Spring is really here, folks – the National Cherry Blossom Festival officially kicks off with its opening ceremony this Sunday evening, and peak bloom should begin on Tuesday. Here are 18 events and activities, from muddy river cleanups to chic dinner parties, celebrating the district’s beloved spring flowers.
Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
Sunday March 20 at 5 p.m.
513 13th St., NW or virtual
This annual celebration of the US-Japan relationship marks the official start of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Returning in person after a two-year pandemic hiatus, the event will be held at the Warner Theater and will feature performances by a samurai artist and several international musicians. Free Tickets Sold Out, But $15 Bonus tickets for orchestra seats are still availableand the performances will also be streamed live on the Festival’s YouTube channel.
Japanese Culture Day at the Library of Congress
Saturday April 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
10 First Street, SE
This cultural celebration in the library’s Thomas Jefferson Building will include a presentation of Japanese drumming, a karate demonstration, hands-on origami lessons, kamishibai (Japanese storytelling) and other demonstrations of Japanese arts and culture. Admission is free, but timed passes are required.
Cherry Blossom Jubilee at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Sunday April 10 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
105 N. Union Street, Alexandria
The Torpedo Factory art center in the Old Town will celebrate the flowers with a festival of live art performances and demonstrations, including a performance by the taiko drum group Nen Daiko.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Pink Tie Dinner
Thursday April 28 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Attendees can dress up pretty in pink for this chic fundraising dinner. Unlike previous years, the 2022 party will be limited to 400 guests and will have a mostly seated format to allow for greater social distancing. A $250 ticket includes a cocktail with sushi and sake, a dinner menu curated by TCMA Executive Chef Houman Goharya, a silent auction and an after-dinner dance party.
Clean Waterways Cherry Blossom Cleanse
Sunday March 20 at 10 a.m.
1330 Maryland Ave, SW
Join Anacostia Riverkeepers for a spring cleanup! Participants must register to join and wear closed shoes and clothes that don’t mind getting dirty when removing plastics and other trash from the river. All supplies are provided.
Blooming Kite Festival
Sunday March 27 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This classic cherry blossom event returns to the grounds of the National Monument this year, where kite enthusiasts and casual spectators alike can enjoy the colorful display. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you can still join in the festivities at other participating parks around DC.
Outdoor Concert Enchanted Rhapsody by Edgewood String Quartet
Saturday April 9 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
6th St. S & S Ball St., Arlington
String musicians will perform a concert of songs by Taylor Swift and Queen outside Long Bridge Park. Admission is free, but registration is mandatory. Food and drinks from RĀKO and other local vendors will be available.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Saturday April 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Constitution Ave., NW, between 7th and 17th streets
The famous pink parade is back! Parts of the route are open to the general public to watch the elaborate floats, balloons and marching bands. Or you can buy $25 grandstand tickets to get an even better view.
Sakura Matsuri Street Festival
Saturday April 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday April 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pennsylvania Ave, NW
The Sakura Matsuri Street Festival is one of the biggest celebrations of Japanese culture in the United States. It features a long list of fun exhibits and vendors, including over 20 Japanese food vendors, a cosplay contest, and sake tasting. Tickets start at $10 for a day pass, but if you plan to bring the kids, there are also family packages.
Anacostia River Festival
Sunday April 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Anacostia Park (Good Hope Rd., SE and Anacostia Dr., SE)
Come for the river views, stay for the Go-Go music. At this annual festival celebrating the communities along the Anacostia, visitors can enjoy a series of live music performances, including drum lines and military bands, as well as river activities such as the canoeing and fishing. Activities on the water are free but done requires pre-registration.
Sunday April 10 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Capitol Riverfront in the yards
This festival offers a little (or a lot) of everything: live music on several outdoor stages, several interactive art exhibits, a beer garden, and fireworks. The family celebration takes place on the banks of the Anacostia for free – no registration required.
New Ways to Browse Flowers
City Cruises Potomac Water Taxi
Cruises begin March 18
A way to avoid the crowds? Stay on the water. Starting today, City Cruises is offering a Cherry Blossom Water Taxi tour of the Potomac with routes connecting the dock to Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria and the National Harbor. Water taxi tours run Wednesday through Sunday with tickets starting at $23. City Cruises too offers specialty cherry blossom-themed food cruises, including a dinner cruise with fireworks April 2 and 16.
Cherry Blossom Rides on Pedego Electric Bike
Tours begin March 19
210 North Lee St. #102, Alexandria
If you’re looking for less workout and more ride, Pedego Electric Bikes offers tours from its location in Alexandria through East Potomac Point Park to the Tidal Basin. $69 tours are offered daily while the flowers last.
Unlimited Bikes”Washington DC.: Blossoms by Guided Bike Tour”
Tours begin March 20
998 Maine Ave, SW
Unlimited Biking offers three-hour guided bike tours which start in Alexandria and travel through the flowers around the Tidal Basin as well as the monuments. The rides, which take place daily and include rental bikes and other equipment, cost $54 for adults and $49 for children.
Cherry blossom art to explore
Pixelbloom at ARTECHOUSE
Open from March 20 to June 5
1238 Maryland Ave, SW
This immersive and interactive audio-visual art exhibit invites visitors into a bright virtual world full of floral patterns and vibrant colors. A $25 ticket is good for 60 minutes inside the facility, though it doesn’t include drinks from the “extended reality bar,” which serves cherry blossom-themed cocktails with beer and wine.
Exhibition “Exploring Hiroshige and his influence on social networks”
Open from March 22 to May 13, Monday to Friday
1150 18th St., NW Suite 100
The Japan Culture and Information Center, part of the Japanese Embassy, hosts the main exhibition of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which features works by Utagawa Hiroshige, a wood engraver famous for his stunning landscape paintings in vivid colors. Hiroshige’s pieces sit side by side with modern photos inspired by his paintings; the exhibition explores the parallels between the artist’s work from the 19th century and today’s images shared on social networks.
“Sip and Paint: Cherry Blossoms” at Shop Made in Virginia
Saturday March 26 and Saturday April 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
1121 King Street, Alexandria
Create your own cherry blossom inspired art. The $35 admission includes locally created paint-by-number prints of the flowers, other paint materials and, best of all, two glasses of wine.
Cherry Blossom exhibition at the Torpedo Factory Art Center
From April 2 to May 1
105 N. Union Street, Alexandria
Participating artists from all three floors of the Alexandria Torpedo Factory will fill their studios with cherry blossom-inspired artwork throughout the month of April. Whether you’re looking to buy floral art or just browse the galleries, the Art Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.