2022 Guide to DC’s Cherry Blossoms
We’re in full swing towards Spring in the Washington, DC metro area, which means it’s Cherry Blossom season! Every year thousands of visitors and locals alike flock to the DMV to see the beautiful pink and white blooms at the Tidal Basin and the National Mall. However, some of my favorite spots to see these fickle trees are away from the crowds. Here is my guide for where and when to see DC’s cherry blossoms this year.
Before jumping into my favorite locations though, let’s cover some key cherry blossom event information you’ll need to plan your visit this season.
A Note About Peak Bloom
Peak bloom predictions are made by the National Park Service each year for the Yoshino cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin. However, there are many different types of cherry blossoms around DC that have slightly different bloom times. Here are just a few of the big ones:
Yoshino: These are the most common trees around the Tidal Basin. The majority have white flowers, though some have mutated to be pink. Peak bloom is 3/22-3/25.
Willow: Willow cherry blossoms are light pink in color and swing beautifully in the wind. They peak about 1 week before the Yoshinos.
Okame: These trees have smaller, bright pink flowers. They peak about 1-2 weeks before the Yoshinos.
Kwanzan: These trees are also known as the double bloom cherry blossoms for their fuller flowers (which look like two blossoms per bud). They are bright pink and peak about 1-2 weeks after the Yoshinos.
Where and When to View DC's Cherry Blossoms
Okay, on to the locations! Different locations have different trees and therefore different peak bloom times. I've included a timeline below with each of the locations, 2022 peak blooms are listed next to each location title throughout the post, and there's a Google Map of locations at the end of the list!
The Tidal Basin (Peak 3/22-3/25)
While the biggest tourist spot, if you’ve never been to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, it’s worth braving the crowds for a look. The trees are truly beautiful around the water, plus there are a lot of great photo spots on and within walking distance of the Tidal Basin, such as the Japanese Lantern and the MLK Memorial.
Sea of Blush put together the below map of photo spots on and near the Tidal Basin as well as areas to park if you’re driving. However, I highly recommend taking the metro to the Smithsonian Station via the orange/blue/silver lines. Once in the National Mall area, you can take the DC Circulator around to different spots if you aren’t up for all the walking.
Hains Point Loop (Peak 3/22-3/25 & 4/5-4/8)
Hains Point Loop is a biking and walking path that wraps around East Potomac Park near the Tidal Basin. White Yoshino trees line the bike path around the park, creating a beautiful tree-covered street to shoot on. There are also clusters of pink Kwanzan trees in the park that bloom about two weeks later. Despite the park being a well-known location close to the Tidal Basin, it’s incredibly quiet and a great place to take photos. It’s also right along the Potomac River and makes for a lovely walk and picnic spot.
National Arboretum (3/15-4/8)
The National Arboretum is home to over 70 different types of cherry trees, so the peak bloom here spans a few weeks, with different trees blooming at different times throughout. The Arboretum is located in the Northeast of DC, an easy drive with multiple parking areas inside the grounds. The best way to find and view the trees is through the self-guided Cherry Blossom tour on the Arboretum’s smartphone app. The tour brings you along a 3.2 mile trail with 27 individual stops to see different varieties of trees, with the note that there is no time where all of the varietals will be in bloom at once.
The Arboretum is also home to a beautiful collection of magnolia trees, which bloom around DC at a similar schedule to the cherry blossoms.
Congressional Cemetery (Peak 3/15-3/19 & 4/5-4/8)
If you want a quiet and empty place to see the cherry blossoms, a cemetery is the place to go. The Congressional Cemetery is home to Okame tree-lined pathways (which bloom early compared to the Tidal Basin) and clusters of Kwanzan trees (which bloom a couple weeks after the Tidal Basin), creating beautiful backdrops for bright pink cherry tree photos.
Arlington Cemetery is another beautiful and solemn spot you can walk through to view beautiful cherry blossoms around the same time as the Tidal Basin peak (3/22-3/25).
Dumbarton Oaks (Peak 3/22-3/25)
Dumbarton Oaks is a museum with gardens located in Georgetown. The gardens are only open from 3pm - 6pm, but they have gorgeous cherry blossom lined paths and a great collection of other blooming trees.
Montrose Park (Peak 3/22-3/25)
Montrose Park is right next to Dumbarton Oaks and has a beautiful collection of cherry blossom trees of its own. The 16-acre public park stretches along Rock Creek and makes for a beautiful walk and picnic spot among the blossoms. It also has a playground in case you have little ones with you!
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Peak 3/22-3/25)
The Basilica is gorgeous enough on its own to warrant a visit, but it also has 150 cherry blossom trees in full bloom this time of year. Located in the north of the city, the Basilica boasts free parking for visitors and is open until 6pm daily during March.
National Harbor (Peak 3/15-3/19 & 3/22-3/25)
The National Harbor contains quite the collection of Okame cherry blossoms and a sprinkling of Yoshino trees right along the waterfront. Take a walk along the water and then a ride on the giant ferris wheel to look out over a blooming city.
Additional small parks and gardens around DC that share peak bloom with the Tidal Basin: (Peak 3/22-3/25)
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
Oxon Run Park
Washington National Cathedal’s Bishop’s Garden
Enid A. Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle
All around DC!
Cherry blossom trees can be found on street corners and in yards and parks all around the District. Take a walk in your neighborhood and see what blooms you can find! (P.S. please don’t walk into people’s yards to take photos with their cherry blossom tree without their permission!)