National Cherry Blossom Festival 2024


Wed Mar 20 2024 at 10:00 am to Sun Apr 14 2024 at 06:00 pm


Washington | Washington, DC


The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of Washington’s most popular tourist attractions drawing around 1.5 million visitors for three weeks of street parties concerts family activities and days to go fly a kite. And of course the chance to see the fluffy pink and white petals that turn the trees around the Tidal Basin and the Washington Monument into a dazzling floral display reminding us that winter is over and brighter days are on the way.

After an unusually warm winter, both The Post’s Capital Weather Gang and the National Park Service predict the blossoms will be at their peak during the third full week of March, just as the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins.

The best time to come to the festival?

The festival’s prime time is known as “peak bloom,” when the Yoshino cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, in West Potomac Park, and on the Washington Monument grounds are at their most colorful and alluring. But that burst of color typically lasts a week to 10 days, while the festival stretches to more than three weeks. The dilemma for festival organizers is that peak bloom changes every year, due to weather, making it tough to coordinate events and blooming times months in advance. Instead, the festival hedges its bets by scheduling a different “signature event” each weekend, alongside numerous smaller (but still compelling) happenings. Here are the key dates to know; more information on these events can be found at

March 23-April 7: The National Park Service’s Tidal Basin Welcome Area, located on West Basin Drive near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials, kicks off the festival. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through April 7, with more than 100 music and dance performances on the ANA Stage, tours led by park rangers, food and souvenir stands, activities for kids, and even guided evening “lantern walks.” (Bring your own flashlight.)

March 23: The annual opening ceremony concert at the Warner Theatre includes Japanese pop singer Naotaro Moriyama, a dance piece choreographed by Jo Kanamori of Noism Company Niigata and a performance by composer Kaoru Watanabe. Tickets are sold out, but the performance will be live-streamed on the Cherry Blossom Festival’s YouTube page from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

March 29: Cherry Night features DJs, cocktails and cherry-blossom-themed fun at D.C. restaurants and bars. RSVPs are required. (See below for more information.)

March 30: The Blossom Kite Festival brings a dazzling array of kites and master kite fliers to the Washington Monument grounds between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Grab a kite kit to decorate before you fly, and pair the kites with Sakura Taiko Fest, a day of traditional Japanese drumming at the Sylvan Theater.

April 6: Live music, art installations, hands-on family activities and a beer garden are highlights of the annual Petalpalooza along the Capitol Riverfront near the Navy Yard. The event runs from 1 to 9 p.m. and is capped with a fireworks display at 8:30.

April 13: Mickey and Minnie Mouse are the grand marshals of the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, which fills Constitution Avenue NW with marching bands, floats and entertainment between 10 a.m. and noon. The Sugarhill Gang and “American Idol” finalist Colin Strough are among the performers. Viewing the parade from the sidewalk is free, though grandstand tickets are available for purchase.

April 13-14: The Sakura Matsuri Japanese street festival expanded from one day to two in 2022 to celebrate its 60th anniversary, and the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. is keeping the expanded format for at least another year. The festival includes multiple stages on Pennsylvania Avenue for music and martial arts performances, a traditional marketplace, food and drink vendors, pavilions dedicated to topics such as technology and the regions of Japan, and hands-on cultural exhibits.

When will the blossoms really be in bloom?

The National Park Service defines “peak bloom” as the period when at least 70 percent of the Tidal Basin’s cherry trees have blossomed, creating fluffy clouds of flowers perfect for photos and paintings. Due to a mild winter, the Park Service says the trees never entered their dormant stage, leading to a predicted peak bloom of March 23 to 26, while warning that dates could shift depending on the weather. The Post’s Capital Weather Gang, which makes its projections independently, forecast that the peak will be between March 19 and 23. Either way, when the peak bloom arrives, the flowers usually last around a week, though weather — heavy rains, a freeze or mild temperatures — can lengthen or shorten that viewing period.

Over the past 30 years, the average peak bloom has been March 31, according to the Capital Weather Gang.

When is the best time to see the blossoms in person?

The narrow paths around the trees at the Tidal Basin can become extremely crowded during and just after peak bloom — and basically any weekend throughout the festival. If you want to see the blossoms in all their glory — or have a shot at getting your new profile photo without hordes of people in the background — the best times to visit are early in the morning, when joggers seem to outnumber tourists, and in late-afternoon twilight. Just be warned that footpaths can be trickier to navigate during high tide, when they’re inundated with water, especially around the Roosevelt Memorial.


Where is it happening?

Washington, United States

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Event Guide in United States

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