Spring is coming to DC – I think. Every time I get my hopes up, it snows. The daffodils start blooming, it snows. I’d say all bets are off for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which kicked off last week here in the District.
The weather seems to be looking up, if you can bear a couple of rainstorms, making it a great week to get out and celebrate. The festival goes through April 13, with big events capping each week.
The blossoms won’t be peaking until approximately April 8-12, according to the National Park Service’s Bloom Watch (a great place to stay up to date on the typically finicky peak date).
Here’s a look at some of the fun going on for the entire family. For an entire list of events going on in the community, check out the 2014 National Blossom Festival’s calendar.
2014 National Cherry Blossom Festival Events
- Blossom Kite Festival – March 29, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., FREE. Washington Monument grounds – Constitution Avenue & 17th Street, NW. This has been on my list for YEARS to participate in, and I’m doing my best to make it happen this year (the rain date is March 30). There will be competitions throughout the day with family open fly time from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
- Children’s Cherry Blossom Celebration – April 5, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., $10. Green Spring Gardens – 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria. Kids can celebrate spring and learn about history of the gift of trees to DC. The afternoon will include origami, crafts, and a cherry tree “hunt.”
- Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival – April 5, 1 p.m. – 9 p.m., FREE. Southwest Waterfront – 600-900 Water Street, SW. Shop the Very Cherry Marketplace, enjoy the live music at the Cherry Blossom Stage, get a taste of some of the District’s best food trucks, play Japanese games and art projects, and make a full day of fun at the Waterfront. More information and a full list of the fun: Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival.
- Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run – April 6, 7:15 a.m. – noon, FREE for spectators. Washington Monument Grounds – 15th and Constitution Avenue, NW. Although the event is already reached capacity, you can come cheer on the 15,000 runners competing in the 10 mile run, 5K and kids run.
- Official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony – April 6, 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., FREE. Japanese Stone Lantern at the Tidal Basin at Independence Avenue and 17th Street, SW. The ceremony features traditional Japanese music, the presentation of the United States and Japan Cherry Blossom Queens and remarks by a number of dignitaries. The lantern is more than four centuries old and was presented to the U.S. by Japan in 1954.
- American Art Cherry Blossom Family Celebration – April 12, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., FREE. Smithsonian American Art Museum – 8th & F Streets, NW. Bring your family and play at the American Art Museum. There will be floral-themed crafts, live music and a gardening demonstration. Learn about Japanese tea and check out the craft teapots in the museum collection. Explore how Japanese art and culture have influenced American artists as you explore the galleries.
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade – April 12, 10 a.m. – noon, Standing along the parade route is FREE and grandstand seating starts at $20. Constitution Avenue – 7th to 17th Streets, NW. The parade is one of DC’s largest spectator events with celebrate spring. Celebrity performers will include, Candice Glover, Aaron Carter, Regina Belle, Sheena Easton and Branden James.
- Lantern Making Family Day at the Yards Park – April 13, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., FREE. The Yards Park – 10 Water Street, SE. Kids and adults can try their hand at making lanterns, while enjoying martial art presentations, a moonbounce and Japanese foods available for purchase.
- Walk for Wishes – April 13, noon – 2 p.m., FREE. National Mall – Circular route between 7th Street and 14th Streets. Walkers of all ages can come and participate in the walk and ongoing family-fun activities including music, face painting, balloon art and more!
More DC Springtime Fun
- Check out blossoms and blooms in the DC area beyond the Tidal Basin
- Take a walk around Theodore Roosevelt Island and watch spring come to life
- Sign up for a local summer camp!
- Celebrate Easter with a toddler-friendly (and mom-friendly) craft project
- Take a walk (or bike ride) along the Mt. Vernon Trail