UPDATE: The National Park Service announced that the Cherry Blossoms will reach peak bloom between March 19 and 22, 2017.
Although your Instagram may be making cherry blossoms seem very #ontrend, the yearly celebration began over one hundred years ago. The first ceremony took place on March 27, 1912 after the Mayor of Tokyo gifted Washington, D.C. with 3,000 cherry trees, two of which were planted during the ceremony. Every year since, Japan and the United States have exchanged gifts. Growing in popularity ever since, the festival now draws approximately 1.4 million people each year.
As residents of the District get ready for the influx of tourists and out-of-towners, we wanted to compile a list of tips, events, and must-dos for the upcoming season.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 15-April 16 with many events scattered throughout. The main event of the festival, the Parade, which is free for most areas, will happen on April 8th, from 10am until noon.
For the first time ever, the Newseum will be hosting “Newseum Night: In Bloom” a party on April 7 from 7:30pm until 10. This springtime party will include an open beer and wine bar, tasting of Sake, and samplings of Wolfgang Puck’s signature Asian dishes. Tickets range from $45-$75 and will include admission in addition to a ton of other activities, giveaways, and access to a few of their newest exhibits.
Another first, Dock 5 at Union Market will be transformed into a “multi-sensory experience celebrating Japanese culture.” This will include a night market, music stage, and art showcase, among other exciting events, that will transition the area into a Tokyo streetscape from 7pm until midnight on April 17.
With the overwhelming amount of people who walk, bike, and picnic along the Tidal Basin, we recommend heading down there after work (or before if you’re feeling up to it) to see the sunset or right after it has set. We’ve found that most people have left for the day and it’s especially beautiful to see the sun setting over the Jefferson memorial.
Don’t forget to click here for other Cherry Blossom related deals!