National Mall

National Mall

National Cherry Blossom Festival

In 1912, more than 3,000 cherry trees were donated in the name of the City of Tokyo to our Nation’s Capital. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week event that celebrates springtime in Washington, D.C. as well as the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan.

Cherry Tree Locations 

The cherry trees currently grow in three park locations: around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park and on the Washington Monument grounds.

Peak Bloom Date

The peak bloom date is defined as the day in which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino Cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are open. The date when the Yoshino cherry blossoms reach peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions. Cherry Blossom Festival dates are set based on the average date of blooming (April 4), but nature is not always cooperative. Unseasonably warm and/or cool temperatures have resulted in the trees reaching peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958).

Blooming Period

The bloom period is defined as a period that starts when 20 percent of the blossoms are open and ends when the petals fall and the leaves appear. 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.

Ranger-Guided Lantern Walks

Join a park ranger at 8 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, to learn more about the cherry trees. Guided by the light of festive lanterns, a ranger will lead you on a walk around the Tidal Basin. Lantern walks leave from the National Park Service Welcome Tent located at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area and from the Washington Monument Ticket Lodge.

Bloomin’ Junior Ranger Activities

Join Park Rangers at the Bloomin’ Junior Ranger Tent, located at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Hands-on activities include games, projects and puzzles that teach children about the Japanese cherry trees.

Ranger Led Bike Tours

If you want to enjoy the cherry blossoms on a bike, then join park rangers every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for guided bike tours of the Nation’s Capital. Participants must provide their own bike, helmet and water. All tours begin at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial parking lot. The bike tour season begins during the National Cherry Blossom Festival and continues through the last Sunday of November.

Cherry Chit-Chat Runs

If you’re interested in a more fast-paced exploration of the National Mall and the cherry blossoms, please join Park Rangers for Cherry Chit-Chat Runs. The tour is a morning run around the National Mall with a few stops to highlight the history, beauty and culture of the cherry blossoms. While the exact routes and stops along the tour may vary by day, please be prepared for a distance of up to three miles at a good running pace. Runs begin at the base of the Washington Monument at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings during the festival.

Family Fun Zone

Join park rangers on weekends from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. to enjoy fun and educational activities in the shadow of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Kids of all ages can learn to write Japanese words and letters and create their own expression of the cherry blossoms. The Family Fun Zone is located in the big white tent at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.