Frequently Asked Questions
- When will the cherry blossom trees bloom?
- I want to see the cherry blossoms when they are in bloom. Which days should I plan my visit?
- When is the best time to see the cherry blossoms?
- Where are the cherry blossom trees located?
- How do I get to the Tidal Basin?
- Are there any tours (led or self-guided) to see the cherry blossom trees?
- Are there wheelchairs available for rent at the Tidal Basin?
- Can I bring my dog with me to the Tidal Basin?
- What else should I know about the cherry blossom trees?
- I want to hold a large picnic or wedding under the cherry blossom trees. What do I need to do?
- Who can I contact for specific cherry blossom tree questions or questions about National Park Service property?
- What is the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
- What sorts of events occur during the Festival?
- Where does the Festival take place?
- Are tickets required to attend the Festival?
- How can I get more information about the Festival?
- Where should I stay for the Festival?
- How can I get more information about Washington, DC or assistance in planning my trip?
- How do I get into contact with the Festival organization to address specific questions?
- What are the future dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
- How can I volunteer to help the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
- What performance opportunities are there at the Festival?
- How do I get in contact with the Festival organization regarding sponsorship or promotional opportunities?
- How do I get in contact with the Festival organization regarding vending opportunities?
QUESTIONS ABOUT CHERRY BLOSSOMS
When will the cherry blossom trees bloom?
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is planned to coincide as nearly as possible with the blooming of the trees. Peak Bloom Date is defined as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees are open. The date when the Yoshino cherry blossoms reach peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions. The mean date of blooming is April 4, but nature is not always cooperative and the National Park Service horticulturists cannot make an accurate prediction much more than 10 days prior. The blooming period starts several days before the Peak Bloom Date and can last as long as 14 days; however, frost or high temperatures combined with wind and/or rain can shorten this period. See more information about the blooming period.
I want to see the cherry blossoms when they are in bloom. Which days should I plan my visit?
Since a close-to-accurate prediction of the blooming period cannot be made until early March each year, the Festival advises that you take stock of the other activities you want to engage in during your visit. For example, if attending the Parade and Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival are a priority, plan your visit for that weekend of the Festival. Fill your itinerary with all you want to see in Washington, DC and do at the Festival; and include walking around the Tidal Basin among them.
The various stages of bloom on the trees are wonderful each in their own way, from the vivid pink of the buds about to burst, to the softer pink of the blossoms on the trees, to the snowy white environment of the petals falling off the trees. So no matter when you visit Washington, DC during cherry blossom season, you’ll see something memorable happening at the Tidal Basin.
When is the best time of day to see the cherry blossoms?
Anytime is a good time to see the blossoms. However, visitors should be prepared for heavier crowds on weekends and when the trees reach their peak blooming period. There is no guarantee, but there are often fewer people during the week, early in the morning, and in late afternoon/early evening.
Where are the cherry blossom trees located?
The cherry blossom trees currently grow in three National Park Service locations: around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park (Hains Point), and on the Washington Monument grounds. For information on which varieties of cherry blossom trees are located in which park and maps, see the National Park Service cherry blossom page.
How do I get to the Tidal Basin?
Visit our Visitor Information page to download helpful documents that advise you on how to drive, bike, and walk to the Tidal Basin.
Are there any tours (led or self-guided) to see the cherry blossom trees?
For led tours, there are several options. Here’s a complete list of cherry blossom-specific tours.
The National Park Service and the National Cherry Blossom Festival publish a pamphlet for visitors to use on a self-guided tour. This map can be picked up at the Information Stations located on the north side of the Tidal Basin (grounds of the Washington Monument) and the south side of the Tidal Basin (adjacent to the Jefferson Memorial), which are in place throughout the Festival.
Are there wheelchairs available for rent at the Tidal Basin?
The National Park Service has a limited supply of wheelchairs available for rent at no charge. Wheelchairs may be checked out from either the World War II Memorial or the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Visitors can sign out an available wheelchair on a first-come first-served basis by leaving a form of ID (i.e., drivers license) but wheelchairs must remain at that memorial site. They are not permitted around the mall. Upon return of the wheelchair, the ID will be returned.
Can I bring my dog with me to the Tidal Basin?
Dogs are allowed on the National Mall and Memorial Parks but the owner must keep the dog on a leash 100% of the time. Never is an owner allowed to let a dog run freely in any of these locations. Also the owners are NEVER allowed to let the dog “go to the bathroom” in the Reflecting Pool or in the pool at the World War II Memorial. The National Park Service has had and continues to have problems in this regard and are making best attempts at educating the public.
What else should I know about the cherry blossom trees?
