The Best Time to View D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms This Year Is Sooner Than You Might Think

The city’s iconic flowers normally bloom in late March or early April—here’s when the National Park Service predicts they’ll be at their fullest in 2023.

Branch of blooming cherry tree in D.C.

Peak bloom is expected the last week of March in Washington, D.C. this year.

Photo by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

The National Park Service (NPS) has forecast that Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms will reach peak bloom—when 70 percent of the flowers are open—between March 22–25, 2023. Although blossoms will start to open before then, the second to last week of March is predicted to be the best time to see the flowers at their fullest this year.

Peak bloom typically happens in Washington, D.C. around the last week of March and the first week of April. In 2022, peak bloom happened on March 25 (right around the original March 23–25 prediction) and on March 28 in 2021.

When is the National Cherry Blossom Festival?

The National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place between March 18 and April 16 and will commemorate the 111th anniversary of the Mayor of Tokyo gifting the iconic trees to Washington, D.C.

Highlights of the 2023 festival include the opening ceremony and annual lantern lighting on March 25 at the Warner Theatre; the Blossom Kite Festival on March 25 on the Mall; and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 15 (tickets are currently on sale for $25–$40 per person).

The festival will also continue its Art in Bloom installations, a collection of outdoor, blossom-themed sculptures throughout the District, which began as a socially distanced addition to the festivities in 2021.

Cherry blossom viewing tips

If you’re able to see the cherry blossoms in person, remember to keep the cherry blossoms happy and healthy by never picking them (it’s actually against the law) and avoid touching them while posing for photos.

For those coming to Washington, D.C. for the cherry blossoms, it’s best to choose a hotel within walking distance of the National Mall and Memorial Parks—the most popular viewing spots—since parking can be limited. Nearby hotels include:

If you are unable to view the blossoms in person, the NPS, which operates the National Mall and Memorial Parks, will continue to live stream the blooms via its 24-hour BloomCam.

This article originally appeared online in 2019; it was most recently updated on March 1, 2023.

Jessie Beck is a San Francisco-based writer and associate director of SEO and video AFAR. She contributes to travel gear, outdoor adventure, and local getaway coverage and has previously lived in Washington, D.C., Malta, Seattle, and Madagascar.
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