Everything you need to know about the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival attendees at the Tidal Basin in March 2022. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)
18 min

The third-warmest winter on record has led to changes at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Festival events were initially scheduled to begin March 20. Then the National Park Service projected that peak bloom — the period when 70 percent of the Japanese cherry trees around the Tidal Basin will be at their pinkest, fluffiest and most photogenic — will occur between March 22 and 25, with trees beginning to blossom before those dates.

To ensure that visitors can make the most of the whole blossom experience, the Park Service’s Welcome Area at the Tidal Basin, which features live performances, tours and activities for families, will now open March 18, meaning the festival stretches to five weekends instead of the planned four.

Headed out to see the D.C. cherry blossoms? Play our bingo card.

So how do you take advantage of the extra time with one of Washington’s most popular tourist attractions, responsible for drawing 1.6 million visitors before the pandemic? Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local who never tires of the trees but wants to see something new, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to have, well, a peak experience.