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Nothing says the beginning of spring like The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC! This spring celebration all came about thanks to a generous gift from the mayor of Tokyo, when he gifted the city of Washington, DC with 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates this gift and the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan. Each year, the Cherry Blossom Festival draws well over a million people to Washington, DC. Here’s what you need to know heading into this year’s celebrations and how you can plan ahead with Cherry Blossom Festival parking:
DC Cherry Blossom Forecast 2018
The National Park Service expects DC’s cherry blossoms to hit peak bloom between March 27-31. “Peak bloom” refers to the point when 70% of the cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin bloom. You can find more information the peak bloom forecast on the official website of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
If you’re driving or parking at the National Cherry Blossom Festival, you’ll definitely want to plan ahead and reserve parking in advance. Here are your best bets for parking near top viewing spots and Cherry Blossom Festival events:
Tidal Basin Parking
The Tidal Basin is the main viewing area for cherry blossoms, with over 1,700 cherry trees surrounding the basin. Given how popular this spot is, parking can be a challenge, especially during peak bloom days. Be sure to plan ahead and reserve your spot today. Here are our top recommendations for Tidal Basin parking (adjust to your preferred date and time):
1220 Maryland Ave SW – Portals I Garage
1318 D St SW – Portals III Garage
Tip: Save money by going on a weekday!
You can search and book other parking options near the Tidal Basin here.
National Mall Parking
The National Mall is another popular viewing spot for cherry blossoms. Parking near the National Mall is a bit easier than the Tidal Basin during this busy time, but we’d still recommend planning ahead to reserve your parking spot. Here are our top recommendations for National Mall parking (adjust to your preferred date and time):
You can find more options for National Mall parking here.
2018 Cherry Blossom Festival Parking
If you’re heading to any of the festival events, find all of the details below, including our recommendations for Cherry Blossom Festival parking.
Pink Tie Party
About: The annual Pink Tie Party is a fundraiser benefiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Date & Time: March 15, 2018, 7pm-11pm
Location: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Cost: $225 general admission; $100 budding partygoer (ages 21-30) – purchase tickets here
Parking: Reserve Pink Tie Party parking here
Opening Ceremony Parking
About: Kick-off the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival and watch world-renowned performers in this celebration of the anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan to the United States. For a full line-up of performers, check out the official Cherry Blossoms Festival page.
Date & Time: March 25, 2018, 5pm-6:30pm (Note: The National Cherry Blossom Festival has changed the date of the Opening Ceremony from Saturday, March 24, to Sunday, March 25, due to anticipated crowds expected in downtown DC for the March for Our Lives.)
Location: 513 13th Street NW, Warner Theatre
Cost: Free – advance ticketing required. There will be a $5 registration fee when tickets are claimed – reserve tickets here
Parking: Reserve Opening Ceremony parking here
Blossom Kite Festival Parking
About: The seventh annual Blossom Kite Festival features a variety of competitions and demonstrations from kite makers and fliers from across the US and other countries, plus Rokkaku Battles and the Hot Tricks Showdown. Bring your own kite or make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field.
Date & Time: March 31, 2018, 10am-4:30pm
Location: Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street NW and Constitution Ave
Parking: Reserve parking near the Blossom Kite Festival here
About: Formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, this year’s Petalpoalooza transforms the waterfront into a one-day-only springtime spectacle. Enjoy a full day of art, music, and play for all ages at The Wharf. Fireworks begin at 8:30pm.
Date & Time: April 7, 2018, 1pm-9:30pm; fireworks at 8:30pm (weather permitting)
Location: The Wharf, 1100 Maine Avenue, SW
Parking: Reserve parking near The Wharf here
Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run & 5K Run-Walk Parking
About: The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk are premier road races for runners kicking off the spring running season. Proceeds from the event support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Click here for more information on the race.
Date & Time: April 8, 2018 at 7:30am (10-miler) and 8:40am (5K)
Entry: $45 10-mile entry; $35 5K entry; free to spectators
Parking: Reserve parking near the start line here
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade Parking
About: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is one of DC’s largest spectator events. From the National Archives to the Washington Monument, the 10-block long parade features giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, and celebrity entertainers.
Date & Time: April 14, 2018, 10am-12pm
Location: Constitution Ave, from 7th to 17th streets, NW
Cost: Grandstand seating starts at $20 – purchase tickets here. Standing along the parade route is FREE, along Constitution Ave, between 9th and 15th streets, NW. Arrive early for the best views.
Parking: Reserve National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade parking here
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If you have any questions on Cherry Blossom Festival parking, give us a call at 202-999-3586!