Cherry Blossom Watch Update: April 2, 2019

The cherry blossoms are going strong and looking stunning. If you look very closely at the flowers you can see that some are starting to go pink in the middle.

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 cherry blossoms are going strong and looking stunning. It’s not nearly as cold and breezy as it was yesterday, and while the sky isn’t as clear either, it’s still a very pretty morning at the Tidal Basin. Like yesterday, there was a sunrise rush, but after that the crowds quickly thinned out.

If you look very closely at the flowers you can see that some are starting to go pink in the middle. I’ve included some examples in the photos below.

More details and photos from this morning below.

How It’s Looking at the Tidal Basin This Morning

Weekend of April 6-7

As part of their peak bloom announcement yesterday, the National Park Service said that “Based on the current conditions and forecast, you can expect to see the trees in blossom for the next seven to 10 days.”

Right now, the weather forecast for the coming several days is favorable for keeping the blossoms out. It should be mostly cool and calm for much of this week.

It looks like a good chance of rain on Friday and some unsettled weather over the weekend, potentially with thunderstorms. That kind of weather isn’t helpful for the blossoms, and by that point they’ll be getting quite fragile. It’s impossible to say for sure what effect it will have–or even if the weather pans out as forecast, for that matter–so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

Sunday morning sees the running of the Cherry Blossom 10-miler is being run that morning. That will see tens of thousands of runners in the area around the Tidal Basin and National Mall.

You can still get to the Tidal Basin and the cherry blossoms remain accessible, but it does make the logistics of getting to and from more complicated. Many of the roads in the area will be closed for the morning–including for parking.

You can find more information here.

And good luck to all the runners!

First Time Visiting?

I’ve put together some information on the monuments and memorials you’ll come across as you wander around the Tidal Basin.

Here’s some information on getting to and from the cherry blossoms, and here’s some information specifically on parking options.

I’ve also put together some suggestions of you’re visiting with young kids.

Early Bloomer

These are of one of the other trees that also reliably blooms a little ahead of the other, although not as early as the indicator tree. I’ll aim to track this tree regularly as we move through the bloom. These are the same branch, with the newest at top.

It’s moving well past its prime now, and some of the petals came off in yesterday’s showers and breeze.

April 2, 2019.

March 30, 2019.

March 29, 2019.

March 28, 2019.

March 27, 2019.

March 25, 2019.

March 23, 2019.

March 19, 2019.

March 17, 2019.


The Tidal Basin’s parking lot by the paddle boats is now closed for the Cherry Blossom Festival Welcome Area. It will be closed through April 18.

Ohio Drive has been switched to the special one-way traffic pattern. You can still get to Ohio Drive, but you’ll have to go around the other side of the Tidal Basin, past the paddle boats, and enter by the Jefferson Memorial. According to one of the signs, the traffic pattern is due to stay in place until April 14. That seems a bit excessive, so it’s possible it might revert back to normal before then.

If you’re coming in from the Arlington side of the Potomac, be aware Memorial Bridge is undergoing major structural repairs. It is still open, but there are temporary traffic lanes that can impact traffic flow and where you can turn once you get off the bridge. So using one of the other bridges might be a better bet.

Last updated April 2, 2019

View Comments

    • There are some designated handicap spots near the FDR Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. There's more detailed information here.

  • Hi David,

    Thanks again for your updates - use them extensively every year! We just arrived last night...

    Don’t know DC very well - but very eager for some good sunset shots tonight/tomorrow night, ideally with blossoms and monuments.

    Could you recommend any specific locations please?

    • The combination of blossoms and monuments in the same frame is a bit more limiting. One option is just to the east of the Jefferson Memorial, where you can get blossoms in left of frame with sunlight on them, part of the Jefferson Memorial towards the middle, and then the setting sun off to the right. If it's still, you should get some nice reflections on the water, too. There are plenty of other places around that stretch, down past the paddle boats (you can't miss them) that will have a good view of the setting sun, but they don't have as many high monuments in frame that will lend them themselves to it. The FDR Memorial is hidden in the trees, and the MLK Memorial will most be in shadow. You can see the roof of the Lincoln Memorial from there, but it doesn't stand out as distinctive because it's mostly blocked by trees. If you're shooting on the other side of the Tidal Basin, near the FDR Memorial, you can get some beautiful golden sunlight shining on the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument. The blossoms will be in shadow--if you don't want them silhouetted, some fill flash could look nice.

      On the Mall itself, there should be some nice silhouettes with the sunset sky at the Lincoln Memorial (and Reflecting Pool) and on the eastern side of the Washington Monument (an example). Including cherry blossoms in the shot will be harder. There are some small groves of cherry blossoms near the Washington Monument, but they're most on the western side of it. But if you are the the western side, you should be able to get some nice golden sunlight on cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument's west-facing side.

      Hope this gives you some ideas. Happy shooting!

  • Hi David, Thank you for all the updates as usual! Do you have any idea how the "sunset crowds" are at the tidal basin? Do you know if the photos are prettier at sunrise or sunset? Do you know if the magnolias are still blooming? Thank you so much!

    • In general, crowds start building mid- to late-morning. Through the afternoon and early evening there are quite a few people around. But again, weekdays are much easier than weekends. You can get pretty photos any time of day there--it just depend son what you're after and the conditions. But for sure, you can get some stunning shots at sunset, especially over the paddle boat side and with the Jefferson Memorial bathed in late-afternoon light. The magnolias have been holding out very well, although they're starting to fade now with petals coming off. I haven't specifically checked on the ones at the Smithsonian Castle recently, but the others I've seen around town--including the ones at the George Mason Memorial--are still looking great.

      • Thanks, you answered all my questions! I am hoping to get some good shots Friday at sunset when we get in. Purchasing my first prime lens tomorrow!!