The Cherry Blossom Festival is one of Washington, D.C.'s most beloved events. People from around the world flock to the nation's capital to view the pretty pink blossoms that alight the city and signal the start of spring. This year the Cherry Blossom Festival will take place from March 20 until April 12.
Here are a few special events, along with a couple of unique ways to view the blossoms and a few fabulous hotels that are celebrating the blossoms with festival-inspired deals and experiences.
Blossoms by Boat
Want to see the cherry blossoms in a different way? Try renting a paddleboat and pedal your way around the Tidal Basin, taking in the Jefferson Memorial and the tress in full bloom, while soaking up a little sun and avoiding the crowds. Boats leave from the Tidal Basin Boathouse. $14 per hour for two-passenger boats, $22 per hour for four-passenger boats.
Blossoms by Bike
Roll's Blossoms by Bike Tour is a great ways to see the beauty of the cherry blossoms up close while covering some serious D.C. turf. For the duration of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Roll's is offering two-hour scenic bike rides dedicated entirely to the little pink and white buds. Tours start on the National Mall. March 21st through April 12th. Adults $35, kids $25.
Cherry Blossom Events
CineMatsuri features some of Japan's recent releases at the E Street Cinema, dubbed "the best movie house" by the Washington Post. There will be five films screened from a variety of genres, all in Japanese with English subtitles. CineMatsuri opens with a matinee at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 22 and continues with evening showings every night at 7 p.m. through Thursday, March 26.
Cherry Blast is an dance party and art exhibition inspired by the cherry blossoms. Set in the Blind Whino, a former church that's been converted into a contemporary art space, it will feature live music, performance artists and DJs pumping until midnight. Proceeds support the National Cherry Blossom Festival. For this 21-and-over event, tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door on March 27th 7p.m.-12 a.m.
The Blossom Kite Festival on the Washington Monument grounds celebrates the coming of spring and the start of kite-flying season. Visitors can watch kite makers create master flyers while kids can try making kites of their own. You may also bring your own kite and fly it on the public field. This is a free event and it takes place on March 28th from 10 a.m. - 4:30p.m.
Whether there are spring showers or not, the show must go on during The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. This free event has music, family-friendly water based activities, food stalls, and live entertainment throughout the Southwest Waterfront. April 4th from 1 p.m.- 9 p.m. Fireworks start at 8:30 p.m.
The Four Seasons Hotel is celebrating the festival with a special breakfast menu designed for overnight guests and day visitors. Seasons Restaurant that will include decadent French toast made from a smashed chocolate croissant served with Nutella, and black cherry compote. At The Spa at Four Seasons, an 80-minute cherry blossom Champagne body treatment will exfoliate and hydrate the body. ($265 Monday-Thursday; $285 Friday-Sunday).
The Willard InterContinental, which hosted Japan's first ever delegation to the United States in 1860, embraces its history. Handcrafted Japanese dolls from Akiko Keene's Washington Japanese Dolls & Crafts School will be on exhibit as well as abundant cherry blossom displays. The Willard's Very Cherry Blossom Package is available through April 30. Stay two nights and receive complimentary breakfast for two at Café du Parc. Stay three nights and enjoy complimentary Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea. The high tea alone in cherry blossom-lined Peacock Alley, which includes a cocktail made with Champagne and sake, runs $65 per person.
In Georgetown, The Graham Hotel, a charming boutique property at the edge of the Potomac River, is offering a chance to see the pretty blossoms by boat. The Cherry Blossom Package includes two adult tickets for a cherry blossom riverboat cruise that leaves from nearby Washington Harbor, complimentary Wi-Fi and valet parking. Package available March 23 -- April 12, 2015.
At The Hay-Adams, guests staying three nights during the festival receive a free breakfast. Plus, the hotel restaurant is serving a special Cherry Blossom Festival menu, which features the best of Japanese cuisine with dishes like Wagyu steak with crushed edamame and a plum wine reduction, shaved spring vegetables drizzled with wasabi aioli and for dessert, a morello cherry and pistachio financier.
Until May 31, guests can book the Cherry Blossom Package at the Fairmont Hotel. Here, $259 buys you overnight accommodations, complimentary valet parking and a box of assorted note cards featuring scenes of the capital's monuments and blossoms by celebrated Washington, D.C. photographer Jake McGuire. Guests can also save 20% booking a Segway or bike tour through May.