Why the Cherry Blossoms get Their Own Season


Image Courtesy of Lonely Planet

By Ryn Cole

It’s just about peak cherry blossom season, and with that comes ample opportunity to welcome the beginning of springtime while getting involved with the Washington, D.C. community. It’s something that D.C. is known for, and when early spring comes around, people from all over the world flock to the area to witness these gorgeous trees in bloom. 

How did these cherry trees become such a staple part of D.C. spring? The history of the pink D.C. blossoms goes back to the year 1912. On this year, the mayor of Tokyo, Mayor Yukio Ozaki, gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the capital of the United States. This gift was to celebrate the friendship between the people of both the United States and Japan. 

First Lady Hellen Taft and Japanese Viscountess Chinda planted the first two trees that year, and since then, many reenactments of this planting have been done, which led to the first-ever Cherry Blossom Festival. 

Since the first festival was held in 1927, the celebration of the cherry blossoms in D.C. has continued to grow into what it is today: weeks of the spring celebration of culture, community, and beauty. 

The easiest and most popular way to enjoy this season is by carving out time to watch the trees in full bloom. According to the National Park Service, this year the peak blossom time is between March 22nd and 25th. Even though the peak blossoms are only open for a short window, blossoms can be seen throughout April, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the flowers and celebrate spring with the rest of D.C.

By far, the best place to view the cherry blossoms is around the Tidal Basin, a reservoir set between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. The most trees in one area are located here, and there is a two-mile trail around the basin to walk along or find a spot to picnic at. 

Because the Tidal Basin has the most cherry blossoms, it is also the most populated area to see them. Spring and summer are peak tourist seasons in D.C. The cherry blossom festival brings people from all over the world flocking to see them in all their pink beauty. To bypass some of these crowds, locals recommend you go during sunrise. 

All information including watch updates, tips and tricks, hotel recommendations, and events during the season can be found on the National Cherry Blossom Festival Website. Some notable events are being held by places such as the Museum of Illusions and Planet Word throughout the month. Another noteworthy event is Blossoms at Eastern Market which is described as “An inside, ongoing, open to the public Cherry Blossom experience” on their website

Some other things to look out for are the D.C. cherry blossom-themed metro cars, and the numerous blossom themed pop ups throughout the city. For example, Casta’s Rum Bar, Osteria Morini, and even coffee shops such as Compass Coffee change up their menus to include cherry-themed specials. 

These trees are not only pretty, but they are full of a rich history that represents the beauty of community, peace, and friendship. Whether it’s people-watching around the tidal basin, showing up to museum events, or trying seasonal menus, there are dozens of things to get involved with during D.C.’s famous cherry blossom season. It’s apparent how much the cherry blossoms mean to the city of D.C, and this upcoming season is no exception. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *