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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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Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2024)

[Note: This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now verrry outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor revisions applicable to this year’s bloom.]

🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸
Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted by the National Park Service to occur March 23-26 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s spring agenda. Happy Viewing!

 

The peak brings the crowds

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the city bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro — it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also likely to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the Tidal Basin for the blossom scene. Another good option is the bus — the DC Circulator runs between Eastern Market and L’Enfant Plaza, a convenient route with even more to do on both ends. And the 32, 34, and 36 routes of Metrobus stop at the National Mall close to the Washington Monument.

*If you absolutely must drive and need parking you miiight find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin. There is also garage parking at L’Enfant Plaza, which is a short stroll to the blossoms as well. Your best bet, though, may be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. You can ensure yourself a spot with Spot Hero, an online parking reservation service that lets you search for and reserve garage spaces in advance.

 

Beautiful light and barely any others on a weekday morning last year

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility.  Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it likely still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. Even better if you can go super early, when the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting.

 

A babe enjoying the blossoms

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson back in my kids’ baby days on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

 

Kites and blossoms (and crowds) during the annual Kite Festival

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration that runs March 20 – April 14.  The Blossom Kite Festival, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri are among them, and there are some non-official festival happenings as well.  Most events take place nearby the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. Peak bloom is expected to occur right after the festival starts, so you can enjoy some of the blossom-inspired activities and the efflorescent trees at the same time.

 

 

See the blossoms from the water

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Potomac Water Taxi, City Cruises, and Boomerang Boat Tours are some to check out. You can also opt for a paddling excursion and navigate the waters yourself.  Or go on a bike tour to easily cover more ground and experience the blossoms from two wheels.

 

Cherry blossoms at the National Arboreum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful  environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual cherry blossoms only add to it. Stanton Park on Capitol Hill glows with the pink and white trees this time of year.  Congressional Cemetery has some nice, cherry tree-lined paths (that have already been blooming) and a few around the large locale. President Lincoln’s Cottage in Petworth  has cherry trees on the grounds. And Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, has a nice collection of the trees, too.

 

Flying amid the flowers

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the memorials are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington, DC.  Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos

 

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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Spring, Virginia

The Best Activities & Events for Families During Cherry Blossom Season

 

We’re about to hit one of the best times of the year in DC: Cherry Blossom Season! 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 it. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 18 – April 16 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 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. And view scenes from blooms past here, here and here.

PIXELBLOOM: Timeless Butterflies
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through June 5
Admission: $20-25/adult, $17/age 4-15, $72/family of 4

The exhibits at ARTECHOUSE often reflect the season in some way, and for the sixth year, they are highlighting spring by celebrating the cherry blossoms with a gorgeous digital exhibit that immerses you in blooms and butterflies. Floor to ceiling projections, plus interactive elements make this one beautiful, engaging, and delightful to experience! Get more of 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!

A past petal “porch” on Capitol Hill

Art in Bloom
Where: Around DC
When: Through April 16
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. Find a map of them here and make it a mission to see all of them during the season!

Cherry Blossom Programming for Children
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: Select dates in March (see below)
Admission: $15

This spring, curiosity is in full bloom at National Children’s Museum. In celebration of the season and peak bloom, families can join the museum for the some STEAM programs inspired by the natural world. March 23 & 30: Blossom-themed STEAM Story Times. March 24: Baby Jam. March 26: Helicopter seeds launcher design and build challenge using recycled materials to learn about the aerodynamics of seed dispersal under the Museum’s main entrance awnings (free) + Haiku exploration and experimentation pop-up (included in Museum admission). Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Select dates during peak bloom
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. 

Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 25, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free
Join SAAM for their annual celebration of spring and the blooming trees of DC. Enjoy taiko drumming and traditional Japanese dance performances, and break out your best Japanese pop dance moves with Les the DJ. Craft your own cherry blossom trees to take home, make a kinobori kite to fly at the kite festival, or try your hand at an origami Sakura. And ascavenger hunt will add some extra fun to explore the galleries with a scavenger hunt and enjoy festive. Register in advance. See more about the museum in this KFDC post. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Wizards Cherry Blossom Night
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 24, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Whoop it up at a special cherry blossom-themed basketball game! See the Wizards take on the Spurs as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Purchase tickets through this link to get a cherry blossom bucket hat.

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.

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 26, 10am – 4:30pm
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. Note the date change from March 25 to March 26!

First Saturday
Where: National Gallery of Art | NationalMall, DC
When: April 1
Admission:

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.

Bloomaroo
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 1, 2-9pm
Admission: Free

Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, a free spring extravaganza featuring a full day of cherry-blossom themed art, music, fireworks, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! Enjoy beer gardens on District pier, s’mores at the firepit, and live music. It’ll all be capped it all off with a blossom fireworks finale.

Pink in the Pool
Where: Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness | Arlington, VA
When: April 1, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate cherry blossom season at National Landing with morning activities for families.  Starting with Pink in the Pool, jump into a splash of pink at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center. Families are invited to take a free swim and toss around pink beach balls. After a dip in the pool, continue the fun with kite and origami making, face painting, giveaways, sweet treats from Kona Ice, and tons of pink.  Free pool passes are required — reserve them here.

Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: April 2 | 1pm, 1:30pm, & 2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with this free event at Frying Pan Farm Park. Trek on their nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Along the way, visit stations that are peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, discuss woodland creatures, and search for critters in the soil and water. Plan to enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too! Recommended for ages 5+.

Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 1-2, 11am – 5pm
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!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 1, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The Library of Congress is hosting a day of fun especially for kids to celebrate cherry blossom season.  All ages can learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. Books related to Japan and Japanese culture will also be on display.Other activities include Kamishibai (Japanese storytelling), hands-on origami lessonsJapanese calligraphy, decorative Koinobori and Japanese woodblock print coloring, tiara making with cherry blossom princesses, Kimono trial, and more. Register here! And read more about the Library of Congress in his KFDC post.

Sakura Sunday
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Run, MD
When: April 2, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Join National Harbor for their annual Sakura Sunday Festival. The celebration will feature cultural activities, including a Japanese market, art, music and dance performances, culinary delights, and much more! Read more about all there is to do at National Harbor here.

Petalpalooza
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 8, 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.

 

Racing Presidents sightings at the Cherry Blossom Parade

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 15, 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 15-16, 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 .

 

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

 

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Filed under 2023, DC, Spring

The Weekend Round-Up: April 8-10

Baseball season has begun!

 

Happy Weekend!

Quick links for go-to posts:
* Spring Things
* Cherry Blossom Festivities
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Indoor Outings
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Bike Rides
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids

The Nats are Back!
Where: National Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Baseball season has begun! The Nats kicked it off with an Opening Day game against the Mets, and the series continues through the weekend. There are evening games Friday and Saturday at 7:05pm, and an afternoon match-up on Sunday at 1:35pm. There are special promos and happenings, including a Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead giveaway and a cherry blossom celebration.  Back this season are Signature Sundays when two Nationals players, coaches or broadcasters will be available for autographs down the first base line near the Nationals dugout. (vouchers provided at Section 103 on a first-come, first-served basis), and Kids Run the Bases where young fans can loop the in field after the Sunday game.

Outdoor Movie Night
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 7:45-9pm
Admission: Free

In honor of Earth Month, The Yards and Capitol Riverfront BID are hosting The Yards Green Guide Movie Night, with a screening of The Lorax. It’s free to attend, but a $5 donation to the Anacostia Watershed Society is suggested — register in advance here. BYO chairs and blankets, and plan to pick up a food for a picnic under the stars at one of the many restaurants and eateries there.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 9, 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, and likely even more so after being cancelled for the last two years..

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 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 60th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Even better, this year it will be held over two days!

Bluebells at the Bend
Where: Riverbend Park | Great Falls, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm & 12-2pm
Admission: $8/advance, $10/at event

Celebrate the Virginia Bluebells as they blanket the banks of the Potomac River at Riverbend Park. This annual festival is back after a Covid hiatus and will have  wildflower walks, live animals, exhibitors, live music, crafts, and food trucks. There are two ticketed sessions, and you can save a couple of dollars by registering in advance online. Read more about Riverbend in this KFDC post. And to see what else is going on at other Fairfax County Parks, go here.

