Every year a vibrant spectacle of delicate pink flowers usher in the beginning of spring in Washington, D.C., and these magnificent blooms are celebrated in a month-long celebration known as the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival celebrates the 3,000 cherry blossom trees given to the U.S in 1912 by the mayor of Tokyo, a gift that honors a lasting friendship between the U.S. and Japan. This year the Cherry Blossom Festival will take place between March 20 and April 14. Read below for some of the fantastic kid-friendly events you’ll find at this year’s festival.
Washington Parent is a proud sponsor of the SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration and the Blossom Kite Festival.
More Cherry Blossom Events
- Petalpalooza Presented by Chase
Saturday, April 6, 12:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Wharf, 690 Water Street SW, Washington, D.C.
Celebrate spring at the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Petalpalooza for a full day of live music and engaging activities at The Wharf. Petalpalooza features live music on multiple outdoor stages, a beer garden, all-ages activities, product giveaways, a spectacular fireworks show by Pyrotecnico, and much more along the piers of the Southwest Waterfront. Take in the half-mile-long stretch of The Wharf’s shops and restaurants as the National Cherry Blossom Festival transforms the waterfront community into a one-day-only springtime spectacle! Free to participate.
Note: Fireworks show begins at 8:30 p.m.
- National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade Presented by Events DC
Saturday, April 13, 10:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
Constitution Avenue, From 7th to 17th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C.
One of DC’s largest spectator events, the energy-filled National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade presented by Events DC runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue. Giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, celebrity entertainers and energetic performers burst down the parade route in a grand spectacle of music and showmanship seen only once a year during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. From the National Archives to the Washington Monument, spectators will be wowed by the pageantry and excitement that is the nation’s premier springtime parade! Grandstand seating starts at $20; parade route is free and open to the public.
- Anacostia River FestivalSunday, April 14, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Anacostia Park/Anacostia Drive & Good Hope Road, SE
Anacostia & Eastern Market Metro Station
The 11th Street Bridge Park and the National Park Service presents the fifth annual Anacostia River Festival at Anacostia Park. Take a canoe out to explore the River, ride in the bike parade, play lawn games and experience Southeast D.C.’s local arts scene. Free to participate.
- Student Art Contest and Community Art Show
March 26 – April 12, Tuesday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.*
Sunday, April 7 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.*
Monday, April 8 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.*
Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival and DC Arts & Humanities Education Collaborative invite students from DC public and public charter schools in grades K through 12 to participate in the Youth Art Contest. Entries are judged by a panel, and winners are selected in age-specific categories. Submissions will be showcased in a Community Art Show at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery. Free to participate.
- Petalpalooza Presented by Chase
- Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Saturday, April 6 & Saturday, April 13, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery & Freer Gallery, Independence Avenue at 12th Street SW, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian Metro Station
Take a family-friendly tour and learn about nature in Japanese art (10:30 a.m.). Then, enjoy art-making activities and artist demonstrations inspired by spring. All ages welcome with adult companions. Free to participate.
- Growing Community
Sunday, April 7, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
Judiciary Square or Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station
Celebrate the playfulness of spring at the National Building Museum. Participate in hands-on activities and learn from community partners as you explore how landscape design can inspire outdoor play to grow and strengthen community. Take a closer look at the green space incorporated into your built environment that gets people outside and brings them together. Open to all ages. Free to participate.
- Blossom Kite Festival
Saturday, March 30, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
On the grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
The National Mall serves as the backdrop as thousands of kites take flight during the annual Blossom Kite Festival. Professionals and novices alike showcase their skill through a variety of competitions and demonstrations, Rokkaku Battles and the Hot Tricks Showdown. Bring your own kites or children can make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field. Kites are also available for purchase onsite. This event is a spectacle to see and one you don’t want to miss!
- Cherry Blossom STEM Day at the Lab!
Saturday, April 6, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Children’s Science Center Lab, 119498 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, Va.
Visitors will enjoy this Blossom Petal Pigmentation Experiment! Press or rub blossom petals into a coffee filter, and see the pigmentation of this very special flower! Go a step further and compare with other flowers, and see if you find a pattern in various types of flower petals. Participation included with general admission of $13/person.
- STORYTIME: Under the Cherry Blossom Tree
Wednesday, April 3, 10:00 a.m. & Sunday, April 7, 11:00 a.m.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 700 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C.
L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station
Bring your youngest artists to Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington D.C., a Japanese Dogwood tree symbolizing community and hope for the future. Hear a Japanese tale about a man swallowing a seed which results in a tree growing out of his head. Meet in the Lobby for the event. Free to participate.
- Sakura Sunday
Sunday, April 14, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
National Harbor, 150 National Plaza, National Harbor, Md.
The National Harbor with The Japan-America Society of Washington will celebrate the cherry blossom season with a free festival highlighting Japanese culture. Enjoy Japanese picnicking with food available for sale; a sake, rosé and beer garden; a Japanese market; music; art and entertainment. Free to participate.
For more information visit: nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.