2023 Peak Bloom
The NPS judged that the Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom on March 23, 2023. They're now done for the year..
Some of the trees are starting to pop. Most need a few more days to get there, but it's easy to find some flowers out all the way around the Tidal Basin. There's a particularly dense area in full bloom in the MLK Memorial.
The National Park Service has judged that the blossoms have reached the awkwardly named Peduncle Elongation stage. That's the fourth of the five stages that the NPS tracks before peak bloom. Next up is puffy white. With the warm days, progress is moving quickly, and it's shaping up nicely for full bloom next week.
See below on prospects for this weekend as well as logistical information (eg. Ohio Drive, Welcome Area, etc).
What to Expect Over the Weekend
If you're heading down to the Tidal Basin today or through the weekend, you'll have no trouble finding some cherry blossoms in bloom. Most of the trees aren't quite there yet, but more and more will be coming out over the next few days in this warm weather.
Expect traffic and changed traffic patterns around the Tidal Basin (see below). Metro is running extra services.
There are no access restrictions beyond the usual one-way traffic pattern around the Tidal Basin. There aren't any fences to restrict pedestrian traffic.
Logistics for Visiting
Ohio Drive is open today but will be switched to the special one-way traffic pattern tomorrow (March 19). That will remain in place during the main bloom. So you'll need to enter up by the Jefferson Memorial; you won't be able to enter from the Lincoln Memorial End.
Welcome Area. The NPS is switching things up this year and has moved the Welcome Area from the old Maine Ave parking area to next to the MLK Memorial (West Basin Dr SW). So West Basin Dr SW is closed to traffic from Ohio Drive. That has displaced some disabled parking spots; they've been moved to a temporarily signed area about 100 yards or so away at the intersection of Ohio Drive and West Basin Dr SW).
Metro will be running extra services during the bloom. The closest stops are Smithsonian and L'Enfant Plaza. I have more information on getting to the cherry blossoms separately.
How it Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning
It's a foggy start to the day, but that will soon burn off and leave a sunny and warm day.
The Indicator Tree is in full bloom. This is a specific tree that reliably runs a week or two ahead of the others.