I look forward to spring all year. Knowing it’s the next season gets me through the dark days of winter. While those feelings are somewhere in the ball of anxiety bouncing around in my stomach lately, it’s still great to get outside.
The days are weird, but the city is beautiful. The weather should also be excellent this weekend, with plenty of sun and highs in the 50s. Some rain on Monday may dampen viewing, but peak bloom should continue into next week.
Out of almost 200,000 street and city park trees that are catalogued by the DDOT Urban Forestry Division, just shy of 9,000 are cherry blossom trees. According to the database, there are about 1,850 of the famed Yoshino cherry trees, plus many other varieties to enjoy.
For now, let’s pretend the Tidal Basin trees don’t exist and take a look at other key spots in the city. I examined the D.C. government files for neighborhood clusters to isolate where the most cherry blossom trees can be found.
The leader overall is the Friendship Heights, American University, Tenleytown cluster. You can find about 700 public cherry trees in those neighborhoods alone! To its south, the Spring Valley, Palisades, Foxhall region is a close second, with just shy of 700 such trees.
Rounding out the top five neighborhood cluster for city cherry blossoms: third most is the Brightwood Park, Petworth zone; fourth most is Congress Heights, Bellevue and Washington Highlands; and for fifth most, there’s Hawthorne, Barnaby Woods and Chevy Chase.
Although there are many beautiful cherry tree types that bloom over the course of spring, the Yoshino of the Tidal Basin are a crowd favorite. To me, they look like clouds. I just want to hug them and then take a nap among their blossoms.
So if we’re only looking for the famed Yoshino trees, there are a few particular spots worth checking out. Below are the top four city spots, all in the northern part of the District, plus a zone in the southeast.
- Michigan Park, Northeast — On the west side of Michigan Park and just north of University Heights, a stretch of Puerto Rico Avenue has dozens of Yoshino trees.
- Foxhall Village, Northwest — The heart of this Yoshino bunch runs from the circle on Greenwich Parkway, then south on Surrey Lane. It’s all right off Foxhall Road. The area also has a lot of Kwanzan Cherries, which will bloom in the next few weeks.
- Cleveland Park, Northwest — With the National Cathedral in the background, many roads in this neighborhood feature plenty of cherry trees. A big patch sits off Idaho Ave, near the Hearst Recreation Center. Other dominant groups can be found on the roads running east/west from Porter to Macomb streets.
- American University Park, Northwest — Take a walk between Massachusetts and Western avenues along 49th Street and you’ll see a whole lot of blossoms. Some of the other side streets like Asbury Place might be worth a look, as well.
- Congress Heights, Southeast — This came in as the ninth biggest smaller-scale Yoshino spot in the city, but it was one outside the main quadrant, so worth noting. The cloud trees are frequent along the Fourth Street, fork to the north of Simon Elementary School. Mississippi Avenue also has a number.
It’s also worth considering Hains Point. It is packed with trees along a beautiful trail, and it has plenty of open space for moving about. Like the Tidal Basin, it might be on the busier side on the weekend. (If so, turn around and look for blossoms elsewhere!) There are also quite a few in Lower Senate Park on the east side of the Capitol.
There are also some great blossom spots outside the city in Maryland and Virginia. Let us know where you’re peeping them. And don’t forget to check out the blossoms responsibly!