Festival of Spring
Where: Burnside Farm | Nokesville, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $8/day

Tiptoe (and stroll and frolic) through the tulips! Burnside Farm’s annual Festival of Spring showcasing the season’s flowers is open and blooming. Wander through the giant fields that contain 200 different varieties of tulips in a rainbow of colors and 30+ varieties of daffodils and pick your own to enjoy at home. Admission also includes all kinds of play opportunities — bouncy fun,  cornhole games, hop on-hop off wagon rides, antique tractors and a real life size caboose, authentic dutch wooden shoes to “klomp” around in, and more.  You can BYO food for lunch or a snack al fresco in the picnic area, too. Be sure to have your camera handy for some brilliant photo ops!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 9, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The Library of Congress is hosting a day of fun especially for kids to celebrate cherry blossom season.  All ages are welcome to learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals during the Library’s Japanese Culture day. Books related to Japan and Japanese culture will also be on display. Special highlights include a Japanese drum presentation by Miyako Taiko led by Mark Rooney (outside on the Plaza) and a karate demonstration by Tsuyoshi Takemori from D.C. Yamato-juku Club in the Great Hall.  Register here!

Food Waste Prevention Program
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Take on the role of a strawberry and try not to get wasted as you journey from farm to fork. Bring the whole family to participate in this 20 min outdoor game about food waste led by a very smart, but silly Strawberry. Players will learn about the daunting journey strawberries take in order to make it to our refrigerators – and the many obstacles they face in order to avoid the landfill. Other kid-friendly activities about food waste will round out the experience, as well as the chance to see the museum’s thought-provoking exhibition: Food for the People: Eating and Activism in Greater Washington.   Activities will take place both outdoors and indoors. Appropriate for children ages 4 and up, as well as their grown-ups.

White House Spring Garden Tours
Where: White House Grounds | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm & Sunday, 10am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required
Here’s a chance to see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and South Lawn at the White House. The annual Spring Garden and Grounds Tours are back and being held on Saturday and Sunday — and gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of.  They will be distributed at a National Park Service tent located near the Ellipse Visitors Pavilion each day starting at 8:30am. (That means you could be getting entry times for  later in the day, so plan accordingly as best you can.) Go here for more details and info on how to get tickets.

Early Egg Hunts
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Through April 3
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult, $5/egg hunt

The Easter Bunny hid some eggs  filled with treats to enchant children, and Great Country Farms welcomes kids to find them! There will be multiple egg hunts with timed ticket entrance ($7.50 extra).  Plan to see spring chicks and baby animals, take a wagon ride, and enjoy the sprawling play area, too!

Bunnyland
Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: April 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 11
Admission: $10/online, $12/at gate

Butler’s Orchards’s  popular spring festival begins this weekend, back wth all the trappings for seasonal fun: bunnies, eggs, and other Easter-related treats for young guests. Attractions include hayrides down the Day Trail, good baskets for children,  giant slides, jumping pads, farm animals, pedal tractors, and more.  Concessions are available, and there are  picnic tables if you prefer to pack a lunch.

Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Potomac Overlook Regional Park | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $8

Hop on over to Potomac Overlook and experience a brand-new kind of egg hunt. Pick up your egg hunt sheet at the nature center, explore the park for different “wooden eggs”, and then return to the nature center with your completed sheet for a prize!

Egg Hunt Days
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm | Clarksburg, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $8

Little ones (ages 1 to 3 and 4 to 6) will have a chance to hunt for eggs throughout the day at this Maryland Farm that looks like something out of a story book! After hunting, they get to turn the eggs in for a goodie bag. The petting farm, rides, and play areas will be open for all to enjoy, too. Be sure to take a look at the website for a heads-up on how the egg hunts will run, so you can make the most of your day there. Read more about Clarks Elioak in the KFDC post about the best outdoor places in the area.

Beastgirl
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through April 22
Tickets: $20

This exciting world premiere for young adults is based on the chapbook Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths by New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo. The collection of folkloric poems is brought to the stage with music as the play explores the mythological and geographic identities of three first generation American sisters. From the border in the Dominican Republic to an apartment rooftop in New York City, Beastgirl considers what it means to walk the world as “beastly” beings and how the myths that make us can be both blessing and birthright. Recommended for ages 12+.

