Unique Ways to Experience DC’s Cherry Blossoms

The blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation's capital city. The famous trees — a gift from Japan in 1912 — signal Washington's rite of spring with an explosion of life and color that surrounds the Tidal Basin in a sea of pale pink and white blossoms. 

Pink and white cherry blossoms frame the Washington Monument.

Hundreds of thousands of city residents and visitors from across the nation and around the world come to Washington D.C. to witness the spectacle, hoping that the trees will be at the peak of bloom for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival celebrates the gift of the cherry blossom trees and their symbol of enduring friendship between the citizens of Japan and the United States.

Here are a few unique ways you can experience the cherry blossoms.

Learn about the trees

Use the cherry tree field guide to identify the types of cherry blossom trees in the Tidal Basin. You can also learn how National Park Service cares for and maintains the trees.

Closeup of cherry blossoms in low light with the Washington Monument in the background.

Watch the Bloom Cam

Watch the blooming of the cherry trees along the Tidal Basin from a webcam hosted by the Trust for the National Mall.

Closeup of white cherry blossoms showing the detail of the individual flowers.

Take a virtual cherry blossom tour

See the cherry blossoms at the National Mall and Memorial Parks whenever and wherever with virtual cherry blossom tours.

Take a virtual walk around the Tidal Basin trail and visit some of the nearby monuments in 360 degrees. Or hop in a paddle boat and see the Tidal Basin from the water side by joining a virtual paddle boat tour during the bloom.

Cherry blossoms in the foreground with several paddle boats in the distance.

Follow a trail guide

For those in Washington D.C., take any of the following loops to experience the cherry blossoms.

  • Tidal Basin Loop. This easy 2.1-mile loop takes you through natural and cultural treasures. Circling the Tidal Basin, this trail provides views most in accordance with the tradition of hanami (blossom viewing).
  • Hains Point Loop. This 4.1-mile loop is well worth the trip. It is also a great opportunity to see many different species of cherry trees unlike anywhere else in the park. Stroll among the blossoms while taking in spectacular views of the Potomac River, Anacostia River and the Washington Channel.
  • Memorial Loop. Experience the Japanese cherry trees in their monumental setting while visiting some of our national icons. This 2.7-mile loop takes you through some of the park's memorials such as the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial, as well as some of the lesser-known places such as Constitution Gardens where the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial is located.

Explore the history

Read about the history of the cherry trees and the people involved in bringing them to the District of Columbia, such as Eliza Scidmore who worked with First Lady Helen Taft, the manager of Washington area parks, and representatives of Japan to plant the cherry trees.

Black and white portraits of Eliza Scidmore and Helen Taft.

The project faced many setbacks, but eventually succeeded. Today, these trees stand not only as a powerful symbol of friendship between nations, but as an inspiring reminder of the difference people can make by faithfully pursuing a dream.