The Tidal Basin is arguably the most well-known spot in DC to see cherry blossom, but I'll let you in on a secret: The famous blooms can actually be found all around the city. Yep, it's a fact. The Tidal Basin just has better PR.
If crowds aren't your thing or you're just over the Tidal Basin hype, we've scouted 14 alternative,-- but still amazing spots! -- where you can see these natural beauties in all their pink and white glory minus the Disneyland level crowds.
On the National Mall
1. Washington Monument
In honor of the centennial celebration, Japan gifted the city an additional 100 cherry blossoms that have been planted in groves around the Washington Monument.
2. Steps of the Jefferson Memorial
The view from the steps of the Jefferson Memorial–in any season–is one of our favorite spots in Washington. Add Cherry Blossoms into the mix and you have the recipe for a perfect Instagram-ready photo. (#nofilter) The steps of the Jefferson Memorial provide a beautiful 180-degree view of the tree lined tidal basin.
At the Capitol
3. Lower Senate Park
There is a grouping of more than 100 cherry blossom trees lining the fountain and pathways in Lower Senate Park, which is located north of the Capitol Building. Most of the West Lawn of the Capitol also has a variety of Cherry Blossom trees so you’ll be able to get a great photo of the blooms up close surrounding the Capitol dome.
4. National Japanese American Memorial
Fittingly, the walls of the granite memorial, which commemorates the loyalty and patriotism of Japanese American veterans in World War II and remembers Japanese Americans held unlawfully in internment camps, are flanked by cherry trees. Quick history lesson: the plantings of the cherry trees at the Tidal Basin originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant.
5. Dumbarton Oaks
Dumbarton Oaks has a marvelous orchard of cherry trees. In fact, there's a special place called Cherry Hill in the garden. There is an $8 admission fee for this one that goes to support the gardens. Parking is also a bear in this neighborhood; so we recommend you walk or take the bus.
6. Foxhall Village
The cherry blossom-lined streets in this neighborhood near Georgetown are one of the city's best kept secret. There isn't a central place to see all the trees all at once, but it's a lovely place to see the pink and white blooms in all their glory on a leisurely stroll or bike ride.
Off the Beaten Path
7. US National Arboretum
One of the city’s best kept Cherry Blossom secrets is the US National Arboretum, which is one of my favorites! The U.S. National Arboretum covers its 446 acres with dogwoods, crape myrtle trees, a bonsai museum, and, best of all, a collection of cherry trees, including some hybrid species bred by staff scientists. Fun fact: The cherry blossoms here are genetic cousins to the ones at the Tidal Basin. Cuttings of the original 1912 cherry blossom trees were taken by the Arboretum in order to preserve their genetic lineage. So trees are basically identical to the ones at the Tidal Basin, but you can enjoy them without all the crowds. And the former U.S. Capitol Columns in the background make an ideal Instagram moment.
8. American University
It's a little known secret that AU has an arboretum and is home to more than 75 different tree species, including the Korean Cherry. The trees were planted in 1943 outside of the old School of International Service, now renamed as the East Quad Building, blooming each year as a plaque testifying to the AU-Korean friendship.
9. Anacostia Park
This park is one of DC's largest recreation areas with 1,200 acres of green space and beautiful groves of blooming trees. Cherry trees bloom along the Anacostia River, including in Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Enjoy a bike ride or walk to enjoy their natural beauty. Or make a day of it and enjoy a picnic between taking pictures.
10. Arlington National Cemetery
Besides being the hallowed ground to honor our fallen men and women, Arlington is also a level II arboretum. A fitting place for such beauty and serenity, a personal favorite is the Cherry Blossom tree along Crooks Walk, the set of stairs that connects Arlington House to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
11. Hains Point/East Potomac Park
The nearly three miles of roads around Hains Point are mostly used as a place for people to park during the cherry blossom season. But…a little known fact is that this area actually has more trees than the Tidal Basin!
12. National Cathedral
Take in the beauty of the cherry trees against the dramatic gothic architecture of the National Cathedral grounds, and while you’re there don’t miss the Bishop’s Garden.
13. National Harbor
Bet you didn't know this waterfront resort area is also home to hundreds of cherry trees along the Harbor Walk. Yep, it is. For a truly spectacular view, get a panoramic look of the blooms and DC from the top of the ferris wheel.
For Something Completely Different
If your springtime allergies are acting up or you're just not a fan of nature, you can still enjoy the cherry blossoms indoors at this digital art gallery. Each season they exhibit a cherry-bloom inspired, interactive installation featuring the collaborative efforts of women artists/ women-led collectives.
Last but not least, please do your part in helping to protect the city's cherry blossoms. We kindly remind you to look at the blossoms, but never pick them (it’s against the law).
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it