Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in DC + Parking & Mom Tips

Washington DC Spring Activities
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in DC

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Cherry Blossom season 2023 is quickly approaching! Below is my guide for the top 10 places to see cherry blossoms in DC plus peak bloom dates, parking/metro tips and more!

Table of Contents:

  1. When will the DC Cherry Blossoms bloom in 2023?
  2. 10 Best Places in DC
  3. Parking/Metro Tips
  4. Visiting DC with KidsMap of DC Spots

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When is Peak Bloom for the DC Cherry Blossoms in 2023?

The National Park Service provides the official Peak Bloom estimate for the Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms each year. They announced March 1, that peak bloom is estimated for March 22 - 25, 2023! Peak bloom is when 70% of the cherry blossoms are blooming. There are 5 stages that they track to make their estimate and I will update here when it's official.

It looks like the cherry blossoms could be even earlier this year as the Indicator Tree has already started to have green buds. This is a specific tree that blooms 10 days before the peak. The Park Service uses it to predict the peak bloom for the Tidal Basin and they have historical data from the past 20 years here.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival will be March 20 - April 16, 2023.

Cherry Blossoms in DC Jefferson

Photo taken March 21, 2022 by Jennifer at

Top 10 Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in DC

Best Tidal Basin Areas (4)

The Tidal Basin is of course, the most iconic place to see cherry blossoms in DC. The National Mall has over 3,800 cherry trees which began with the original gift of 3,020 from Japan. There are 4 main areas to see (and photograph!) these beauties:

  1. MLK Memorial - The views from the MLK Memorial across the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial are unmatched!
  2. Japanese Stone Lantern - If you walk East for just 0.2 miles from the MLK Memorial, you will find the Japanese Stone Lantern. It was carved over 350 years ago and given to the US from Japan. It weighs over 4,000 pounds and was originally on the grounds of a Japanese temple famous for its cherry blossoms.
  3. Jefferson Memorial - If you continue to walk from the Lantern around the Tidal Basin, it will be about 0.9 miles until you reach the Jefferson Memorial. From its steps you get the most picture-perfect spot to enjoy the cherry blossoms with the Washington Monument in the background!
  4. Paddle Boat - There's nothing like seeing the cherry blossoms from the water! Paddle Boats open on March 18, 2023 this year and you can now reserve online!

Photo taken March 21, 2023.

Stroller Friendly? The Tidal Basin area is not 100% stroller friendly around the walking loop. You will find very low branches and uneven sidewalks near the Paddle Boat House. However closer to the MLK Memorial it is definitely doable. The best advice is to bring a light stroller that you can pack up or pick up if needed and a baby carrier for your child.

Nearest Restroom: The most reliable restroom will be at the MLK Memorial Gift Shop. You enter from outside but they were very clean when we went last month. The Cherry Blossom Festival also has dozens of portable restrooms set up in the parking lot off of Independence & Maine Ave SW. (This parking lot is usually blocked off for public parking and is a main stage area for the festival.)

Hains point cherry blossoms dc

Photo taken April 17, 2022 by Jennifer at

5) Hains Point at East Potomac Park - (Easiest place to see cherry blossoms in DC if driving from Virginia)

Hains Point on East Potomac Park is one of the easiest ways to see the cherry blossoms in DC! That is because of the parking and restroom access. It is a 2 mile long peninsula with parking all around. You can use East Potomac Park as a spot to park for the Yoshino Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin.

You can also see the Kwanzan Cherry Trees here about 2 weeks later than the Yoshino. I personally love the Kwanzan trees more because they are very fluffy and much more pink than the Yoshino.

Route: Take Exit 2 if coming from Virginia on 395 into East Potomac Park. The fluffy cherry tree lane is on the West side of the park but it is one-way drive to get there.

Stroller Friendly? Sidewalks are often cracked but they have made it a 2 lane one-way road so a lot of bikers and strollers on one side of the road.

Nearest Restroom: There are 3 restrooms around the park and you can see them on Google Maps.

cemetery congressional dc cherry blossoms

Photo taken March 26, 2021 by Jennifer at

6) Congressional Cemetery - (My personal favorite place to see cherry blossoms in DC!)

I love the Taiwan Cherry Trees at the Congressional Cemetery in Southeast DC. They bloom a few weeks before the Tidal Basin ones and are very delicate and pink. We went Sunday, February 19 and the trees have just started to bloom! I would say peak in a week!

Address: 1801 E St SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Parking: Found free street parking on Potomac Ave SE this year and E St. SE on previous year.

Hours & Cost: It is free to enter dawn to dusk.

Stroller-Friendly? The paths are padded dirt and brick. Dogs are allowed off leash except for Saturday afternoons. I would recommend a baby carrier instead of a stroller here.

Restrooms: Yes, there are restrooms! The Roost is a great food hall just a 6 minute walk or 2 minute drive away.

7) National Arboretum

The National Arboretum also has a lot of cherry blossoms with a lot less crowds! In fact, they have 1,000 cherry trees of all different varieties including the beautiful weeping cherry trees. Check out their online Flowering Cherry Trees Self Guided Tour.

Address: 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Hours & Cost: Free admission. Open 8 AM to 5 PM daily. Bonsai museum is open 10 AM to 4 PM

Parking: Parking lot at the entrances.

