From March 20th to April 16th, you can’t miss the four incomparable weeks filled with food, fun, art and culture. From the winsome Sakura to sub-festivals of all kinds, it’s safe to say the centuries-old Japanese tradition and now 111-year-old American obsession would be a shame not to visit. Besides the rite of passage of taking aesthetic photos by the Tidal Basin (and others), here’s a guide to the key events and hidden bulbs going on this season.
Into the Woods at Frying Pan Farm Park
Trek on the Frying Pan Farm Park nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Throughout your trek, stop to build a fairy house, help tally migratory and year-round resident birds and search for critters in the soil and water! Once finished, enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Meeting House. But before you even start, don’t get lost and stop by the Indoor Arena first for a map and instructions.
This event is free! Register here.
Frying Pan Farm Park, 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA | April 1st | 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Participating D.C. area residents have decorated their porches, yards and windows to celebrate their cherry blossom and springtime spirit. With the petal porch map, your family can visit these creative homes and post pictures on social media with #PetalPorches. It’s a great way to make a quick stop in your neighborhood to celebrate the festival if you can’t make it into the main area.
Check the website for more information on voting for your favorite homes!
Various neighborhoods in D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland | Now through April 16th
Japanese Culture Day
You and your family have this exciting opportunity to learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. The introduction of Japanese woodblock prints, storytelling, origami and others make a return, while you can also watch demonstrations of the Japanese harp, calligraphy and tiara-making with the cherry blossom princesses!
For more information, visit the Library of Congress website.
Young Readers Center, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, 10 First Street SE, Washington, D.C. | April 1st | 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Art In Bloom
Thought seeing the real cherry blossoms wasn’t beautiful enough? Think again! Amazon is presenting multiple giant cherry blossom sculptures in public spaces throughout the region. See if you can find them! Hint: use the map. It’s a great way to support the artists and take fun photos with the huge blossoms!
View all past and present blooms and their artists here.
Washington, D.C. & beyond | Now through April 17th
Oxon Run Pinknic & Kite Fly
Missed the Blossom Kite Festival in March? Fret no more as the annual Oxon Run Pinknic & Kite Fly will host kite programming, entertainment and more in coordination with the Blossom Kite Festival at Oxon Run Park in Ward 8. Spring It On and celebrate the Ward 8 community with free food, kite kits, art, music and fun kid activities, and support local businesses by shopping at the Ward 8 Vendor Market (National Cherry Blossom Festival).
1200 Mississippi Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. | April 2nd | 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Art Blooms at Mosaic
Mosaic welcomes spring with a two-day festival where friends, families and surrounding communities are invited to a weekend of fun-filled family activities while taking part in the nation’s favorite springtime celebrations. In partnership with URBNmarket and FRESHFARM; Mosaic District will transform into an outdoor festival with a host of 90+ handmade and vintage vendors, special performances and various activities for the whole family. From live entertainment throughout the festival and kids’ activities to cherry blossom Arts and Crafts vendors, a farmers’ market and much more (National Cherry Blossom Festival)!
Mosaic District, 2910 District Avenue, Fairfax, VA | April 1st – 2nd | 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Like last year, this year’s free outdoor Petalpalooza may be the most electrifying way to celebrate the festival. Featuring showcases on multiple outdoor stages, interactive art installations through the Petalpalooza Art Walk, a cashless beverage garden, family-friendly hands-on activities, roaming D.C. sports mascots and entertainers and more, all along the banks of the Anacostia River. Cap the evening off even better by watching the dazzling choreographed official fireworks show set to music!
Capitol Riverfront (The Yards) | April 8th | 1:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. with fireworks at 8:30 p.m.
Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival
Being the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S., the festival features over 24 hours of Japanese cultural performances on four stages and a diverse range of cultural exhibitors, artisan and commercial vendors of traditional and contemporary Japanese goods, Japanese food and other food and beverages. The sub-areas are Arts & Culture, Japan Now!, Ginza Marketplace and Taste of Japan.
Good news – children 12 and under are always free and don’t require a ticket! Visit the official website for more information on tickets, where you can also get merchandise and family packages!
Pennsylvania Avenue NW – Between 3rd and 7th Streets, Washington, D.C. | April 15th, 10:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. | April 16th, 10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
The National parade makes a return with grand colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, celebrity entertainers and performers bursting down the Parade route in a spectacle of music and showmanship celebrating spring in D.C. Emmy Award-winning TV personality Carson Kressley will be providing commentary from the street!
Portions of the Parade (Constitution Avenue between 9th & 15th Streets) are free to the public along the route and are first-come, first-serve. For more ticket information, visit here.
Constitution Avenue NW, between 7th and 17th Streets, Washington, D.C. | April 15th | 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Relatives & friends coming from far away and thinking of making a fun spring break trip? Check out participating hotels for a place for them to stay!
Got questions? Visit their FAQ page!
Honorable Mentions/+Hidden Bulbs
- Blossoming Flowers in Japanese Art and Poetry
- Credit Union Cherry Blossom Virtual Run
- The 6821 Quintet at Millennium Stage
- Tamagawa University Dance and Taiko Group U.S. North American Tour
- Anacostia River Festival
- Ways to View