The nation’s capital has plenty to offer all year, but during the spring when cherry blossom season is in full bloom, there are even more events and special perks to enjoy. The official National Cherry Blossom Festival has plenty of recommendations, and suggests that visitors “dine at Cherry Picks restaurants, and check out Petal Porches and Art in Bloom installations across the city and surrounding areas.”
So, what really stands out as a must-do during your trip to D.C.? Take a look at these historic landmarks, restaurants, parks, and gardens in the nation’s capital. Some offer events and special perks directly related to the cherry blossoms, and others are can’t-miss stops that you shouldn’t leave D.C. without seeing!
At the National Mall, you’ll get to experience the best of both worlds: the beauty of the cherry blossoms in bloom and the historical significance of some of D.C.’s greatest landmarks. Gaze up at the iconic Washington Monument and get a close look at the Lincoln Memorial.
Take time to learn more about the nation’s history while you experience the beauty of the cherry blossom trees. There are also plenty of museums nearby (check out what the Smithsonian has to offer!), so don’t leave without visiting at least one!
Library of Congress
Spread across three buildings, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, containing over 170 million items. It hosts plenty of regular events, such as concerts and lectures, and you can take a tour of this great cultural institution as well. Check out which exhibitions will be on display while the cherry blossoms will be in bloom!
There’s so much you can do in this historic D.C. neighborhood! Take a walking tour and learn about important historical figures, including past Presidents, who lived in the area. Walk around Georgetown University and learn more about this historic college. Take your time in the shops, restaurants, and parks. There’s also a Ghosts of Georgetown Tour that you can check out! Georgetown is very walkable, so make sure to bring comfortable shoes and set aside a good amount of time to explore!
U.S. National Arboretum
When you visit the U.S. National Arboretum in spring, you’ll get the chance to see the cherry blossoms in bloom and so much more. With 446 acres and 9.5 miles of roadways, there are fields and woodlands to explore as well as plenty of gardens. The gardens contain azaleas, boxwoods, daffodils, dogwoods, holly, magnolia, maple, daylilies, aquatic plants, and many more varieties of plants.
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
The U.S. National Arboretum is one nature center worth checking out in D.C., but it’s not the only one. InsideHook recommends spending time at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. “Great for bird watching, too, Kenilworth Park is one of DC’s best kept secrets. You don’t have to go too far into the park to see a batch of cherry trees; they surround the parking area and visitor’s center.” Check out Kenilworth Park and escape the crowds for a while!
Read More: Beautiful Spots for Birdwatching in Spring
If you’re feeling hungry, head to the Bayou Bakery. During cherry blossom season, you can sample hot cross buns with cherries and icing, and keep your eye out for other cherry-themed treats as well. Enjoy treats inspired by New Orleans and the South at Bayou Bakery all year round.
Immigrant Food+ at the Planet Word Museum
In addition to Bayou Bakery, check out Immigrant Food+, which has several different locations. Indulge in cherry-themed desserts like the Ping Dragon Panna Cotta, which includes almond cookie crumble, raspberry, white chocolate ganache, cherry gelee, strawberry meringue, and bergamot. If you’re looking for something heartier, there are plenty of dining options to choose from. Feast on a truffle cremini cream soup, tuna tartar dim sum, or a Thai steak, just to start.
After you’re full, head to NoMa (north of Massachusetts Avenue) and look for The Burton apartment building. It’s 125 feet tall, and in the spring, you may be able to catch DC multimedia artist Robin Bell’s work, “Vicissitude.” This visual art project will light up and be in a constant state of transition – similar to the real cherry blossoms.
National Gallery of Art
Speaking of art, after you’re finished soaking up the beauty of the cherry blossoms on the National Mall, make the very short trek to the National Gallery of Art. Revel at the works in the 19th-century French galleries, or take your time looking at the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci that’s in the Americas.
About 25 minutes away from D.C. you’ll find Alexandria, Virginia, which offers its own tourist attractions. According to visitALX, you’ll have the opportunity to “See cherry blossoms this side of the Potomac, escape to secret gardens and pose in front of colorful murals for the ultimate spring Instagram adventure in Alexandria, VA.” Explore Old Town or the Carlyle House and learn more about the rich history of the area.