Opera Starts with Oh!: Bringing Silvain To Life
Where: The Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 1:30-3:30pm
Admission: Pay what you can

young opera-goers can join the program that dives deep into Silvain and learn about all the aspects that bring it to life! Guest Artists: Sarah Laughland (dance), Jeannette Christensen (costume design), and Rachel Felstein (soprano) will rotate through different activities — dance, costume design, and opera singing — as it relates to the opera.

The Fantastic Tale of Rumpelstiltskin
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Through May 15
Tickets: $15

In a brand new production, the Puppet Co. gives you the full story of what happens after the gold has been spun and the day has been saved. This hilarious and smart comedy will be a great romp for adults and kids alike. Can you guess Rumpelstiltskin’s new name?! Recommended ages 4+. Run time approximately 50 minutes.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Super Cello!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $20

The city is safe with the help of a unique cellist: professional musician by day, superhero by night. SCOTTIE ROWELL of Atlanta’s TELLER PRODUCTIONS and NSO cellist DAVID TEIE unite to tell a fantastic story using puppets, props, and plenty of music to help a very super musician save the day. Recommended for ages 3+. Following select performances, young audience members can ask questions and hear stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with some of the artists.

Catch Me If You Can
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through April 17
Admission: $66-105 | Find Discount
Owen and I just saw this show recently, and it was fantastic — vibrant, and clever, and bursting with talent!  Here’s the official description:  Humor, music and dance drive this rousing musical based on true events and a critically acclaimed film. See how a charming, young con man posed as an airline pilot, a lawyer and then escaped police custody all before he turned 22. Where else, but Washington, DC, could a musical about con men and being conned be the perfect story we need right now? Recommended for tweens and up.

Mean Girls
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through April 24
Tickets: $45-199 (find discount)

Direct from Broadway, Mean Girls is the hilarious hit musical based on Tina Fey’s movie. Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Soon, this naïve newbie falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung. Recommended for age 10+.

Oklahoma!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through Sunday
Tickets: $49-159

This is Oklahoma! as you’ve never seen or heard it before — reimagined for the 21st century, and now the Tony winner for Best Revival of a Musical. Funny and sexy, provocative and probing, “this production shocked me and moved me. This is the OKLAHOMA! that was there all along,” raves New York Magazine. Direct from an acclaimed run on Broadway, OKLAHOMA! “lets us experience Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatness anew” (The New Yorker). Note that the show contains fog, loud gunshot effects, moments of total darkness, and violence. Recommended for ages 12+.

The Servant of Two Masters
Where: Synetic Theatre | Crystal City, VA
When: Through 24
Tickets: $20-50

Mistaken identities, wily servants, and madcap antics abound in this laugh-a-minute tale of the ultimate trickster. Helmed by Vato Tsikurishvili and the Helen Hayes Award-nominated team from the 2019 hit Cyrano de BergeracThe Servant of Two Masters is a raucous adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s classic farce.

Brigadoon
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: April 8-10
Tickets: $60 (find discount)

Enjoy a concert performance of the Broadway classic. New Yorker Tommy Albright unexpectedly arrives at mysterious Scottish Highland village of Brigadoon, which only appears for one day every 100 years. When Tommy meets and falls in love with Fiona, a beautiful villager in this magical hamlet, he must decide whether to return to his old life, or stay in Brigadoon — forever. Featuring such standards as “Almost Life Being in Love”, “Come to Me, Bend to Me”, and “Heather on a Hill.”

Enchanted Rhapsody
When: Saturday, 4-7:30pm
Where: 6th St S & S Ball St, Arlington, VA 22202
Admission: Free; Registration required.

Welcome the bliss of springtime with a starlit night listening to a live set of Taylor Swift versus Queen songs performed by the Edgewood String Quartet. Specialty drinks and food will be available for purchase from RĀKO and other local eateries. Registration is required to experience this night of Enchanted Rhapsody and to break free from the winter blues, embracing an evening of being fearlessly you.

