The National Cherry Blossom Festival is fast approaching, and Washington DC is ready for the three festival weekends from March 27 through April 11. The National Park Service today announced that the famed cherry trees lining the Tidal Basin are forecasted to hit their peak bloom April 3-8 and Destination DC, the city’s official convention and tourism corporation, is inviting travelers to experience spring beauty in the nation’s capital by booking cherry blossom and spring break-themed getaways. Hotel packages are available at Washington.org/cherryblossom or by calling 800-422-8644.
More than 70 DC restaurants participate in the National Cherry Blossom Festival by serving up “Cherry Picks” – themed menu-items delightfully flavored with cherries and inspired by the blossoms. Festive cocktails, succulent entrées, and delectable cherry desserts show off the talents of the city’s top chefs. For the 2010 promotion, offerings include Roasted Lamb with Celery Root Puree and Cherry Lamb Jus at Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar, or CommonWealth Gastropub’s Tempranillo Cherry Ice Cream Sandwich. A complete list of participating restaurants, along with their specialty menu items, can also be found at Washington.org/cherryblossom.
Here are Destination DC’s picks for can’t-miss FREE events:
Family Day & Opening Ceremony
March 27, 10:00 am-5:30 pm
National Building Museum
Hands-on activities and free entertainment will be offered at Family Day, taking place before the Festival’s official Opening Ceremony, which begins at 4:00 pm.
April 3, 8:30 pm
Watch fireworks light up the sky in celebration of the blossoms. The best viewing areas are at 6th and Water Streets, SW (across from Arena Stage) or East Potomac Park. A musical prelude and other family activities will be held on the Southwest Waterfront beforehand, beginning at 5:00 pm.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®
April 10, starts at 10:00 am
Constitution Ave. between 7th & 17th Streets
Floats, marching bands, giant helium balloons and international performing groups will wind their way down one of America’s most popular avenues.
Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival
April 10, 11:00 am-6:00 pm
12th St. NW & Pennsylvania Ave.
A showcase of culture, crafts, and cuisine, this festival features martial arts demonstrations, restaurant offerings, a Japanese beer garden, vendors selling traditional crafts, pop culture must-haves, and more.
National Park Service Ranger-Guided Lantern Walks
March 27-April 11, daily at 8:00 pm
On this evening walk, a knowledgeable National Park Service ranger will guide visitors through the five-mile perimeter of the Tidal Basin against the backdrop of lantern-lighting.
For more information and a complete list of National Cherry Blossom Festival events, visit Nationalcherryblossomfestival.org .