This really is big. Because it’s the 100th anniversary of Tokyo’s gift of the cherry trees to D.C., the National Cherry Blossom Festival will continue for an extraordinary five weeks, starting Tuesday and continuing through April 27. (Activities sponsored by the National Park Service start next Saturday, March 24, and continue through April 15.) Here are a few events that are likely to be popular.
1. March 25: While some events begin earlier, the official opening ceremony is scheduled for next Sunday, 5 to 6:30 p.m., at the Washington Convention Center. The free event is open to 6,000 people, but online registration is required. The nearest Metrorail station is Mount Vernon Square, on the Green and Yellow lines.
2. March 31: The Blossom Kite Festival is scheduled to run from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Washington Monument grounds. (Rain date is April 1.) The nearest Metro station is Smithsonian, on the Blue and Orange lines.
3. April 3: The Washington Nationals open the regular season on the road this year, but will play an exhibition game at Nationals Park at 3:05 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, against the Red Sox. The nearest Metro station is Navy Yard. Metro does a good job of limiting crowding on the platform, but watch out for the rail transfer stations at L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place.
4. April 7: The fireworks show is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. over the Washington Channel on the Southwest Washington Waterfront (Water Street). The nearest Metrorail station is Waterfront
, on the Green Line.
3. April 12: The Nationals play their home opener at 1:05 p.m. Thursday, April 12, against the Cincinnati Reds.
5. April 14: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It draws a large crowd to Constitution Avenue NW, from Seventh to 17th streets. The grandstand (a $20 seat) is between 15th and 17th streets. Nearby are the Archives and Federal Triangle Metro stations.
Tips for travelers
Circulator/Metrobus changes. The D.C. Circulators, the distinctive red, black and silver buses with the $1 fares, help tourists get around, but several routes have changed. The District dropped the Convention Center-Waterfront route. Metrobus Route 74 covers much the same ground, for a higher fare. It’s $1.50 with a SmarTrip card and $1.75 with cash.
The Georgetown-Union Station and Union Station-Navy Yard routes no longer stop inside the Union Station garage. Look for them now on the east side of Columbus Circle, which is in front of the station. On April 1, the Union Station-Navy Yard route will extend its evening hours to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.