The Blazen Divaz of Idaho perform at the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington last year. (J. Lawler Duggan for The Washington Post)

This weekend will be particularly busy in the nation’s capital, with the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and related events and the District’s Emancipation Day celebrations.

We finally get some spring warmth this weekend, which could boost enthusiasm for some of the outdoor events. The Capital Weather Gang forecast shows a warming trend into the weekend. With a mix of clouds and sun, Saturday is likely to be the better of the two days for local travel, including visits to the Tidal Basin to check out the cherry blossoms. Sunday is likely to be overcast.

If you’re planning to drive, you should be aware of the extensive road closures and parking restrictions around the parades and other special events. See a map with details below. Public transportation is always recommended. Metro is taking a break from major daytime track work — which is great for visitors — and most lines will operate on largely regular weekend schedules.  Metrobus routes around the events may be detoured and face extra delays.


The Cherry Blossom Festival alone draws thousands of visitors, and this weekend may be the biggest yet because of the promised good weather. The blossoms are still putting on a good show around the Tidal Basin.

Besides the Cherry Blossom and Emancipation Day activities, crowds are also expected at other events including the Sakura Mastsuri-Japanese Street Festival that will close portions of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, from Third Street to Seventh Street NW, and some sporting events this weekend. The Nationals play at home at 7.05 p.m. Friday, 1:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:35 p.m. Sunday.  The Capitals have a game at Capital One Arena at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Here are more details about the Cherry Blossom parade and Emancipation Day events, including the street closures that could add to your travel time this weekend.

Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Expect extra congestion downtown as one of the District’s largest tourist attractions of the season brings floats and marching bands to Constitution Avenue NW.

The parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. It proceeds west along Constitution Avenue from Seventh to 17th Street. Reserved seating, on the west side of the route, starts at $20. But you can stand on Constitution Avenue between Ninth and 15th streets free. It’s recommended you arrive early, specially with the good forecast.

Driving to this event will be difficult — so don’t. There will be thousands of spectators and road closures that will add to traffic congestion in the city. Police say Constitution Avenue and its intersections will be closed from Sixth Street to 23rd Street, from 9 a.m. until around 9 p.m. A full list of road closures is here.

Fourth and Seventh streets, between Constitution Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW, will close beginning at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

Parking along the parade route will be prohibited, and police warn about ticketing and towing.

The one-mile stretch of the parade can be accessed from multiple Metro stations. The nearest rail stations for spectators planning to see it from the free standing areas are Archives, Federal Triangle and Metro Center on the north side of the parade and L’Enfant Plaza and Smithsonian on the south side.

D.C.′s Emancipation Day

The District’s Emancipation Day celebrations are scheduled for Saturday. The celebration will kick off with a parade from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. along Pennsylvania Avenue, between 10th and 14th streets NW. A concert featuring Brandy, Big Daddy Kane and others will follow starting at 3 p.m. at Freedom Plaza. The celebration will conclude with fireworks.

D.C. police said the following roads around Freedom Plaza will be closed from 7 a.m. to midnight:

  • E Street NW from 13th Street NW to 14th Street NW.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 12th Street NW to 14th Street NW.
  • 13th Street NW from E Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Tenth Street NW between E Street and Pennsylvania Avenue will close from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the parade staging area. The following streets will be closed from 1 to 3 p.m. for the parade:

  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from Ninth Street NW to 14th Street NW.
  • 10th Street NW between E Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW.
  • 11th Street NW between E Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • 12th Street NW between E Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW.
  • 13th Street NW from E Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
  • E Street NW between 13th Street NW and 14th Street NW.

The nearest Metro stations for parade spectators are Federal Triangle, Metro Center and Archives. Those stations are also close to the concert at Freedom Plaza.