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Cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom in Washington: how to enjoy the spectacle in person and online

Watching cherry blossoms in Washington DC will be a little different in 2021. AFAR invites you to take advantage of insider tips to do this safely.

Photo: Shutterstock

For locals and visitors alike, the annual sakura bloom in Washington DC is a highly anticipated event. It not only marks the arrival of spring, but also provides a wonderful backdrop for some of the capital's most famous landmarks. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, observing cherry blossoms in Washington DC this year will look slightly different.

A visit to the National Mall, DC's most popular cherry blossom spot, will require face masks and social distancing. The National Sakura Blossom Festival will include a mix of virtual and socially remote face-to-face events. There are restrictions for visitors. And those who come to see the trees in person will have to avoid the crowds.

Of course, nature is nature, so this spring, cherry blossoms will adorn the horizon of the area as well as every year. The question is how to see the cherry blossoms in Washington DC in 2021 in person or virtually.

On the subject: Where to admire spring wildflowers in the USA

When can you see cherry blossoms in bloom?

Sakura in Washington DC usually blooms in late March or early April. This year, the National Park Service (NPS) predicts the city will peak bloom on April 2-5.

“The best time to observe cherry blossom trees is usually four to seven days after peak flowering begins,” says Destination DC's Julie Marshall.

Will a pandemic hurt?

You will be able to see cherry blossoms bloom, but with some restrictions. Visitors who wish to see the cherry blossoms in person will need to adhere to social distancing protocols, wear masks (which are required on federal property), and - if traveling from outside the county, Maryland, or Virginia for more than 24 hours - submit a negative test for COVID-19 if not fully vaccinated.

There are several ways to see cherry blossoms virtually. NPS has organized several virtual tours и live broadcastand the National Cherry Blossom Festival has moved some of its events, including the opening ceremony, online.

Will there be a National Sakura Blossom Festival?

Yes, National Sakura Blossom Festival will continue to be held in 2021 with a mix of virtual and socially distant personal events such as:

Opening ceremony (virtual)

The opening ceremony will take place on March 20 at 18:00 pm EST and will include the annual lighting of a Japanese stone lantern donated by the people of Japan in 1954 as a symbol of the resurgence of relations with the United States after the war. American and Japanese artists including percussion group Taiko Project from Los Angeles will also perform at the ceremony this year. The entire ceremony will be available online free of charge.

Art in Bloom (personally)

For those who may come, there is a completely open exhibition "Art in Bloom" in compliance with the rules of social distancing. Visitors can find 25 different cherry blossom sculptures throughout the area.

Best places to see cherry blossoms

3700 trees surround the monuments and landmarks of the District of Columbia. The National Mall and Tidal Basin are the most popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Washington DC. You can avoid the crowds by visiting early in the morning or closer to sunset. However, there are other, lesser-known places around the area where this bloom is still a spectacular sight.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

Haynes Point Loop in East Potomac Park

Take a hike along the looped trail Hains Point Loop Trail 4,1 miles (6,6 km) in East Potomac Park. Along the loop that starts and ends at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, you'll find plenty of cherry trees and scenic views of the Potomac River, Washington Canal, and Anacostia River.

US National Arboretum

National Arboretum 412 acres (166 ha), located in northeastern Washington DC, is home to a large botanical collection including over two dozen varieties of cherry trees. Every spring, visitors are greeted with many pink, white and red sakura flowers that bloom at different times.

When it comes to crowd avoidance, the National Arboretum has two advantages: it is less well known and more dispersed. Take a walk or bike on a self-guided tour of the arboretum to admire the spring foliage.

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens Is a beautiful, historic estate in the Georgetown District of Columbia, a small, lesser-known cherry blossom spot. Due to COVID-19, the gardens and museum are still closed and will not reopen by 2021 bloom time. However, they are still worth adding to your list for future spring visits to Washington.

Basilica of the National Temple of the Immaculate Conception

An architectural icon at any time of the year, the Northeast District of Columbia Basilica is a sight to behold when 150 cherry trees bloom in the spring. It is also considered to be a kind of secret cherry blossom spot where it is easy to avoid the crowds (and find parking). After inspecting the trees, go to Busboys and poets, a nearby café, public meeting place and bookstore founded by activist and artist Andy Schallal in 2005.

National harbor

В National harbor, which is located near the southeastern outskirts of DC in Maryland, is home to over 200 okame cherry trees, whose vibrant pink flowers tend to bloom earlier than the yoshino lining the Tidal Basin.

“Because our trees bloom early, we can provide visitors with a longer opportunity to observe the cherry blossoms in Washington DC,” said Jackie Saunders of AVP Marketing at National Harbor.

Harbor, an official participant in the National Cherry Blossom Festival, joins the celebration with one of 25 Art in Bloom exhibitions, as well as a weekly series titled “Sakura's Sunday»From March 20 to April 11. There will be several personal and virtual activities such as cooking classes and Japanese-style art demonstrations.

As for the flowers, visitors can see them from the boat to Potomac water taxi, which stops at National Harbor, Alexandria, Pier and Georgetown on a XNUMX-hour (one-way) trip through the Potomac. Taxi works, advance booking is recommended.

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