15 Things To Do And See In D.C. For Cherry Blossom Season

15 Things to Do and See in D.C. for Cherry Blossom Season

The "nation's greatest springtime celebration" is in the nation's capital. The tradition started in 1912 when the mayor of Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry trees to the U.S. as a sign of friendship. This year's event lasts until April 16.

Kite extravaganza on the National Mall

The Blossom Kite Festival is a favorite event. Actually, the National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off the kite season. Various competitions and demonstrations keep visitors entertained. People can bring their own kites. Kids have the opportunity to make a kite to fly on the Public Field.

Sake tasting

This is the time to celebrate everything Japanese, and sake is one of the culture's best known exports. You can sample sake at many of the festival's events. Explore the world of sake (and its close relative shōchū) and find out why so many people all over the world love this drink.

Try cherry blossom-themed foods and drinks

Events D.C. Cherry Blast! on April 14 is a premier event that brings the sights, sounds, scents and tastes of Japan to the nation's capital as Dock 5 at Union Market is transformed into a vibrant Tokyo streetscape featuring authentic street food, craft vendors, interactive art displays and a pulsating soundstage with DJs and entertainers to fuel the dance party throughout the night. You can see a list of Cherry Picks Restaurants here.

The Parade

The tradition started in 1912 when the mayor of Tokyo gave 3,000 cherry trees to the U.S. as a sign of friendship. The grand parade down Constitution Avenue, which also happens to be one of the largest displays in the country, is the highlight, the culmination, of the entire festival. You can see everything from giant helium balloons to elaborate floats to live musical performances. You can walk along the parade route. It's free.

Newseum Night of 2017

If you were able to get tickets in time – this event is on April 7, and it's sold out – you will be one of the few to celebrate the cherry blossom season with a grand party that will immerse you in an evening of Japanese sights, sounds and tastes. You will also be able to dance to the beat of your own drum at the silent disco and learn to master the art of origami.

Visit the Lincoln Memorial

You can't go to Washington, D.C. without visiting some of its outstanding museums. If you have little time, make sure to at least see the Lincoln Memorial, arguable one of the most recognizable landmarks in the entire country. It was built to resemble a Greek temple. It has 36 Doric columns, one for each state at the time of Lincoln's death.

Go on a river cruise around D.C.

Don't just take a walk to see the national monuments, get a unique perspective – from the deck of a boat. The popular Potomac Cruise features highlights such as the Jefferson Memorial, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Washington Monument, Memorial Bridge, and the 14th St. Bridge.

The Anacostia River Festival

Celebrate the connection between people and nature – more specifically between people and parks. Adventure lovers will appreciate this event because they can take a canoe out to explore the river, ride in the bike parade, and play lawn games. Other activities include hands-on art projects and live music performances. This is a free event.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival

The event takes place on April 15 between 2 and 9:30 p.m. at the District Wharf. Enjoy  live music, beer and cider gardens, food trucks, and all-ages hands-on activities. The Titanic Memorial for pre-fireworks entertainment starts at 6 p.m. The display of this highlight event is best seen from the Waterfront Park closest to the Titanic Memorial.  The fireworks may also be viewed from East Potomac Park.

Recreational activities at Rock Creek Park

Running in D.C. is a good opportunity to explore history. The 2,000-acre Rock Creek Park was founded as one of the country's first federal parks. The Western Ridge Trail is an often overlooked gem, and the 5.5-mile Valley Trail offers a variety of rocky, technical single-track and smooth horse trails, according to Rock Creek Runner. At 25 miles long, the Rock Creek Trail stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to Lake Needwood Park in Montgomery Country, Maryland. But with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and a beginner-friendly terrain, it's well worth the bike ride.

Sakura Matsui – Japanese Street Festival

This is the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S., and it's also the grand finale of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  Performers and vendors travel from all over to show Japanese culture and traditions. Visitors can enjoy more than 20 total hours of live musical and dance performances on four stages on April 8 between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Go on a DC Design Tour

Take a break from the flowers for a day and go on historical walking tours of the nation's capital with a focus on architecture and urban planning. Get an insider's perspective on the design of the District, on and off the National Mall. Find out more about the city's most prominent architectural phenomena and best kept secrets.

Discover the city by bike

Go biking in the District along trail rides, take safety classes, get quick bike tune-ups and enjoy special bike activities for all ages. D.C. has more than 50 miles of bicycle lanes and plans to install even more. Also, the capital has the second largest bike-share program in the country, after New York. You can get far on two wheels.

Take the kids to the National Zoological Park

The National Zoo is home to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, some of the world's favorite Giant Pandas. It's also where you can get up close and personal with more than 2,000 animals of 400 different species. The 163-acre zoological park is one of the oldest zoos in the country and a leader in animal care, science and education. As a part of the Smithsonian Institution, a visit here is free. You can also see Asian elephants, lions, gazelles, cheetahs, zebras, apes, reptiles, invertebrates, birds, beavers, otters, eagles, wolves and much more.

See the nation’s founding documents

The National Archives was created in 1934. It is one of the world's largest repositories. It is basically the country's memory, documenting American history. See exhibits of historical records such as the Public Vaults and the Charters of Freedom  – the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.