Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 18, 2020

The cherry blossoms area heading into full bloom now. They're not quite at peak, but they're starting to look fresh and lovely, especially up close.

DC's cherry blossoms reached peak bloom on March 20, 2020. They're now done for the year.

The cherry blossoms area heading into full bloom now. They’re not quite at peak–my guess is the NPS will make that call around Friday–and there are still plenty yet to pop. But they’re starting to look fresh and lovely, especially up close. Most of them start white and will gradually shift to a light pink in coming days.

And if you have a story you’d like to share about visiting DC’s cherry blossoms, please see below.

Is the Tidal Basin Still Open?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether it’s still possible to visit the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. As a technical matter, the Tidal Basin area remains accessible. Whether it’s a good idea is another matter. It’s not my place to tell anyone what to do (except don’t climb on or damage the trees!), but I’d refer you to the NPS statement that I’ve added to the top of every page (in the yellow box).

It’s also worth remembering that there are plenty of other areas with cherry blossoms and with far fewer people. National Arboretum remains open and is a very large outdoor space. There are thousands of trees along East Potomac Park (where some of the photos today were taken) and hardly any people.

And there are some wonderful books on DC’s cherry blossoms to inspire you for your visit next year, when the trees will be looking wonderful. Here are a some of my favorites:

And if you’re looking for some kids’ activities (I know we are!), there’s a cherry blossom book just for kids:

How It Looks at the Tidal Basin & East Potomac Park This Morning

It started as a clear morning with a cool and consistent breeze. It’s expected to cloud over during the day leading into rain these evening.

I’m posting these photos here not to encourage people to visit but rather for the many readers who have sensibly chosen to follow along from afar this year. Health officials strongly recommend avoiding crowded areas and practicing social distancing in order to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). To that end, I’m dispensing with the usual logistical information related to visiting the Tidal Basin area. And I will only post updates only when it’s possible for me to do so while still sticking to those recommendations.

Some of these photos today were taken at the Tidal Basin and some nearby along East Potomac Park. I wanted to minimize my time at the Tidal Basin and keep a good distance from other people, so there are fewer than normal from the Tidal Basin itself.

So, for all those following along at home, here are some shots of how the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park are looking today. Later this morning I’ll post some 360-degree videos I took at East Potomac Park.

East Potomac Park, next to the golf course.

360-Degree Video of Cherry Blossoms at East Potomac Park This Morning

It’s not quite the same as being there, but it’s a start…

Early Bloomer

This is a tree I typically track through the blooming process, trying to focus in on the same specific small section to be able to see the day-by-day progress.

This is a different variety and is separate from the indicator tree (on the opposite side of the Tidal Basin), but it reliably marches ahead of the other trees by several days.

It’s also a good illustration of how even just a few days can make a big difference.

As you can see, it’s now well past its prime.

March 18

March 16

March 14

March 13

March 11

March 10

March 8

March 4

March 1

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Last updated April 20, 2020

View Comments

  • Thank you for sharing this information and beautiful photos. I’m sending the link on to a lot more shut-in people. Hope it helps us deal with COVID-19 Cabin Fever!

  • Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos. Next best thing to seeing them in person. Keep well. Blessings from Canada.

  • Thank you for your updates. They are very helpful during this troubled time. It is sad that we will miss an extremely good year for the festival. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the rest of the year will be enjoyable in DC.

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