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.
It’s still far too early to know exactly when the cherry blossoms in Washington DC will bloom in 2017. If you’d like to see what happened in 2016, you can find the 2016 Cherry Blossom Watch here.
The dates for the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival are March 20 through April 16, with the Parade on Saturday, April 8. These, however, are catchall dates, and while historically there’s a very good chance of the cherry blossoms blooming at some point during that period, it does not mean that they will be blooming during that entire period (they won’t be).
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.
As we get closer to the bloom, the National Park Service and other local experts issue predictions on when they think the peak bloom period will occur. The first NPS forecast is typically issued around early March. But it’s not until around 10 days before the peak bloom that they feel truly confident in their predictions.
In the meantime, I recommend starting with these posts:
- When is the best time to visit Washington DC to see the cherry blossoms
- What peak bloom and why it (sort of) matters
You can find the latest information about the 2017 cherry blossom peak forecasts here. And you can follow along with the 2017 Cherry Blossom Watch updates here. For now, though, there’s not much to see–we just have to wait and see how the winter shapes up.
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.
2017 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!