The planting of the cherry blossom trees in Washington, D.C. originated as a gift in 1912 from the people of Japan to the United States as a kind gesture hoping for friendship and goodwill. What began as a simple peace offering has led to the planting of approximately 3,750 trees in 16 different varieties. From Yoshinos to Kwanzans, first lady’s such as Mamie Eisenhower, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama have planted trees over the years. And what to do with all of that beauty? Create a festival around it, of course.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a highly attended event held each spring to welcome the bloom of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. This festival celebrates more than just the gorgeous appeal of the snow-like cherry blossoms all over the city. This festival honors the gift of the trees from Japan, while also paying tribute to the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. In case you’re wondering how many people love their cherry blossoms, more than 1.5 million visitors attend the festival each year.

While this festival might sound like it’s simply about trees and friendship, there’s a whole lot more to it. During the festival, there are daily events and creative programming, traditional and contemporary art, diverse cultural events and a parade. Because the bloom date is defined as the day in which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry blossom trees are open – typically in April – the festival is held during March and April, this year being March 20th, 2019 through April 14th, 2019. During this time, guests can experience petal paddles through the Tidal Basin, bike rides, boat tours and USA Guided Tours through Tidal basin in West Potomac Park, Hains Point at East Potomac Park and Washington Monument Grounds – the three destinations for cherry blossom trees.

Here are a few other events to look forward to during the festival:

Plan to be in Washington, D.C. on March 22nd, 2019 for the Pink Tie Party Presented by Ana, a fundraiser that not only helps kick off the spring season but raises money and awareness for the festival.

The official kick-off for the festival is on March 23rd, 2019. The Opening Ceremony is festive in itself with world-renowned performers.

On April 6th, 2019, join others in Petalpalooza. This event features lives music, games, giveaways and the final boom of vibrant fireworks. This event is hosted on The Wharf, so you can pop into any restaurant and grab a quick bite to eat before getting back to the festivities.

Close the festival out on April 13th, 2019 by participating in the long-standing National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade featuring embellished floats, giant balloons, marching bands and family entertainment.

There’s nothing quite like celebrating a fondness for friendship and the bloom of spring. Whether you just happen to be in town or you’re planning your festival experience, you’re going to want to carve out some time to stop and smell the cherry blossoms.

If you’re in search of a place to stay, we recommend some of our favorites below:

JW Marriott Washington, D.C. is situated in the heart of downtown Washington, placing luxury and sophistication among the excitement of the National Mall and U.S. Capitol.

Courtyard Washington Capitol Hill/Navy Yard is perfect if you’re traveling on a budget. This hotel is also located among the bustle of the city, making it easy to walk to popular attractions before kicking back in contemporary rooms complete with modern luxuries.

Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel invites you to a stylish stay in our nation’s capital. Experience Washington D.C. like a local with expert tips from the hotel’s Navigator.

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