Under a canopy of cherry blossoms, Ray Gou of Boston, Massachusetts, prepares to set up her camera to take a photo near the Tidal Basin in 2018. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Spring in Washington has long been connected to two words: cherry blossoms. The trees, about 3,800 of which ring the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park in downtown Washington, were a gift from the Japanese government in 1912. The pink-and-white flowers aren’t in full bloom, but festivities kicked off over the weekend and continue through April 14. We have cherry-picked (ha!) a half-dozen free events we think you might enjoy. If you want to see the trees in all their glory, the National Park Service estimates peak bloom will be April 3-6. But like predicting the weather well in advance, the blossom forecast is tricky. For updates and details on other related events, a parent can go to nationalcherryblossom

Blossom Kite Festival

What: Fly a kite and watch demonstrations, competitions and battles among rokkaku, six-sided Japanese kites.

Where: Washington Monument grounds, 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest Washington.

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Six-year-old Aksho Bhya from Princeton, New Jersey, gets his kite off the ground during the annual Cherry Blossom Kite Festival on March 30 at the grounds of the Washington Monument. (Hector Emanuel/For The Washington Post)

People explore the blooming cherry blossoms at sunrise next to the Tidal Basin on April 02. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)


What: Music on several stages, treats for pets, artwork and fireworks.

Where: The Wharf, 1100 Maine Avenue, Southwest Washington.

When: April 6, noon to 9:30 p.m.

Student art show

What: Cherry blossom artwork from D.C. students.

Where: Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street, Northwest Washington.

When: Until April 12. Tuesday-Friday, noon to 4 p.m.; April 6, noon to 4 p.m.; April 7, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; April 8, noon to 4 p.m.

Stone Lantern Lighting

What: The lantern, a gift from Japan in 1954, dates from 1651. It’s lighted once a year in an event that includes traditional Japanese music.

Where: Tidal Basin, Independence Avenue and 17th Street, Southwest Washington.

When: April 7, 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Six hundred dancers perform a routine to “Dancing in the Streets” at the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in 2017. (J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post)

Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

What: Floats, giant balloons, singers, dancers and marching bands will parade through the heart of Washington.

Where: Constitution Avenue, between Seventh and 17th streets, Northwest Washington.

When: April 13, 10 a.m. to noon.

Sakura Sunday

What: Japanese-inspired music, dance and martial arts demonstrations along with Japanese food for sale.

Where: National Harbor, 165 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland.

When: April 14, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Details: Visit nationalharbor.com/event/sakura-sunday.