Spring is really here, folks—the National Cherry Blossom Festival officially kicks off with its opening ceremony this Sunday evening, and peak bloom is predicted to start on Tuesday. Here are 18 events and activities, from muddy river cleanups to fancy dinner parties, celebrating the District’s beloved springtime flowers.
Cherry Blossom Festival’s Opening Ceremony
Sunday, March 20 at 5 PM
513 13th St., NW or virtual
This annual celebration of the US-Japan relationship marks the official start of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Back in person after a two-year pandemic pause, the event will be held at the Warner Theatre and feature performances by a samurai artist and multiple international musicians. Free tickets are sold out, but $15 premium tickets for orchestra seating are still available, and the performances will also be live-streamed on the Festival’s YouTube Channel.
Japanese Culture Day at the Library of Congress
Saturday, April 9 from 10 AM to 3 PM
10 First St., SE
This cultural celebration in the library’s Thomas Jefferson Building will feature a Japanese drum presentation, a karate demonstration, hands-on origami lessons, kamishibai (Japanese storytelling), and other demonstrations of Japanese arts and culture. Admission is free, but timed entry passes are required.
Cherry Blossom Jubilee at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Sunday, April 10 from 12 to 3 PM
105 N. Union St., Alexandria
The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town will celebrate the blooms with a festival of performances and live art demonstrations, including a show by taiko drum group Nen Daiko.
National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Pink Tie Dinner Party
Thursday, April 28 from 6:30 to 10:30 PM
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Attendees get to dress up pretty in pink for this fancy fundraising dinner. Unlike past years, the 2022 party will be limited to 400 guests and have a mostly sit-down format to allow for more social distancing. A $250 ticket includes a cocktail reception with sushi and sake, a dinner menu crafted by TCMA executive chef Houman Goharya, a silent auction, and after-dinner dancing.
Clean Waterways Cherry Blossom Cleanup
Sunday, March 20 at 10 AM
1330 Maryland Ave., SW
Join Anacostia Riverkeepers for some spring cleaning! Participants must register to join and wear closed-toe shoes and clothes they don’t mind getting dirty while pulling plastics and other litter out of the river. All supplies are provided.
Blossom Kite Festival
Sunday, March 27 from 10 AM to 4:30 PM
This classic cherry blossom event is back on the National Monument grounds this year, where avid kite-flyers and casual spectators alike can enjoy the colorful display. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, you can still join in the festivities at other participating parks around DC.
Enchanted Rhapsody Outdoor Concert by Edgewood String Quartet
Saturday, April 9 from 4 to 7:30 PM
6th St. S & S Ball St., Arlington
String musicians will perform a concert of Taylor Swift and Queen songs outside by Long Bridge Park. Admission is free, but registration is required. Food and drinks from RĀKO and other local vendors will be available.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Saturday, April 9 from 10 AM to 12 PM
Constitution Ave., NW, between 7th and 17th Streets
The famous pink parade is back! Portions of the route are open for the general public to watch the elaborate floats, balloons, and marching bands. Or you can buy $25 tickets for grandstand seats to get an even better view.
Sakura Matsuri Street Festival
Saturday, April 9 from 10:30 AM to 6 PM; Sunday, April 10 from 10:30 AM to 4 PM
Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The Sakura Matsuri Street Festival is one of the biggest celebrations of Japanese culture in the US, and it features a long list of fun exhibits and vendors, including more than 20 Japanese food vendors, a cosplay contest, and a sake tasting. Tickets start at $10 for a one-day pass, but if you’re planning to take your kiddos, there are family package deals too.
Anacostia River Festival
Sunday, April 10 from 1 to 4 PM
Anacostia Park (Good Hope Rd., SE & Anacostia Dr., SE)
Come for the riverfront views, stay for the Go-Go music. At this annual festival celebrating communities along the Anacostia, visitors can enjoy a series of live music performances, including drum lines and military bands, as well as activities on the river such as canoeing and fishing. On-the-water activities are free but do require pre-registration.
Sunday, April 10 from 1 to 9 PM
Capitol Riverfront at the Yards
This festival has a little bit (or a lot) of everything: live music on multiple outdoor stages, several interactive art exhibits, a beer garden, and a fireworks show. The family-friendly celebration is held on the banks of the Anacostia for free—no registration required.
New Ways to Wander the Blooms
Potomac Water Taxi from City Cruises
Cruises begin March 18
One way to avoid the crowds? Stay on the water. Starting today, City Cruises is offering a Cherry Blossom Water Taxi tour on the Potomac with routes connecting the Wharf to Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, and National Harbor. The water taxi tours run Wednesday through Sunday with tickets starting at $23. City Cruises also offers specialized cherry blossom-themed dining cruises, including a dinner cruise with fireworks on April 2 and April 16.
Pedego Electric Bike Cherry Blossom Rides
Tours start March 19
210 North Lee St. #102, Alexandria
If you’re looking for less of a workout and more of a joyride, Pedego Electric Bikes offers tours from its Alexandria location through East Potomac Point Park to the Tidal Basin. The $69 tours are offered daily as long as the blooms last.
Unlimited Biking’s “Washington DC.: Blossoms by Guided Bike Tour”
Tours start March 20
998 Maine Ave., SW
Unlimited Biking offers three-hour guided bike tours that start in Alexandria and travel through the blossoms around the Tidal Basin as well as the monuments. The rides, which run daily and include bike rentals and other equipment, are $54 for adults and $49 for kids.
Cherry Blossom Art to Explore
Pixelbloom at ARTECHOUSE
Open March 20 through June 5
1238 Maryland Ave., SW
This immersive, interactive audiovisual art exhibit invites visitors into a bright virtual world full of flower patterns and vibrant colors. A $25 ticket is good for 60 minutes inside the installation, though it doesn’t include drinks from the “extended reality bar,” which serves cherry blossom-themed cocktails along with beer and wine.
“Exploring Hiroshige and His Influence on Social Media” Exhibition
Open March 22 through May 13, Monday through Friday
1150 18th St., NW Suite 100
The Japan Information and Culture Center, a part of the Japanese Embassy, is hosting the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s headliner exhibition, which showcases artwork by Utagawa Hiroshige, a woodblock print artist famous for stunning landscape paintings in bold colors. Hiroshige’s pieces sit alongside modern photos inspired by his paintings; the exhibit explores parallels between the 19th-century artist’s work and today’s images shared on social media.
“Sip and Paint: Cherry Blossoms” at Shop Made in Virginia
Saturday, March 26 and Saturday, April 16 from 3 to 5 PM
1121 King St., Alexandria
Create your own cherry blossom-inspired art. The $35 admission includes locally created paint-by-numbers prints of the blooms, other painting materials, and—most importantly—two glasses of wine.
Cherry Blossom Exhibition at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
April 2 through May 1
105 N. Union St., Alexandria
Participating artists on all three floors of Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory will fill their studios with cherry blossom-inspired artwork throughout the month of April. Whether you’re looking to purchase some floral art or just enjoy wandering through the galleries, the Art Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM.