2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival

The 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 20 to April 16.

Photo of Washington DC Cherry Blossoms: April 12, 2014 taken by David Coleman.
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It's still too early to guess with much confidence when the 2023 bloom will be. But we've seen a much-warmer-than-normal January, and long-range forecasts suggest above-average temperatures continuing as we get deeper into February (after a short very cold spurt at the beginning of the month).

On average, Washington DC's cherry blossoms bloom around late-March into early April, but the precise timing varies year to year depending on the local temperatures in the leadup to the bloom. You can find general information on the 2023 bloom to help plan your visit here.

The 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled to run from March 20 to April 16.

Here are the announced dates for some of the key events:

  • Opening Ceremony: Saturday, March 25, 2023
  • Kite Festival: Saturday, March 25, 2023
  • Parade: Saturday, April 15, 2023
  • PetalPalooza: Saturday, April 8, 2023

You can find the master list of events here.

About the National Cherry Blossom Festival

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is typically scheduled around the average peak bloom date. The hope is that the blossoms will come out at some point during the festival, but there’s no guarantee of that and because the festival has gotten much longer in recent years–running about three weeks–it’s unlikely they’ll be out for the duration simply because it would be very unusual for the bloom to last that long.

In 2014 and 2015 the peak bloom fell right at the end of the festival. In 2016 and 2017, with the early bloom, it fell right at the beginning of the festival–they even moved the opening of the 2017 and 2018 festivals at the last minute to try to accommodate an expected early bloom.

In recent years the festival has been extended to run across several weeks, which increases the chances that the peak bloom will fall within the festival dates, but it's never guaranteed.

Tidal Basin Welcome Area

Each year, the Tidal Basin's main parking lot, on Maine Ave SW (next to the paddle boats), is closed off to parking and converted into the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. It features information and activity tents from the National Park Service and National Cherry Blossom Festival, a performance stage, food tents, and dozens of portajohns.

The area is open from 10 am to 6 pm with most of the activities and performances geared toward afternoons. Entry is free.

Where to Stay for DC's Cherry Blossom Festival

I've put together some suggestions for where to stay here.

What is the National Cherry Blossom Festival?

The Festival is run by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and features a number of events, exhibits, and performances related to the cherry blossoms and U.S.-Japanese relations. Among the events and activities are a parade, fireworks, concerts, and special exhibits that take their theme from the cherry blossoms. You can find more information at the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official website. The Cherry Blossom Watch site is not affiliated with the festival.r