2014 National Cherry Blossom Festival highlights


The cherry blossoms are seen on April, 10, 2013, in Washington. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Washingtonians have a love-hate relationship with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. As commuters, they hate it. Visitors who don’t know our ways saunter across busy intersections and pause at the tops of Metro escalators to admire the views.

But after a harsh winter — at least by D.C. standards — it still means spring. And there will be plenty of locals making their way to the Tidal Basin, the Mall and Nationals Park in the next four weeks.

The 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival begins Thursday and continues through April 13. Highlights include:

1) Saturday: Festival opening ceremony, 5 to 6:30 p.m., Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. All tickets have been given out. Nearest Metro stations: Metro Center, Federal Triangle.

2) Saturday/Sunday: Family Days. There are indoor and outdoor activities for children and adults at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Nearest Metro stations: Gallery Place, Judiciary Square.

Selected events during the Cherry Blossom Festival

3) Saturday, March 29: Kite festival. Competitions and open kite-flying areas will draw many participants and spectators to the Washington Monument grounds from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This date depends on good weather, so watch for updates. Nearest Metro stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle.

4) Saturday, March 29: The Washington Nationals play an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers at 2:05 p.m. at Nationals Park, South Capitol and M streets SE. Nearest Metro station: Navy Yard.

5) Friday, April 4: The Nationals’ regular season home opener against the Atlanta Braves, 1:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

6) Saturday, April 5: Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. Free music after 1 p.m. at venues around Seventh and Water streets SW, and at 8:30 p.m., fireworks on the Washington Channel. Nearest Metro stations: Waterfront, L’Enfant Plaza.

7) Sunday, April 6: Cherry Blossom 10-mile run and 5K walk/run. From 7:30 to about 11:30 a.m., starting and ending on the 15th Street NW side of the Washington Monument. Nearest Metro stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle. The event, which drew more than 17,000 runners last year, goes along Independence Avenue, over the Memorial Bridge, along Rock Creek Parkway, around the Tidal Basin and through East Potomac Park. Lincoln Memorial Circle and Independence Avenue near the Tidal Basin are good viewpoints.

8) Saturday, April 12: Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, 10 a.m. to noon, marches along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets NW. Grandstand seats start at $20, but watching the parade on Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets is free. Get there early. Nearest Metro stations: Archives, Federal Triangle.

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Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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