The plantings of the cherry blossom trees originated as a gift in 1912 from the people of Japan to the United States as gesture of friendship and goodwill. Since then, the number of trees has expanded to approximately 3,750 trees of 16 varieties on National Park Service land.
For the most part, the care of the Japanese flowering cherries has been entrusted to the members of the Tree Crew for National Capital Parks-Central. These individuals are professional arborists who posses technical competence through experience and related training to provide for the care of the trees.
As hard as members of the Tree Crew work year round, there are things you can do to assist in the maintenance and longevity of the trees when you visit:
*Please do not climb the trees or pick branches.
*Be aware of walking around the roots of the trees as ground compaction causes damage to the trees.
I want to hold a large picnic or wedding under the cherry blossom trees. What do I need to do?
Please call the Office of Park Programs/Permits Office at (202) 619-7225. Large picnics can only be held at Hains Point and a permit is only required from Memorial Day through Labor Day. All other times are on a first-come first-served basis.
An approved Special Use Permit application is required to have wedding ceremonies on or near the National Mall. Advise the office personnel that you would like to apply for a permit to have a wedding ceremony. A Special Use Permit application can be picked up or faxed to you. Completed applications should be mailed to the Office of Parks Programs, at the address on the application, or faxed to (202) 401-2430. An application fee may be required for this permit. There are certain site locations in and along the National Mall where wedding ceremonies are allowed. Please ask for available site locations and required fees. The Office of Park Programs will help you find a location for your wedding so that it does not interfere with other groups who already have a permit.
Who can I contact for specific cherry blossom tree questions or questions about National Park Service property?
Send an e-mail to the National Capital Region Public Affairs Office or call (202) 619-7222.
What is the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is Washington, DC’s and the nation’s greatest springtime celebration that annually celebrates the gift of the cherry blossom trees and their symbol of enduring friendship between the citizens of Japan and the United States. Timed in conjunction with the peak blooming period of the trees, the city-wide event attracts visitors and area residents to hundreds of events in partnership with more than 30 local organizations.
The Festival is organized by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the beauty of nature and international friendship through year-round programs, events, and educational initiatives that enhance our environment, showcase arts and culture, and build community spirit.
What sorts of events occur during the Festival?
The Festival features creative and diverse activities that promote traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and the environment, and community spirit and youth education, the majority of which are free and open to the public. Signature Festival events include the Opening Ceremony, the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®. There are over 150 daily cultural performances by local, national and international entertainers, sports competitions, and so much more. Browse the Event section by category or date for event listings and additional information.
Where does the Festival take place?
Festival events and programs take place throughout Washington, DC and its suburbs. Browse the Event section for event listings and their locations.
Are tickets required to attend the Festival?
Many Festival events are FREE and open to the public. However, there are a few exceptions. Events that require paid admission are indicated with a Dollar Symbol ($) next to their listings. Browse the Events section for event listings and to see which events have admissions fees. .
How can I get more information about the Festival?
The Festival website has the most current information available and is constantly being updated. If you would like a printed version of the Calendar of Events, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request to: National Cherry Blossom Festival, 1250 H Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005. The current year’s calendar of events is available in late February each year.
You can also retrieve Festival information once in Washington by visiting Festival information centers. There is a Welcome Area located on the southern grounds of the Washington Monument, and Information Kiosk located on the west side of the Jefferson Memorial. There is also an official Festival Headquarters at Union Station with information and official merchandise.
NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL® HEADQUARTERS
AT UNION STATION
March 16 – April 15; 10 AM – 7 PM (Mon-Fri); 9:30 AM – 7 PM (Sat);
10 AM – 5 PM (Sun)
Where should I stay for the Festival?
The Festival partners with numerous Washington, DC hotels that are located both within the District and the surrounding areas, providing visitors with numerous options and deals when selecting where to stay during your trip. View the list of participating hotels.
How can I get more information about Washington, DC or assistance in planning my trip?
To get more information about Washington, DC while planning your trip, see the Visitor Information page, or call the Festival Hotline at (877) 44BLOOM to address specific questions regarding information on area airports, recommended hotels, etc.
How do I get in contact with the Festival organization to address specific questions?
E-mail or call the Festival Hotline at (877) 44BLOOM.
What are the future dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
2016: March 20 through April 17, with the Parade on Saturday, April 16.
2017: March 20 through April 16, with the Parade on Saturday, April 8.
2018: March 20 through April 15, with the Parade on Saturday, April 14.
How can I volunteer to help the National Cherry Blossom Festival?
What performance opportunities are there at the Festival?
There are numerous performance opportunities available during the Festival. Here’s more information about the opportunities and how to apply.
How do I get in contact with the Festival regarding sponsorship or promotional opportunities (including sampling)?
E-mail Emily Garber, Sponsorship & Marketing Associate, or call 202.638.8377.