Cherry Blossom Festival: What to Know Before You Go

      Are you ready for one of DC’s largest spectator events? Every year, more than 1.5 million visitors from around the world travel to the District to witness a transformation — the annual blooming of the cherry blossom trees. Gifted to our nation's capital by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo in March 1912, more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees bring an explosion of life to the city and are celebrated with a series of events that are primarily free and open to the public. This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival will take place on March 20 to April 14, 2019 and we're here to provide you with all you should know before you go!

      Getting to the cherry blossoms doesn't have to be a burden and there are several ways to join in on the fun at the Tidal Basin and other official events. To make it easy, we've partnered with the National Cherry Blossom Festival to bring you a FREE guide to get to the blossoms, including:

      • Travel options to signature events
      • Transportation choices to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and official Welcome Centers
      • National Mall monuments and memorial locations

      *Be sure to make room for peak bloom on April 1, 2019!



      Below are our recommendations for getting to the top destinations:



      The DC Circulator’s National Mall route provides direct access to the blossoms at the Tidal Basin. Hop off at stops 6, 7 or 8 to tour the blooms, or continue on the route for unparalleled access to the National Mall’s Smithsonian museums. The nearest Capital Bikeshare stations to the Tidal Basin are Jefferson Dr & 14th St SW, 17th St & Independence Ave SW, Ohio Dr & West Basin Dr SW/MLK & FDR Memorials, and Jefferson Memorial/Ohio Dr. Capital Bikeshare rides start at just $2. Download the Capital Bikeshare app for current bike and station availability.  

      Take in the view from the river with the DC Water Taxi! Board at Georgetown’s Washington Harbour or at the Tidal Basin. Tickets are available at

      To access the Tidal Basin by Metrorail, take the Orange, Blue or Silver lines to Smithsonian Metro station or L’Enfant Metro station. Yellow and Green lines can also be used to reach L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.



      1501 Maine Ave SW

      The ANA Airlines Performance Stage will host a series of daily performances throughout the festival from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

      Take the Orange, Blue or Silver line to Smithsonian Metro station, or take the DC Circulator's National Mall route and disembark on 15th St NW by the Washington Monument.

      The nearest Capital Bikeshare stations are located on the National Mall near the Washington Monument at Jefferson Dr & 14th St SW and 17th St & Independence Ave SW.



      Warner Theatre - 513 13th St NW

      The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 23, from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm, at the Warner Theatre.

      To get there, take Metrorail’s Red, Orange, Silver or Blue line to Metro Center.

      The nearest Capital Bikeshare stations to the theatre are 14th & D St NW/Ronald Reagan Building, 10th & E St NW, and 15th & Pennsylvania Ave NW.

      Take the DC Circulator's National Mall route to disembark on Constitution Ave NW and then walk a short distance to the Warner Theatre.



      Washington Monument - near 17th St and Constitution Ave, NW

      Anyone can participate in the Blossom Kite Festival! Just bring your kite to the grounds of the Washington Monument on March 30 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

      The Blossom Kite Festival is accessible by Metrorail’s Orange, Blue and Silver lines  the Smithsonian Metro station is closest to the event.

      DC Circulator’s National Mall route services the entire Mall, with direct stops along 15th St NW.

      Capital Bikeshare stations are also located on the National Mall near the Washington Monument at Jefferson Dr & 14th St SW, 17th St & Independence Ave SW, and 15th & Constitution Ave NW.



      The Wharf, 1100 Maine Avenue, SW

      The inaugural Petalpalooza will have its outdoor extravaganza on Saturday, April 6 at The Wharf from noon to 9:30 pm, including a fireworks display (weather permitting) that will take place at 8:30 pm.  

      The Wharf is DC’s newest half-mile-long waterfront destination. Formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, Petalpalooza will feature live music on multiple outdoor stages, a beer garden, all-ages activities, product giveaways, a spectacular fireworks show, and much more along the piers of the Southwest Waterfront, the “home of the cherry blossoms.”

      The Wharf can be accessed by Metro’s Green line to Waterfront Metro station or the Orange and Blue lines to L’Enfant Plaza Metro.

      Taking Capital Bikeshare? There are three stations nearby: Maine Ave & 9th St SW, Maine Ave & 7th St SW, and 4th & M St SW (Waterfront Metro). 



      Constitution Ave NW between 7th St NW and 17th St NW

      Marching bands and performers from across the country will participate in the iconic, one-mile annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on April 13 from 10:00 am to noon.

      Non-ticketed attendees may take Metrorail to the free viewing portions of the parade between 9th and 15th St NW:

      • To stand on the north side of Constitution Ave, take Green or Yellow lines to Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Metro station or Blue, Orange, Red or Silver lines to Metro Center.
      • To stand on the south side, take the Blue, Green, Orange, Silver, or Yellow line to L’Enfant Plaza, or Blue or Orange line to Smithsonian Metro.

      DC Circulator's National Mall route also serves the parade route via the stop at Madison St NW.

      There are several Capital Bikeshare stations within walking distance of the parade route.

      *Ticketed attendees should consult their tickets for directions to their assigned seats.



      Go for a spin on Capital Bikeshare! The shiny red bikes and new, slick, black e-bikes are DC-area icons and there are stations located throughout the city and along the National Mall. goDCgo encourages you to use Bikeshare to shorten the distance between Metrorail and festival events. To sweeten the experience, Capital Bikeshare will offer FREE Corral Service on the National Mall at the height of peak bloom. Corral Service offers guaranteed open docks by having staff on-hand to remove bikes when the station's docks are full.

      Where: Jefferson Dr & 14th St SW

      • Saturday, April 6: 9am - 6pm
      • Sunday, April 7: 9am - 6pm 
      • Saturday, April 13: 9am - 6pm
      • Sunday, April 14: 9am - 6pm

      Capital Bikeshare Corral

      Visit for single-trip and 24-hour passes or download the app for passes, as well as real-time bike and dock availability. 


      WRITTEN BY: goDCgo

      goDCgo is an initiative of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) that encourages the use of sustainable transportation. We provide complimentary transit resources and consulting services to DC organizations and commuters. Our goal serves to decrease traffic congestion, improve air quality and create a better quality of life in the DC area.

      Leave a Comment