You brave, brave people. Willing to fight with the crowds, stealthily seek ice cream vendors and stand to the right, for cryin' out loud! The District is smack-dab in the middle of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which means plenty of fun events, and plenty of traffic headaches.
WHAT TO DO:
Obviously, you want to see the gorgeous, blossom-y goodness all along the Tidal Basin -- although we know you'll never, ever pick them. Plenty of activities are going on this weekend, and everything's free unless where otherwise noted.
- Yoga on the Mall: Lululemon Athletica is trying to create a 1,000-person yoga class. Meet up by the Sylvan Theatre (15th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.) and bring your own mat -- Saturday, music 10:30 a.m., yoga 11 a.m.
- Southwest Waterfront Musical Prelude to the Fireworks (600 Water St. S.W.) -- Saturday, 5-8:30 p.m.
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show (7th Street and Maine Avenue S.W.) -- Saturday, 8:30-9 p.m.
- Lantern Lighting Ceremony at the Tidal Basin (Independence Avenue and 17th Street S.W.) -- Sunday, 2:30-4 p.m.
- Daily music, dance and performing artists at the Target Performance Stage at the Sylvan Theatre (15th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.); (see schedule here) -- Daily through April 11, noon
- Family Fun Zone near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial -- Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- If you're tired of the Tidal Basin chaos, try a tried-and-true secret for surreptitious blossom viewing: Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown (31st and R streets N.W.) has more than 10 acres of gardens and pathways lined with cherry blossom trees. During the spring, the gardens are open daily (except Mondays) from 2-6 p.m. Admission is $5-$8.
- Feel like a (short) trip? Try the Big Cherry Block Party in Downtown Silver Spring -- Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
- See the National Cherry Blossom Festival's complete list of events here.
WHAT TO EAT/DRINK:
Lots of local bars, bakeries and restaurants are dishing up cherry-inspired delights right now. Here;s just a few:
- Firefly (1310 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.) is offering the Blossom Fizz cocktail ($8), a lavender-infused green tea, shaken with elderflower liqueur and topped off with sparkling wine. Anything fizzy and/or sparkling suits the venue well, as the decor is meant to evoke a summer night and a sky dotted with (wait for it) fireflies.
- Ping Pong Dim Sum (900 7th St. N.W.) has created new drinks and menu items through the end of the cherry blossom festival on April 11. Choose from sour cherry and coconut bubble tea ($4), the Cherry Bellini (with Domaine Chandon Rosé and Morello cherry puree, $10) and cherry mousse with almond miso brittle ($5).
- Poste Brasserie (555 8th St. N.W.) is serving up the Arborist’s Delight ($11), a mix of 3000 Generations Sochu, Ron Cartavio Gold Rum, cherry preserves, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling wine.
- TenPenh (1001 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.) has a cherry blossom tasting menu that includes pan-seared scallops, Hudson Valley foie gras, and sea bass with cherry chutney. Oh... and a warm chocolate-chip cookie bar... with cherry-vanilla ice cream and warm ginger cherries. Yum much? The prix-fixe menu is $35, or $55 with beverage pairings.
- See a list of more blossom-themed goodies here.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Obviously, the Metro will be beyond chaotic this weekend. Metrorail has added additional eight-car trains into its mix, but here are a few tips:
- If possible, just skip the Smithsonian station. When crowds get intense, Metro closes it anyway, or uses it as only an entrance or exit. Instead, try Federal Triangle, Metro Center or L'Enfant Plaza (see Metro map here). Bonus: Many enterprising ice cream vendors set up along the way. And since you're walking, you have calories to spare.
- Try to avoid the weekend afternoon peak of 4 to 6 p.m.
- Metro is encouraging visitors to buy the $8.30 one-day Metrorail pass, which can be used all day on weekends.
- Consider taking the Circulator. We know, shocking! The routes that'll most help blossom viewers are the Smithsonian - National Gallery of Art line (Constitution and Independence avenues, both clockwise and counter-clockwise) and the Convention Center - SW Waterfront line (Northbound along 9th and 7th streets N.W./S.W. and Southbound along 7th Street N.W.).
- For all that is good and true in the world... if you're a visitor to D.C., stand to the right on Metro escalators. The left is for walking.
Happy blossom viewing, and remember, stand to the right! When it's all said and done, e-mail your blossom pics to email@example.com.