One of my absolute favorite parts of DC spring is the annual cherry blossom bloom. It’s one of those quintessential experiences that you just can’t miss. This year, the National Park Service predicts peak bloom for the cherry blossoms will take place from March 22-25, 2022. Peak bloom is the best time within the two-week blooming period to view the famous Yoshino cherry trees. Approximately 70% are expected to be open at that time. It’s a truly magical experience. Since moving to Maryland in 2012, I have visited the Tidal Basin several times during peak bloom, so I wanted to share my favorite DC cherry blossoms tips and tricks to make your experience as easy as possible.
Go early. Before sunrise early. This is the most important tip I can give you. I live about an hour away from DC. I can tell you it’s not exactly a fun experience to drag myself out to bed before sunrise to drive into the District, fight for parking, and walk over to the Tidal Basin all before I’ve really opened my eyes. But it’s so worth it. The sun comes up just over the Jefferson Memorial and it’s breathtaking. For any photography buffs, you know golden hour makes for the best lighting and the color palette in the early spring is spectacular.
Bring your tripod and a variety of lenses. This one probably goes without saying but I wanted to mention it anyway. I always have fun with my macro lens in particular. This year I’m hoping to set up a timelapse on either my phone or my little Canon M50. Can you tell I’m already so excited?
Take a walk. I love strolling around the Tidal Basin as the sun comes up admiring the blooms from all angles. They are particularly beautiful around the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. We usually end up making a full day of soaking in the gorgeous blooms.
Dress for the weather. Spring in the DMV is the most annoyingly unpredictable weather in the world. I would suggest layers, and if you’re going for the classic “spring dress in the cherry trees” photo make sure you have a warm sweater or jacket to bundle up in after you get the perfect shot. Trust me. I made the mistake last year. Never again.
Stay tuned for peak bloom updates. Peak bloom is currently predicted for March 22-25, 2022. However, there are tons of factors that may shift these dates earlier or later. Stay tuned to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Bloom Watch for the most current information.
Seek alternatives. While the Tidal Basin is the favorite place to view the blooms, it can get extremely busy with crowds. There are plenty of other gorgeous blooms around DC that are often less busy. A few of my favorites are the Washington Monument Grounds, Dumbarton Oaks/Georgetown, East Potomac Park, the National Arboretum, Oxon Run Park, and charming Alexandria, Virginia. There’s also the fully virtual #BloomCam if you aren’t able or willing to make the trip into DC.
This year the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held from March 20-April 17. The theme this year is Rediscover Spring and marks a return to in-person activities for the first time since 2019. This year is also the 110th anniversary of the gift of trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to Washington, DC. The four-week festival includes events such as the opening ceremony, blossom kite festival, and the parade.
Happy peak bloom 2022 everyone! I hope these tips are helpful as you plan your trip to witness one of the most beautiful times of year in our nation’s capital.