The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

These Cherry Blossom Festival events let you safely explore the city or just watch from your couch

“Renewal 2121” is the cherry blossom-themed exhibition at Artechouse, on view until September. (Artechouse)
Placeholder while article actions load

The celebrations around the second socially distant National Cherry Blossom Festival include a mix of outdoor activities, which can be experienced while staying a safe distance from other people, and interactive events enjoyed from the comfort of your own couch or backyard.

The festival runs from March 20 to April 11. For the full schedule of official events, go to nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

“Renewal 2121” at Artechouse

The annual cherry blossom-themed exhibit at Artechouse, a museum dedicated to cutting-edge digital art, places visitors a century into the future, exploring “an industrial city where nature fights to survive amid an overdeveloped metropolis.” Capacity is limited, and timed-admission tickets are required. Open daily from March 12 through Sept. 6. artechouse.com. $17-$24; discounts available through March 15.

Cherry blossoms reimagined: After uncertainty in 2020, D.C. festivals find a way forward in 2021

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The American Art Museum offers two chances for kids (and parents) to enjoy hands-on experiences during the festival. On March 20, watch a performance by Japanese drumming ensemble Nen Daiko, who will discuss how they design their own instruments, followed by docents leading workshops about nature and color. On March 27, the Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop features conservators talking about how they preserve Japanese paintings and decorative objects, followed by cherry blossom crafting. Both virtual sessions are free, but registration is required. americanart.si.edu.

Blues Alley’s Japanese Jazz Series

Venerable jazz club Blues Alley is teaming with the Embassy of Japan to present a streaming jazz concert featuring ensembles led by three Japanese pianists: Miki Yamanaka (6 p.m.), Eri Yamamoto (8 p.m.), and Yoko Miwa (10 p.m.). March 20 from 6 to 11 p.m. bluesalley.com. Free.

Petal Porch Parade

This new program is designed to spread the cheery colors of spring beyond the Tidal Basin and into the city’s neighborhoods. Residents sign up to decorate their yards, porches or balconies with cherry blossom-inspired art installations, which they promise to leave in place through April 11. The National Cherry Blossom Festival website plots each display on a map with brief descriptions, such as “a shining pink beacon bringing spring joy to neighbors” or “pink toddler dreamland,” allowing others to find nearby displays. On April 10 and 11, a “Petal Procession” of cars decorated by local artists will drive through the neighborhoods with the most participating homes. March 20 to April 11. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

National Harbor Cherry Blossom Celebration

More than 200 flowering cherry trees bloom at National Harbor each spring, usually unveiling their pink blossoms before the trees at the Tidal Basin. Throughout the Cherry Blossom Festival, National Harbor hosts “Sakura Sundays,” with both virtual and in-person art and cooking classes, while restaurants and shops offer cherry blossom-themed specials, and the Capital Wheel Ferris wheel is lit with pink lights. March 20 to April 11. nationalharbor.com.

Six spots where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms away from the Tidal Basin

Art in Bloom

In the tradition of the brightly painted pandas, donkeys and elephants that have graced D.C.’s streets, the Art in Bloom program is placing 25 oversize cherry blossom sculptures around the area, each decorated by a different artist. The blossoms shouldn’t be hard to miss — they’re over 5 feet high, weigh at least 850 pounds, and are all located outdoors — but a map will be available on the festival website to make it easier to track them all down. When the display is over, the blossoms will be auctioned off to raise money for the festival. March 20 to April 30. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

Blossom Kite Fly

Flying kites on the National Mall is a long-running tradition at the Cherry Blossom Festival, but concerns about crowds mean that organizers would like people to fly kites closer to home. Between March 15 and 27, the Blossom Kite Fly website will feature tips on building kites using common items found around the house and workshops with experts demonstrating how to keep a kite flying high. Then, on March 27 and 28, fly a kite in your yard or a local park, and post a photo on social media with #BlossomKiteFly. March 27 and 28. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. Flying a kite and/or watching videos is free; the National Cherry Blossom Festival is selling an official kite kit for $20 through March 15.

Pink Tie Party

Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis — the hosts of “The Tommy + Kelly Show” on the streaming channel Real.Fun.DC. — are the ringmasters at this interactive virtual celebration. Tickets include a three-course dinner from one of dozens of local restaurants, and there are plenty of extras for your Big Night In, including an optional guided sake tasting, an online auction, musical entertainment, party favors and giveaways. Dressing up in fancy pink attire is strongly suggested. March 26 from 7 to 10 p.m. nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. $100-$135.

Sakura Matsuri Virtual Community Gathering

The Japan-American Society of Washington’s Sakura Matsuri street festival is a highlight of a “normal” cherry blossom festival, filling streets with music, martial arts demonstrations, vendors and food stands. This virtual version tries to capture the spirit with music and dance performances, cultural demonstrations, and a chance to purchase Japanese products from vendors. April 3 from noon to 3 p.m. jaswdc.org. Free.

The Late Shift Online: Cherry Blossom Jubilee

There are two ways to experience cherry blossom-inspired art at the Torpedo Factory: Visit between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday to explore the works throughout the Alexandria arts center, or tune in to Facebook Live during this special presentation for a virtual tour of studios throughout the building and behind-the-scenes videos of three resident artists at work. April 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. torpedofactory.org. Free.

Loading...