To get started, here are some activities that are likely to draw big crowds, and some tips for getting to them — or getting around them.
The 2013 festival begins Wednesday and continues until April 14.
Saturday, March 23:
Opening ceremony. Some events are held earlier, but the official opening, with its stage performances, will be 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. All tickets have been given out. The nearest Metrorail stations are Metro Center and Federal Triangle.
Saturday/Sunday, March 23-24:
Family Days. There are a variety of 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 Metrorail stations: Gallery Place and Judiciary Square.
Friday, March 29: The Washington Nationals play an exhibition game against the New York Yankees at 2:05 p.m. at Nationals Park. Nearest Metrorail station: Navy Yard.
Saturday, March 30:
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 Metrorail stations: Smithsonian and Federal Triangle. (This is likely to be the weekend closest to the peak bloom for the Tidal Basin, so Smithsonian station will be especially crowded.)
Monday, April 1: Nationals’ opening day against the Miami Marlins at 1:05 p.m. This will add to midday crowding on streets and bridges near South Capitol and M streets, and at Metro’s L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place transfer stations.
Saturday, April 6:
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. Free music during the day at venues around Seventh and Water streets SW, and after sunset, fireworks on the Washington Channel. Nearest Metrorail stations: Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza.
Sunday, April 7:
Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk. From 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., starting and ending on the Washington Monument grounds. Nearest Metrorail stations: Smithsonian and Federal Triangle. The event, which draws about 15,000 preregistered runners, goes around the Tidal Basin and through East Potomac Park. Lincoln Memorial Circle and Independence Avenue near the Tidal Basin are good viewpoints.
Saturday, April 13:
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. The annual parade, a festival highlight, begins at 10 a.m. at Seventh Street NW and Constitution Avenue, going along Constitution to 17th Street NW, where it ends about noon. Nearest Metrorail stations: Archives and Federal Triangle.