This spring, the nearly 1,700 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin (and over a thousand others nearby) will come into bloom. The arrival of the cherry blossoms, or sakura, has become an annual Washington DC tradition for over a century and provides a colorful symbolic beginning of spring. It also provides the inspiration for Washington DC’s cherry blossom festival, one of many celebrated around the world.
On average, the blooms come out around the last days of March into the beginning of April. But it’s different every year. Sometimes it’s a bit earlier. Sometimes it’s a bit later. Precisely when it is depends on the weather in the weeks and months leading up to it. Temperatures, in particular, make the difference. A long, cold winter suggests a late bloom, while a warmer-than-average winter likely means a bloom on the earlier side.
If you’re planning a visit to Washington DC and hoping to catch the famous cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin in bloom in spring 2017, I’ll be posting information on this site so you can at least make an educated guess.
And for background, you might find these posts useful:
- When is the best time to visit Washington DC to see the cherry blossoms
- What peak bloom and why it (sort of) matters
If you’d just like to see what all the fuss is about, here are some of my favorite shots taken in past years.
About this Site
The information on this site is provided in good faith and is accurate to the best of my knowledge. It is not affiliated with the National Cherry Blossom Festival or the National Park Service. My hope is that I can provide different kinds of useful information in a more responsive and agile way than is available from those organizations.
This site is divided up into different sections, which are updated on the front page.
2018 Cherry Blossom Watch
On the site’s front page I post regular updates with photos of how the cherry blossoms are progressing. I post updates more frequently as we get closer to the bloom. During January and February, these will be every week or two, but during the bloom period I aim to provide daily updates.
Updates going back to 2010 are archived there, so you can take a look at the progression in previous years.
I’ve put together some visitor guides where you can find information about the cherry blossoms as well as information to help you with visiting in person–things like the latest peak bloom forecasts, best places to stay, and how to get to and from the Tidal Basin.
And, finally, I’ve also put together some photography tips and suggestions for taking photos of this beautiful event.
I’ll be adding new posts and photos pretty regularly as we head into the spring.
So welcome, and enjoy!
Cherry Blossom Visitor Guides
Planning on visiting DC to see the cherry blossoms? The uncertainty with predicting when the bloom will take place certainly makes things hard, but I've put together some information to help you make an educated guess to maximize your chances.
And if you're coming into town for the events of the cherry blossom festival or just for the flowers, I've also put together some ideas on where to stay and how to get to the cherry blossoms once you're here.
Washington DC Visitor Guides
If you're coming in from out of town, here are some useful travel guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit. Because as stunning as the cherry blossoms are, there's an awful lot more to do and see in DC.
These are some of the most popular ones. Many of these are available as both traditional books and e-books that you can read on your phone or tablet.
- Stephan Van Dam, Illustrator, Editor
- Publisher: VanDam, Inc
- Fodor s Washington D C with Mount Vernon Alexandria Annapolis Full color Travel Guide
- Fodor's Travel Guides
- DK Travel
- Publisher: DK Eyewitness Travel
- Lonely Planet, Regis St Louis, Karla Zimmerman
- Lonely Planet
- Elise Hartman Ford
- Publisher: FrommerMedia
And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's very rich history.
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
- Barbara Noe Kennedy