The Best Events & Activities for Families During Cherry Blossom Season

Blossoms, kites, and lots of peops at the annual Blossom Kite Festival

 

It’s peak time in DC as cherry blossom season has begun! Not only is the city at its prettiest when the famous flowers are in bloom, there are also loads of special events and activities to celebrate them. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 14 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching opportunities over several weeks, plus there are some blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak experience. Happy Cherry Blossom Season!

Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Late March
Admission: Free

Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. Get a glimpse of the 2024 bloom!  And view scenes from blooms past herehere and here.

ISEKAI: Blooming Parallel Worlds
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through June 11
Admission: $20-25/adult, $17/age 4-15, $72/family 4-pack

The spring  exhibition at ARTECHOUSE is always a celebration of the cherry blossoms, and this year ISEKAI: Blooming Parallel Worlds explores multiple universes of blossoms — inspired by Anime. Floor to ceiling projections, plus interactive elements make this one beautiful, engaging, and fun to experience. Get a glimpse of it here.

Help a Wishing Tree Grow
Where: Planet Word | Downtown DC
When: March 20 – April 16
Admission: Free, but passes required

During the cherry blossom season, Planet Word invites guests to help build a Wishing Tree. They can select a poem from a collection of poetry, write it on a slip of paper, and place it inside an origami paper petal ‘pocket’ that is adhered to the branches of the museum’s cherry blossom tree. At the end of the festival, the petals will be passed on to visitors in the museum as a symbol of friendship. Note that (free) passes are required for admission to the museum. Read more about Planet Word in this KFDC post.

Petal Porches
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Through April 16
Admission: Free

This newer tradition invites residents in DC and surrounding communities in MD and VA to decorate their front yards, porches, and windows to show their cherry blossom spirit during the Festival’s run. A digital map with the locations of all registered Petal Porches will be made available, so we can all get in on the fun and do some Petal Porch viewing!

Art in Bloom
Where: Around DC
When: Through April 14
Admission: Free

View blossom inspired art all around the city! The Giant Cherry Blossom sculptures scattered in all eight wards last year will be back in permanent locations. A map of them will be shared soon, so you can make it a mission to see all of them during the season!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 23 – April 7
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the cherry blossom peak, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area at a new location on West Basin Drive SW (between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorials and near the Japanese Pagoda).  The National Park Service will offer Ranger talks, Bloomin’ Junior Ranger activities, and more.  The daily live performances on the ANA stage presented by All Nippon Airways will take place 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. and showcase a cross-cultural mix of American, Japanese and other performing arts celebrating 110 years since the gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, DC. A full list of performers and performance schedules can be viewed here. 

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: March 23, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The Library of Congress is hosting a day of fun to celebrate cherry blossom season.  Family activities include Japanese drum and traditional dance performances, a book author talk, storytelling, and arts and crafts from Japan.  Get tickets here! And read more about the Library of Congress in this KFDC post.

Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 23, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the season of cherry blossoms with the American Art Mueum! Begin the day on the F Street Plaza (weather permitting) with a taiko drumming performance. The festivities continue in the Kogod Courtyard for Japanese pop, boogie, and more with Les The DJ. Be dazzled by the precision jump rope team, Kangaroo Kids, and enjoy other performances while kids make cherry-blossom themed crafts. Face painting is available for ages 12 and younger. A spring-themed scavenger hunt through the galleries extends the cherry blossom fun.

The Art of Pink
Where: Metropolitan Park | Arlington, VA
When: March 23, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Head to National Landing for Art of Pink, which celebrates artists, makers, and small businesses from across the region, featuring the Sari Sari Pop-Up Market by SAMASAMA. Experience a variety of art activities throughout the afternoon, including live mural paintings inspired by all things pink. Explore a preview of EatLoco’s Farmers Market and enjoy musical vibes throughout the event provided by DJ Em-Pulse and Les the DJ.

