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Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Bloom to Peak in April This Year

By Jessie Beck

Mar 3, 2021

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Peak bloom is expected the first week of April in Washington, D.C. this year.

Photo by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Peak bloom is expected the first week of April in Washington, D.C. this year.

Washington, D.C. expects the famous flowers to be in peak bloom April 2–5 and will host a mix of virtual and socially distanced, in-person events for the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.

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Just this past week, the National Park Service (NPS) forecasted that Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms will reach peak bloom—when 70 percent of the flowers are open—between April 2–5, 2021. Although blossoms will start to open before then, the first week of April is predicted to be the best time to see the flowers at their fullest this year.

Peak bloom typically happens in Washington, D.C. between the last week of March and the first week of April. In 2020, peak bloom happened on March 20 (earlier than the original March 27 prediction) and on April 1 in 2019. 

Is the National Cherry Blossom Festival canceled?

The National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place in 2021 with a mix of virtual and socially distanced, in-person events from March 20 to April 11. In 2020, the National Cherry Blossom Festival was supposed to take place between March 20 and April 12, but most of the events were canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Instead, the NPS, which operates the National Mall and Memorial Parks—the most popular viewing spot thanks to its 3,700 cherry trees—set up virtual alternatives. They included virtual tours, which you can still view online, and a 24-hour live BloomCam, which shows the trees in bloom around the clock.

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This year, the NPS is again encouraging people to enjoy the blossoms from home, adding a lineup of virtually hosted festival events. Virtual festivities will include the opening ceremony, featuring performances by artists such as the Los Angeles–based percussion group, Taiko Project, and the annual lighting of the Japanese stone lantern gifted to the city in 1954. Also online this year is the blossom kite fly workshop—a festival mainstay where attendees can learn to make their own kites. 

Visiting Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms in person

For anyone considering a visit in person, note that COVID-19 restrictions are still in place in Washington, D.C., with outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people or fewer and masks required on all NPS-managed land. As for travel restrictions, a negative COVID-19 test is required for visitors arriving to the capital from outside Washington, D.C., Virginia, or Maryland and/or staying for more than 24 hours.

If you’re able to see the cherry blossoms in person, the city still has some socially distanced fun planned. One event we’re excited about is Art in Bloom, where visitors can hunt down 25 different cherry blossom–themed sculptures throughout the District.

But our health and safety aren’t the only things we need to protect—help keep the cherry blossoms happy and healthy by never picking the blossoms (it’s actually against the law) and avoid touching them while posing for photos.

This article originally appeared online on March 6, 2019; it was updated on March 3, 2021, to include current information.

>> Next: 12 Places to See Cherry Blossoms in the U.S.

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