UPDATE: You may now access the Cherry Blossom festival virtually. Here’s the link.
The National Park Service predicts that the peak blooms will be from March 27 – 30, but there are others predicting peak blooms to start as early as this weekend. They ARE a sight to see as they cover the Tidal Basin in a crown of soft white and pinkish hues.
This year with all the shutdowns and closures due to COVID-19, many events related to the Cherry Blossoms have been canceled. Although the Tidal Basin is technically open to the public, “caution” is still the word as to whether we should go down to visit or not. If you are feeling anxious about whether to step outside or not, here’s an article for you to read on it.
The following are some suggestions on how to view the cherry blossoms this year:
- Do a drive-by – With many offices and schools closed, traffic might actually not be too bad to make that trip downtown by car if you really want to get a look-see. Seeing beyond the four walls of your home may also be good for your sanity.
- U.S. National Arboretum – Way more spacious (perfect for social distancing), the grounds and the outdoor gardens are still open so take advantage of the fresh air and scenic views that only 1,000 cherry trees in their full bloom can offer.
- East Potomac Park (Ohio Dr. SW, Washington, DC)- As of this writing, the park is still open to the public and also features many of DC’s famous cherry trees. Catch a glimpse of these blossoms here as an alternative. Located south of Independence Avenue and the Tidal Basin, it also offers 320 free parking spaces. It is open 24 hours. Just remember to keep your distance.
- Kenwood Cherry Blossoms (Bethesda, MD)- Drive under the blossoms of the cherry tree-lined streets (you can’t stop and park on this street!). But you can park elsewhere and take a quick stroll and photo opp. One other post I read recommends Landy Street for parking. One other advantage is, if you missed the Tidal Basin blooms, the ones on Kenwood bloom a few
- Stanton Park (C Street between 4th and 6th Streets, DC) – This little pocket of nature amidst the buildings and offices that mark DC is a little oasis of cherry blossoms blooming. Enjoy a quiet stroll for your lunch break (if you still have to work downtown) and gaze at the Revolutionary War hero’s statue framed by the blossoms.
- Brookside Gardens (Wheaton, MD) – Though indoor facilities are closed, so far, the trails are open. You can view the 30+ cherry trees that are planted here and make sure to practice your social distancing skills.
- Van Gogh Bridge on the Green Trail (Town Center to Lake Anne, Reston, VA) – Though they don’t have as many trees planted here, the scenery is picturesque enough to warrant a visit. Here’s a map of the trail to show you where the bridge is.
- Alexander Bell Drive (Reston, VA) – Office park (just block out the buildings) houses some of the beautiful blooms outside of DC
As always, please exercise best practices in social distancing. If you’re still not so inclined to head out, you could watch the BloomCam instead..
Here’s the National Recreation and Parks Association’s official guide to Social Distancing on the trails which I hope we can all find helpful or share this post with someone who can benefit from the information.
Places mentioned on this page are open as of the time of posting. Always check the park’s websites should there be any last-minute changes and closures.