Cherry Blossom Festival Tours
Overview of the Cherry Blossom Festival
This year marks the 100th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The original trees were a gift to the United States by Japan in 1912. They were planted by First Lady Mrs. William Howard Taft and the Viscountess Chinda of Japan. More than 3,700 cherry trees of several varieties bloom in Washington DC. They are found around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial, at East Potomac Park, and on the Washington Monument grounds. Make sure you take full advantage of the Festival, including visiting the Cherry Blossom Parade, watching the Fireworks, and just spending time viewing the beautiful trees.
How to See The Blossoms — Cherry Blossom Tours
The best way to see the Cherry Blossoms is to take the OnBoard DC It All! Tour. It is the only ticket you can buy that will show you the blossoms by both land and water. Included in the DC It All! Tour, (starting March 23) is a boat cruise on the Potomac. The boat will sail up the channel along East Potomac Park to show you the cherry blossoms from the best vantage point possible. You will also visit the Jefferson Memorial on the tour shuttle, and your guide will walk you around the Tidal Basin to see the fabulous trees in full bloom. Please bring extra memory cards for your camera, because you won’t believe the fantastic photo opportunities. Reserve your seats for the DC It All! Tour here.
3-Hour Cherry Blossom Tour – OnBoard Tours also offers a quick Cherry Blossom Tour called the DC The Blossoms! Tour. This is a 3-hour tour that will take you to see the cherry blossoms around the tidal basin but also take you to Lower Senate Park next to the US Capitol to see the beautiful white pear blossoms that fill that park. We also stop at the White House. During your walk, you’ll see the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the World War II Memorial. Check it out at cherry blossom tour.
Cherry Blossom Blooming Schedule
National Park Service horticulturists predict the peak bloom for the Yoshino cherry trees around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park each year. The predictions come out on March 1. Normally, the peak bloom is the last day of March or one of the first days in April. The “peak bloom” is defined as the period when 70% of the blooms are open. Because of this winter’s weather patterns, OnBoard believes that the blossoms will start opening on March 28 and will run through approximately April 15th. If you take the DC It All! or DC The Blossoms! Tour at the beginning or end of that period, you should expect to see fewer blooms, and you run the risk of there not being any blooms at all. Unfortunately, we cannot control mother nature for sometimes she has her own plan that does not take into account the interests of DC visitors.
On April 7th, a spectacular fireworks display will take place over the water at 8:30pm. The festivities start at 5:00pm with the prelude to the fireworks, including musical performances, kids craft activities, cuisine from local restaurants, and more. We suggest that you sign up for the DC The Lights! Tour on April 7th. In addition to seeing DC’s monuments lit up at night, our guide will take you to a strategic location to view the fireworks in the middle of the tour.
Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
The Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony will be on March 25 from 4:00pm to 6:30pm. You should go to the Opening Ceremonies, and then take the DC The Lights! Tour!
Cherry Blossom Kite Festival
The Cherry Blossom Kites Festival is on March 31. Check out all the kites on the National Mall that day!
The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
The Parade of the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins at 10am on Saturday, April 14. The Parade marches along historic Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets, NW. Tickets are $20 each, and may be purchased through Ticketmaster. Call (800) 745-3000.
The parade is a wonderful event for children of all ages. It includes:
* Dance and drumming performance teams from Japan and the United States highlight the art of taiko drumming.
* Cherry blossom queens from the US and Japan add royalty to the procession.
* The National Cherry Blossom Festival® All-StarTap Dance Team and Youth Choir entertain with sensational musical numbers for eager audiences.
* Giant balloons, floats, horses, antiquecars, clowns and mascots all add to the merriment on parade morning.