2013 Cherry Blossom Festival Fitness Events

Spring into shape and stay active while admiring DC’s cherry blossoms.

By: Hannah Lauterback

Blossoms by Bike

Take a picturesque two-hour bike tour along the Potomac Tidal Basin and through East Potomac Park, some of the best places to check out the blossoms. Or take a three-hour tour from Old Town Alexandria to DC along the lush Mount Vernon Trail. You’ll learn the history of Washington’s cherry blossoms and the annual festival (for instance, it’s 101 years old). The daily tours leave from three locations: the Mall, Union Station, and Old Town Alexandria. $35 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under. For more information, visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s website.

Cherry Blossom Soccer Tournament

Kick spring into gear with this weekend-long soccer tournament (April 6 and 7). First started in 2005, the competition now attracts 48 teams and more than 500 players. Located near the Smithsonian Metro stop at the West Potomac polo grounds, the event is free for spectators. All participants are invited to a pre-tournament event; there’s also a post-tournament tailgate celebration at a DC United game. Visit districtsports.org for team registration information.

15th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk

Gawk at the blooms while on the move during the 15th annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk. It starts and ends at the National Japanese American Memorial, and highlights the famous cherry blossom trees. Check-in starts at 9 AM, and the opening ceremony starts at 10, featuring keynote speaker Jodie Z. Bernstein, chair of the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Register at the walk’s website.

Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament

Where else but the center of cutthroat politics would gentle, welcoming cherry blossoms go hand in hand with an old-fashioned rugby brawl? This year’s ceremony features the 47th annual two-day Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament, hosted by the Washington Rugby Football Club. The tournament is the weekend of April 6 from 8 AM to 5 PM at the Rosecroft Raceway. The largest tournament on the East Coast is free for all spectators and provides plenty of free parking. Visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s website for more information. 

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Half-Mile Kids’ Run

While the famous ten-miler filled up instantly, little ones can still participate in the half-mile kids’ run. Registration is $10, and all finishers receive a T-shirt and a custom-made medal. The race starts at 8:15 AM on Sunday, April 7, and is open to kids ages 5 to 12.

Move for Mobility 5K and 5-Miler

Didn’t win the Credit Union Cherry Blossom lottery this year? You can still lace up your racing shoes and run for Parkinson’s research at the Move for Mobility 5k & 5 Miler, hosted by the DC Running Club. The race happens Saturday, April 13, at 8 AM beginning at Hains Point. Registration is $30 before March 13 and $35 after, and 100 percent of the proceeds goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Tidal Basin Paddle Boats

One-up the camera-wielding bloom-peepers on the outskirts of the Tidal Basin by getting inside it. Rent a paddle boat at the Tidal Basin Boathouse and meander your way around the scenic blossoms with a waterfront view. Rentals cost $12 per hour for two-passenger boats and $14 per hour for four-passenger boats. Reservations can be made online and are available for walk-up customers. At least one passenger must be 16 years old, and every participant must wear the provided life vests.

Roller Derby

In case rugby isn’t rough enough for you, head over to the DC Armory on March 30 at 3 PM to watch the Cherry Blossom Bombshells take on the Majority Whips in a no-holds-barred roller derby around a flat track. It’s close to the Stadium-Armory Metro, and parking is also available. Tickets are $12 for ages 12 and up, $6 for kids ages 6 to 11, and free for kids 5 and under. Tickets are available in advance via Ticketmaster, or you can purchase them at the door.