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Posted at 04:21 PM ET, 03/21/2012

Avoid the cherry blossom crowds


A morning visit to the blossoms means great views, few crowds. Pictured: Amy Joyce (center) with children Sam and Jonah. (Steven Ginsberg - The Washington Post)
Love the cherry blossoms, hate the crowds? Here’s a tip: Head to the Tidal Basin early in the morning, before the tourists can say double soy latte.

Determined to have my two boys (almost 5 and just over 2) see the blossoms this year but certainly not willing to turn a Saturday into a stress-fest, my husband and I got everyone out the door (ready for work and school) by 7:30 this morning. Granola bars and bananas in the car for breakfast. Confusion galore. (No, Sam, not the shopping mall. The national Mall. Yes, the one with the airplane museum.) But we made it.

No crowds. Parking spots — we found no less than five easy spots to slide into along Ohio Drive. And plenty of views.

A short walk through a muddy baseball field and there we were, with a few tourists, several runners and a couple of families who brought photographers along. We didn’t stay long. And my younger one was more interested in the many tour buses that seemed to be lining up by about 8:30. But we saw the trees and made it to work and school on time, with nothing more than a few blossoms stuck to our shoes.

Next year: I’ll pack a better breakfast, and maybe a blanket.

And we’ll take a few more minutes to stop and smell the cherry blossoms. Because in the morning, you can.

You might also like:

Tips for cherry blossom visits

A guide to dining near the blossoms

Podcast tour of the Tidal Basin

National Cherry Blossom Festival events

Full coverage of the festival

By  |  04:21 PM ET, 03/21/2012

 
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