Planet Curious
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

This complimentary family and community event will explore the causes and effects of climate change and help you and your family learn how to have a role in reducing its impact on your community and the world. Designed for all ages, NBM Climate Day will offer essential information and hands-on, interactive activities for the whole family led by architects, landscape architects and builders that show new ways that they are addressing climate change. Talk with community activists to learn how you can support their efforts and become engaged in their work. Attend a series of quick, engaging talks to learn about solution-based projects already in progress. Experience family-friendly hands-on activities designed to inspire children ranging from 5 to 12. Explore a curated exhibition of projects inspired by the Green New Deal Superstudio that translate its core goals—decarbonization, justice, and jobs. And more! Free, drop in. No registration required. All ages welcome.

Cherry Blossom Jubilee
Where: Torpedo Factory | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Sunday, 12-3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Cherry Blossoms on the other side of the Potomac, too! Head to the heart of Alexandria for cherry blossom-themed activities and other events at the Torpedo Factory, the wonderful riverfront arts center. The fun kicks off with a live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the Waterfront side. Afterward, view the Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries while enjoying music and live art demonstrations from participating TFAC artists.

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

The annual Anacostia River Festival is a premier event of the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year enjoy a series of musical performances, including the sights and sounds of Go-Go music, local drum lines, and military bands. Along with live music, the Festival will feature pre-registered and socially distant river activities such as canoeing and fishing along the Anacostia River.  Sign up here!

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Spring break is beginning for most DC students, so be sure to check the guide for Where to Go and What to Do if you’re going to be in town and looking for fun activities.
* Plan ahead: The National Zoo is hosting a Pandaversary Party next weekend.
Interesting read about baby names — and picking the wrong one.  (True story: Owen arrived a little early, and we weren’t yet totally decided on the name, so he was Matthew for one day!)
* A friend this recommended this film for a family movie watch, saying if we like Sing Street (which we looove), we’ll enjoy this, too.
* Ukraine still really needs support, and this is an easy and tasty way to offer it.
* 10 Happy Things for April 🙂

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The Weekend Round-Up: April 1-3

Spend time in the tropics at the US Botanic Garden

 

Happy Weekend!

Link up to posts full of ideas for ongoing and seasonal activities:
* Spring Things
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Indoor Outings
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Bike Rides
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids

Go Back to the Garden!
Where: US Botanic Garden | Capitol Area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

We can finally go back inside the US Botanic Garden! Starting Friday, the Conservatory will welcome visitors again for the first time since pre-Covid. Explore the different plant collections as you walk amid woodland flora, desert areas, and tropical rainforest (one of the the most stunning spaces in DC). Be sure to bring kids to the (hopefully open) Children’s Garden, where they can play and use some gardening tools.   And plan on a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside, too. Read more about the  USBG here and here.

One with Eternity
Where: Hirhshorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free (with timed-entry passes)

The much anticipated Yayoi Kusama exhibit opens at the Hirshhorn on Friday! Including two Infinity Rooms, the yellow and black polkadot Pumpkin, plus a couple more pieces and elements that illustrate Kusama’s fascinating life and artistry, all ages will dig it.  Free same-day Timed Passes will be distributed each day it’s open, Thursday – Sunday, at the Museum starting at 9:30am. All visitors age 12+ must have a pass!  Kids under 12 do not need passes, adults with a pass can bring up to two children.  The museum will be staying open until 8 pm on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2. This adds extra walk-up spots for Kusama and time to spend in five other exhibitions.   Be sure to read this KFDC write-up about the exhibit that includes more info, tips, and a glimpse of what you’ll experience.

Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child

The annual magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses at Annmarie opens this weekend! This annual display adds extra delight to the already wonderful sculpture garden in Calvert County with a collection of handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered throughout the grounds.  On Friday evening 5-7pm, join a family-friendly event to celebrate the opening and  see all of the fairy houses on display on the patios before they are spread around the garden. You can also enjoy live music, tour the gallery exhibit, take a walk, and appreciate an evening of art and nature. Cash bar and food truck there, too.  Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post and this one.

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Filed under 2022, DC, Maryland, Spring, Virginia, Weekend