National Cherry Blossom Festival

cherryblossomwhitehouseThe National Cherry Blossom Festival, the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, is set for March 20 – April 13 at various venues in Washington, D.C.

This year commemorates the 102nd anniversary of the gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, DC with over three weeks and four weekends of energetic and dynamic programming, welcoming attendees to step into the new season. The festival’s reach continues to extend beyond the blooms and unites the metro-DC area to offer prestigious and innovative arts and culture, world-class entertainment, environmental initiatives, and community spirit. Events are primarily free and open to the public.

Throughout the Festival: During the third annual City in Bloom campaign, presented by Capital One Bank, iconic buildings and transportation hubs light in pink to celebrate the festival. Area businesses, organizations and individuals spread the spirit of the Festival by using bright pink blossom decals on cars, storefronts, windows, and more. The Petal Pass Program offers springtime savings for holders at local attractions, retailers, fitness centers, restaurants, among others. The free Pass is exclusively available at 164 Capital One Bank branches (March 17-April 12). Offers are valid from March 20-April 30. The Hotel Program, in conjunction with Destination DC, provides Festival-inspired guest packages for visitors. Through the festival’s Cherry Picks Restaurant Program with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, nearly 100 restaurants offer spring-inspired menus.

Events & Tours: The festival opens with the stylish Pink Tie Party fundraiser on Thursday, March 20 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The opening ceremony, on Saturday, March 22 at Warner Theatre, features world-class talent from the U.S. and Japan to welcome spring and celebrate the anniversary of the gift of trees. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required online. The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m.-noon, and the delayed telecast airs from noon-2 p.m. on WUSA 9. The parade marches down Constitution Avenue with exciting performances, celebrity entertainment, lavish floats, giant helium balloons, dance troupes, and more.

Additional signature events that help comprise the 2014 calendar include Family Days presented with the National Building Museum and sponsored by Safeway on Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23; Cherry Blast: Art + Music Dance Party and the Blossom Kite Festival on Saturday, March 29; the Grand Sake Tasting on Thursday, April 3; the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival on Saturday, April 5, and the Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival produced by The Japan-America Society of Washington DC on Saturday, April 12.

Over 40 participating organizations offer programming throughout the Festival, including rare and renowned arts and culture at institutions. View the blossoms from Big Bus Tours, the official bus tour of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Use code NCBF2014 for a 25% discount on select tours. Tour Providers offer multiple ways to tour the blossoms by bike, foot, and boat.

Information & Planning: The free App for Android and iPhone platforms allows for planning in advance or real time. Visit Festival headquarters at Union Station, open March 17 – April 14, for free information about events and programs and official merchandise. The Festival Welcome Center, in conjunction with the National Park Service, is located near the paddle boats at the Tidal Basin and open March 29 – April 13.

Bike, Walk, or Metro is best! Visitors and residents are encouraged to bike, walk, or use public transportation whenever possible. Visit to explore an interactive map and learn about your transportation options. View Metrobus and Metrorail station maps, point-to-point directions, and trip planners on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website. For a more enjoyable trip, take Metrorail during non-rush hours to the Smithsonian Station (Blue/Orange lines). The L’Enfant Plaza Station (Blue/Yellow/Green lines) 7th Street & Maryland Avenue exit is only an extra 10-minute walk to the Tidal Basin. Customers are encouraged to use their SmarTrip® to receive a 25¢ discount per trip. The National Park Service provides free bike racks near the Jefferson Memorial. Capital Bikeshare, a bike rental program, has multiple stations close to the Tidal Basin and Festival events.

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