Bloomaroo
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: March 23, 2-9pm
Admission: Free

The Wharf’s annual Bloomaroo is a free spring extravaganza featuring a full day of cherry-blossom themed art, music, fireworks, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! Decorate koi kites, create haikus, do some karaoke, enjoy ballon art, sample matcha tea, and more.  There will also be beer gardens on District pier, s’mores at the firepit, and live music. It’ll all be capped off with a blossom fireworks finale.

Sakura Sunday
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Run, MD
When: March 24, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Join National Harbor for their annual Sakura Sunday Festival. The celebration will feature a wide array of free cultural activities including an artisanal Japanese marketplace, cultural performances, culinary delights, and more! Read more about all there is to do at National Harbor here.

Hill Family Biking: Books & Blossoms Ride
Where: | Capitol Hill & Southwest, DC
When: March 24, 3:45pm
Admission: Free

Hill Family Biking is teaming up with DC Public Library for a ride to the stunning, new SW Library for a special story time and a librarian-guided tour of the facility with Cherry Blossom peeping opportunities all along the route. The ride starts at Eastern Market Metro and weaves down 3.7 miles of some of the most bikeable streets in the District to SW Library. There will be a scheduled exit from SW Library for anyone that wants to ride back to Eastern Market as a group.

Wizards Cherry Blossom Night
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 27, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Whoop it up at a special cherry blossom-themed basketball game! See the Wizards take on the Nets as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Purchase tickets through this link to get a cherry blossom water bottle. A portion of proceeds also supports year-round care for the iconic trees through the Trust for the National Mall.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 30, 10am – 4:30pm (rain date March 31)
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival, a favorite for many during the blossom season, will be back!  And the sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so plan to BYO. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

First Saturday
Where: National Gallery of Art | NationalMall, DC
When: April 6, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The NGA’s monthly series has a cherry blossom theme this time. In this installment, join the museum for kid’s films, create a floral collage, and make a custom-designed cherry blossom screenprint with local printmakers Soul and Ink. Then, enjoy pop-up musical performances and venture over to the Sculpture Garden for a tour of outdoor art installations.

Pink in the Pool
Where: Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness | Arlington, VA
When: April 6, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate cherry blossom season with swimming and more fun! Enjoy free access to the Long Bridge Aquatics Center, plus activities like an origami class, tea tasting, story time, free snacks, and more! Register in advance.

First Saturday
Where: National Gallery of Art | NationalMall, DC
When: April 6, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The NGA’s monthly series has a cherry blossom theme this time. In this installment, bring little ones to storytime, create floral art inspired by the season with paper artist Emily Paluska, and practice sketching with a stunning floral arrangement. There will also be face painting, musical performances, and a pop-up library showcasing Japan.

Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 6-7
Admission: Free

Welcome spring at the Mosaic District with a celebratory weekend featuring fun for all ages. Shop at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, sip on a cocktail while you stroll, and more!

Petalpalooza
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 6, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! This day-long signature event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be a blast, with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Go for awhile or just stop by for a bit. The evening will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.

Art & Me Preservation Family Workshop: Cherry Blossoms
Where: National Museum of Asian Art | National Mall, DC
When: April 6, 11am & 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate spring and DC’s beloved cherry blossoms with a festive family workshop cohosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This hands-on preservation workshop is designed for children ages 3-8 and their caretakers. Be sure to register here in advance!

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 13, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $25-40, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 13-14, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10-15/ages 13+, $50/family package, free/12 & under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest exhibition of Japanese culture. The 61st annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. And once again, it will be held over two days!  PS: Note that the family package for $50 includes 2 one-day entry tickets  (kids 12 & under are free), 2 kids T-shirts , 2 Omen masks for kids, and 2 Japanese Snacks

Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary

Get a new perspective of the blossoms and enjoy some outdoor recreation on a paddling excursion. Several boathouses will open during cherry blossom season, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Basin, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC..

 

Which events are you looking forward to this cherry blossom season?

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