Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 20, 2020

The warm temperatures since yesterday afternoon have brought any of the slower cherry blossoms out now. They're looking light and fluffy and beautiful.

DC Cherry Blossoms in 2021

It seems increasingly likely that DC will still be under COVID-19 restrictions in spring 2021 while the cherry blossoms are blooming. So it's shaping up to be a good year to follow along from afar from the safety and comfort of your home.

The warm temperatures since yesterday afternoon have brought any of the slower cherry blossoms out now. They’re right around peak; I’d expect the NPS to make the call later today, especially with temperatures climbing into the 80s this afternoon. They’re looking light and fluffy and beautiful.

UPDATE: The NPS horticulturists determined that the cherry blossoms reached peak bloom today, March 20. That’s a very early peak bloom–not surprising, given the unusually warm winter we’ve had–but not quite the earliest on record.

How It Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning

It’s a very mild morning with occasional sun poking through.

I’m posting these photos here not to encourage people to visit in person 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). I’m keeping my own visits brief and making sure to maximize distance to other people at all times. And I will only post updates only when it’s possible for me to do so while still sticking to those recommendations.

So, for all those following along at home, here are some shots of how the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin today.

Saucer magnolias at the George Mason Memorial.

Saucer magnolias at the George Mason Memorial. The petals are coming down thick and fast at the moment, but for now, at least, the trees are still looking stunning.

Is the Tidal Basin Still Open?

The Tidal Basin area remains accessible. Whether it’s a good idea to go is another matter. I’d refer you to the NPS statement that I’ve added to the top of every page (in the yellow box). Metro has closed some of the stations near the Tidal Basin to avoid having people standing around in close quarters on the platforms.

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 hundreds of trees along East Potomac Park, with 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:

Cherry Blossoms Say Spring (National Geographic Kids)
  • Esbaum, Jill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Images and product information from Amazon Product Advertising API were last updated on 2020-11-03 at 19:55.

Last updated March 20, 2020

View Comments

  • Thank you for the pictures. This was going to be my first trip to DC to see the sights and the lovely trees. I'm very sad that we had to cancel, but hopefully we can try again in 2021. Be safe everyone!

  • Thank you for the most beautiful photos to enjoy from the safety of our homes all over the world. Unfortunately people continue to throng to see it live because each one thinks the same way, that the other person might stay home because of the virus. We have to be sensible for ourselves and follow the guidelines. We appreciate your efforts in spreading joy & beauty!

  • Hi David,

    I am considering going on Monday, because I am thinking that the rainy forecast would really thin out the crowds. I’d like to visit if it is possible to maintain social distancing. However, do you think the rain would also significantly thin out the blossoms, being 3 days after peak bloom? Would it be worth going on Monday? This would be my first time seeing them.

  • Dear David, Thank you for sharing and encouraging folks to adhere to CDC guidance regarding covid-19. I planned to go but cancelled because of covid-19. Your photos help us to experience the beauty without exposing to the risks and inspire us to visit in the future.

  • Beatification at the peek for beauty. Thank you for brightening my day. Since the weather was nice today, I opened the bedroom window. I had surgery last week and was already on house recovery besides the recent events. Thank you for being the nature to us.

  • Thank you so much for sharing. We were supposed to be arriving tomorrow for the Cherry Blossom festival. Although we can't see it in person I appreciate your sharing the view.

  • I come to your site every Spring because your updates are fantastic. THANK YOU for what you do! As usual, your pictures are stunning!

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