Stroller-Friendly? Yes! Paved roads for many parts and some dirt and mulch paths as well.

Restrooms: Restrooms available at the Visitors Center.

Kwanzan Cherry Blossom DC

Kwanzan Cherry Blossom in DC are much more pink! Photo by Jennifer at

8) Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks is a beautiful garden in Georgetown with many cherry trees. Their gardens are open for free but the House and Museum is closed right now for winter so not sure if there are restrooms and when it will reopen.

Address: 1703 32nd St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Hours & Cost: Our grounds are open every day from dawn to dusk, free of charge!

Parking: Street parking around Georgetown.

Stroller-Friendly? Not really, bring a baby carrier.

Restrooms: (Note: The House is closed right now for winter so not sure if there are restrooms and when it will reopen.)

9) LeDroit Park

Stunning Kwanzan cherry trees with a iron gate from the 1800s. Already blooming in 2023 as seen in this IGDC post!

Address: 286 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Hours & Cost: Free!

Parking: Street parking around the park.

Stroller-Friendly? Yes.

Restrooms: No restrooms available.

10) The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The grounds around the Basilica are said to be a wonderful place to see cherry blossoms in DC. I haven't gone yet but will check it out this year and update!

Address: 400 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017

Cost: Free

Parking: TBD

Stroller-Friendly? Yes.

Restrooms: I believe restrooms are available from 6 AM to 6 PM but will go this year to confirm.

cherry blossoms dc

Sometimes the cherry blossoms are more white! Photos were taken by Jennifer at

Parking and Metro to the Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms

We've been to the Tidal Basin 3 times now and parked in 3 different spots, mostly by luck! I am not an expert by any means but here are my suggestions and tips.

First of all, the Tidal Basin Parking Lot near the Paddle Boat House has not been available for public parking for the past 2 years as they use it for the Cherry Blossom Festival. This year the Festival is from March 20 - April 16, 2023.

DC best-places-to-see-cherry-blossoms

Favorite parking garage near Tidal Basin. Address and walking directions below!

Parking Tips for the DC Cherry Blossoms

Street parking is sometimes available on Independence, Jefferson and Madison Drive but please read all the signs as I read that 6,000 parking tickets are given each week during cherry blossom season!

Free Parking at the DC Cherry Blossoms

My favorite place to park for the Tidal Basin is on East Potomac Park. There are tons of spots along the 2 mile peninsula. It might be a 10-20 minute walk to the Tidal Basin based on where you find parking. There are also 3 restrooms on East Potomac Park and 2 playground at the end near Hains Point.


Parking at Cherry Blossoms, photo take 2023.

Best Parking Garage for the DC Cherry Blossoms

I finally tried the "Portals trick" this year in 2023 and it worked great! Park at 1318 D Street SW "SP+ Parking" at the Portals office building:

  • You enter on D Street and then we needed to go down to level P3 or P4 to find a parking spot that is not reserved.
  • Next, take the elevator up and you exit through 1200 Maryland Ave. SW. There is a Starbucks right there!
  • Now walk across the circle to the Salamander hotel and walk down the stairs that are on the lefthand side of the hotel as you face it. (You can ask a valet the way to the Cherry Blossoms and they will gladly help!)
  • You follow a path across a bridge and down another set of stairs. Use the crosswalks and you are at the Tidal Basin!

*Note this path is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible but there might be a different path along D street that would work, it would just take a little longer to walk to the Tidal Basin. The path from the Ronald Reagan Building below would be accessible!

parking cherry-blossoms-in-dc

Stairs to the Salamander hotel from Main Ave. SW

15-20 Minute Walk Parking Option

The Ronald Reagan Building should have spots available in their massive parking garage. It would be about a 15 - 20 minute walk from there to the Tidal Basin.

Metro Tips for the DC Cherry Blossoms

The closest metro to the Tidal Basin is the Smithsonian Metro on the Blue, Silver and Orange lines. It is 0.6 miles or 10 - 15 minute walk from the Smithsonian Metro to the Tidal Basin.

If you are visiting DC and want to park outside the city and metro in, there are 37 metro stations with parking and parking is free on weekends at metro parking lots!

Washington, D.C. Family Visit

Below are more blog posts that I wrote to help you plan a wonderful and easy DC trip for your family and if you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out on Instagram!

  1. Best Family Hotels in Washington DC for all Budgets
  2. 4-Day Itinerary in Washington DC (with morning, afternoon, and evening schedules matched with great restaurants!)
  3. 30 Kid Friendly Restaurants in DC for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner
  4. 15 Best Playgrounds in DC

Map of Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in DC

Check out the Bloom Guide blog post below for 9 other flowers/flowering trees in DC and Northern Virginia! (Haupt Gardens behind the Smithsonian Castle is very stroller friendly!)

flowers bloom guide dc

Full list of the best places to see Cherry Blossoms in DC

  1. MLK Jr. Memorial on the Tidal Basin
  2. Japanese Lantern on the Tidal Basin
  3. Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin
  4. Paddle Boat on the Tidal Basin
  5. East Potomac Park / Hains Point
  6. Congressional Cemetery
  7. National Arboretum
  8. Dumbarton Oaks
  9. LeDroit Park
  10. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception