. Check out our full list here.
Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar
The spectacular Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar is open in Shaw now through April 29. Each of the bar’s rooms features a special decorative theme, including a floral room with a thousand monarch butterflies, a pagoda-style bar with thousands of paper cranes, and a space occupied by a 10-foot Godzilla robot.
The pop-up bar will serve a variety of Japanese-inspired drinks, including the Chu-Hi, pictured above, which is a mix of shochu, manzanilla sherry, rice orgeat, lemon with sparkling water served with an citrus Rice Krispies treat.
K Summerer for Visit Alexandria
Several companies offer tours of the cherry blossoms from the Potomac River: You can take a water taxi (April 2-13, starting at $17), the Spirit of Washington (March 20-April 15, starting at $51.90) or the Odyssey (March 20-April 15, starting at $61.90). All are offering cherry blossom tours this spring. You can also rent paddle boats at the Tidal Basin (March 15 through September, starting at $18 per hour).
Surround yourself in virtual cherry blossoms at the new ARTECHOUSE exhibit in Southwest D.C. Check out NBC Washington's first look here.
District Doughnut/Dolci Gelati/Sherry Delaney
Spring isn't just pretty -- it's also yummy. With cherry blossom-inspired food and drink specials, plus plenty of sweet treats, the D.C. area is ready to celebrate the season. Check out these delicious seasonal treats from some of D.C.'s top establishments.
Sarah Pixley
Bring your kite — or just your eyes — to the National Mall as the skies are filled with dozens of kites during the Blossom Kite Festival on March 31. Anyone can participate, and the festival will even have a kite-making station for kids (while supplies last) alongside kite battles, demonstrations and competitions. The festival goes from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Washington Monument.
Third Eye Blind, Bush and The Lovely Band are headed to Anthem for a blossom-themed night of music during April 6's Blossom Bash.
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Formerly the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Petalpalooza offers a day of interactive art, games, live music and a huge fireworks display will be hosted on The Wharf from 1 to 9:30 p.m. The festival is free to attend.
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Marching bands, dancers, floats, helium balloons and an extreme pogo stunt team will make up the Cherry Blossom Parade on Saturday, April 14 at 10 a.m. The parade runs along Constitution Avenue from 7th Street NW to 17th Street NW. You can buy a grandstand seating ticket starting at $20, or watch between 9th and 15th Streets for free.
Sarah Pixley
This street festival is the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S., according to the Cherry Blossom Festival organizers. After the Cherry Blossom Parade, entertain yourself from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with four stages of programming, arts vendors and food booths. Anyone over 13 needs a $10 ticket to get in, which you can buy in advance.
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