Is there any better time of year to live in Washington, D.C. than spring? Cherry blossoms blooming, festivals abounding, patio dining plentiful....
Winter isn't quite ready to release her grip on Washington yet, but we can see signs of spring begin to peek out. Peak bloom has been announced for National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Nationals are well into spring training and a few outdoor dining destinations are already rolling back their roofs.
Spring's official start may be two weeks away but we're ready. Here are 10 things about spring in D.C. we can't wait to enjoy.
What is your favorite thing about spring in D.C.?
D.C. bursts into spring each year with bright pink and white cherry blossoms. Between the month-long <a href="http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/">National Cherry Blossom Festival</a> and <a href="http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/visitors-guide/beat-the-crowds-where-else-to-see-blooms-around-washington/">off-the-beaten-path spots</a> to see the trees, we never get tired of enjoying one of Washington's most iconic sights.
We're spoiled by farmers' markets in <a href="http://freshfarmmarkets.org/farmers_markets/markets/dupont_circle.php">Dupont Circle</a> and <a href="http://www.easternmarket-dc.org/">Eastern Market</a> that stay open year-round. But during the spring, more markets pop up around town as flowers and fresh produce take center-stage. (Check out chef <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/29/ris-lacoste-farmers-market_n_1626295.html">Ris Lacoste's farmers' market shopping trip</a>.)
Dining al fresco is one thing; dining on a rooftop with fantastic views of the city is even better. We love open-air eateries like <a href="http://www.richardsandoval.com/elcentrodf/index.php">El Centro D.F.</a>, <a href="http://www.pointofviewdc.com/">P.O.V. Lounge</a>, <a href="http://localsixteen.com">Local 16</a> and <a href="http://www.perrysadamsmorgan.com/">Perry's</a>.
D.C. is the festival capital of America, <a href="http://washington.org/article/summer-festivals-dc">hosting more events</a> than any other city. There's truly something for everyone, from the <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll">White House Easter Egg Roll</a> and <a href="http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/things-do-see/passport-dc">Passport D.C.</a> to the <a href="http://www.allhallowsguild.org/fm/come.html">Washington National Cathedral Flower Mart</a> and the <a href="http://www.dragonboatdc.com/">Dragon Boat Festival</a>.
We're lucky to have an abundance of hiking trails within a short distance of downtown. Go enjoy <a href="http://www.nps.gov/rocr/index.htm">Rock Creek Park</a> and <a href="http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm">Great Falls</a> close to home, or venture a little farther with hikes at <a href="http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/old_rag.htm">Old Rag</a> and <a href="http://www.nps.gov/cato/index.htm">Catoctin Mountain Park</a>.
More than 20 food trucks. Live music. Friendly atmosphere. <a href="http://www.truckeroodc.com/www/index.html">Truckeroo</a> is the place to be once a month to sample the best food trucks from around the region.
Washington Nationals Are Back
After 33 years without a baseball team, Washington loves its Nationals. This year's <a href="http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120912&content_id=38307164&c_id=was&vkey=pr_was">Nationals home opener</a> is April 1 versus the Miami Marlins.
Beginning in late May, outdoor film festivals begin popping up around town. From NoMa to National Harbor, we love lazy evenings on a blanket under the stars.
After work, it's nice to <i>not</i> head back inside for happy hour. For something different, grab an outdoor brew at lively beer gardens like <a href="http://biergartenhaus.com/">Biergartenhaus</a>, <a href="http://www.standarddc.com/">Standard</a> and <a href="http://www.marvindc.com/">Marvin</a>.
Why travel by underground Metro when much of D.C. is easily accessible on foot or by bike? It can be the best way to get from point A to point B -- without sitting in rush hour traffic or paying WMATA's ever-increasing fares.