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If You Go – Washington, DC

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is March 27 through April 11 in Washington, D.C. Be sure to wear comfy shoes. You’ll most likely have to walk from a Metro stop to the Washington Monument grounds, parade route, or wherever you’re headed. Plus the perimeter of the Tidal Basin itself is 5 miles.


Metro, D.C.’s public transit system, is your best bet. If you’re coming into town through the Union Station stop, go to the station’s West hall to pick up festival guides. Want some official cherry blossom gear? You can pick that up there as well.


Plug addresses into the Trip Planner on www.wmata.com to find out the closest Metro stop to your destination.


Dozens of D.C.-area hotels offer specials during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Check out http://arestravel.com/2209_welcome.html


Many restaurants have “Cherry Picks,” or cherry-inspired menu items. A list of participating restaurants is at http://washington.org/cherryblossom/restaurants.html


A full schedule of events is available on the festival’s website. Some events, such as performances at the Sylvan Theatre, take place every day. Others can be for one day, a few days, or only on weekends. Go to www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org and click on Events for more information on all events, including the ones mentioned below.

Highlights include:

National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day
10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 27
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW

Smithsonian Kite Festival
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 27
On the grounds of the Washington Monument

Cherry Blast
9 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, April 2
1701 Florida Ave NW
An eclectic night of performances. This is not for the wee ones. It’s 21 and older only, and there’s a $10 cover charge.

Fireworks at the Southwest Waterfront
Saturday, April 3
The fireworks start at 8:30 p.m., but the family-friendly fun will start at 5 p.m. with kids’ crafts, musical performances, and cuisine from local restaurants.

The National Cherry Blossom Parade
10 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 10
The parade runs along Constitution Avenue, from 7th to 17th Streets NW. Standing along the parade route is free, of course, but you can also buy tickets for grandstand seating (on Constitution Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets NW). Tickets are $17 each, not including service charges. To purchase tickets, click here.

Japanese Street Festival
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, April 10
Pennsylvania Avenue between 10th and 14th Streets, and 12th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues.

Tidal Basin Paddle Boats
1501 Maine Avenue SW
Rental fees are $10 per hour for a two-passenger boat and $18 per hour for a four-passenger boat. You can walk up, or make reservations for morning times at www.TidalBasinPaddleBoats.com

Ranger Cherry Talks
Tours guided by a National Park Service ranger. Programs start at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. Meet at one of two locations: the Tidal Basin at the entrance of the FDR Memorial or the Jefferson Memorial Welcome Center.

Ranger-Guided Lantern Walks
8-10 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only.
Meet at one of two locations: Tidal Basin Paddle Boats or the Washington Monument stone lodge.

Ranger-Guided Bike Tours
Saturdays and Sundays. Departs the Jefferson Memorial at 1 p.m. Provide your own helmet, bike and water.

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