Even though I grew up and went to college about 40 minutes away from DC, I never made it a priority to see the cherry blossoms until I moved to Virginia last year for graduate school.
Here are my 5 top tips for making the most of your trip to see the DC cherry blossoms!
1. Check https://cherryblossomwatch.com/peak-bloom-forecast/ for updates on when the blossoms are reaching peak bloom. This site gives you the most up-to-date news on how the blooms are progressing. Since the weather and rainfall are different each year, there’s no “set” date that is consistently the best to visit. Definitely look at this site as you start to plan your trip!
2. As with any attraction, the weekends are the busiest time since everyone is off work, out of school, and tourists are able to travel in for the event. If you live nearby, I’d highly recommend heading to the Tidal Basin during the week when fewer people will be visiting. The environment is more peaceful and you’ll be able to get prime photo spots without waiting too long. You can also try going early in the morning to catch the sunrise!
3. Take public transportation! Since so many people come to town during this time and DC traffic is never ideal anyways, I would highly recommend riding the metro into the city. Personally, I love to get off at the Smithsonian stop (blue, silver, or orange line) and take the short walk to the cherry blossoms from there. This is also great if you have time or interests in seeing some of the amazing FREE museums that DC has to offer. Here’s a map showing both the Smithsonian stop and the Tidal Basin and a link to plan your trip on the metro https://www.wmata.com/schedules/maps/index.cfm?t=maps-rail-wrapper.
4. Sometimes the lighting and the placement of the cherry blossoms won’t work in your favor. Although it may be tempting to climb the trees to get a better photo, please respect the posted signs and don’t hurt the cherry blossoms! Luckily, photoshop has your back even if you can’t capture the best photo in the moment! For this edit, I cut out the top right corner of the original photo in a new layer and ended up reflecting it across the other side so that there would be more blossoms in this photo.
5. Take time to appreciate the beauty around you. Many people go to see the cherry blossoms for photos (definitely guilty), but it’s also so breathtaking to just take the view in without a lens. Mother Nature is pretty amazing and the flowers are only out for a short amount of time, so make the most of it!
Sadly, I am missing peak bloom in DC this year, but I would love to hear about your visit if you make it there!