Soon we’ll be seeing the hallmark of spring in the D.C. area, when nearly 3,750 cherry blossom trees color the Tidal Basin, National Mall and Potomac River in shades of pink and white, drawing thousands of visitors to stage a photo op, bask in the beauty or peer through the petals at the surrounding monuments. The National Park Service predicts peak bloom will occur April 1, 2019.
It’s easy to see the nation’s capital all pretty in pink and enjoy the National Cherry Blossom Festival happening March 20 to April 14, 2019, from historic Alexandria, Virginia, located just minutes from Washington, D.C. Walkable Old Town, filled with hundreds of independent restaurants and boutiques, is the perfect home base for an intimate encounter with American history and even more cherry blossom experiences. Stroll through spring in Alexandria and enjoy the flowering trees, historic streets and cherry blossom-inspired tours, events and food and drink offerings. Keep reading for our favorite ways to celebrate the cherry blossoms.
See the Cherry Blossoms in D.C.
Water Taxi to the D.C. Cherry Blossoms
For a hassle-free trip into D.C., let Potomac Riverboat Company spirit you away from Alexandria so you can stroll among the famous Yoshino cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin. The Wharf Water Taxi offers a 25-minute direct cruise from Old Town to D.C.’s bustling Wharf development. The water taxi is also an easy way to access events of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, including the Blossom Kite Festival and Petalpalooza. From the dock at The Wharf, it’s a 10-minute walk to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. Starting March 1, 2019, the water taxi service is offered daily, with departures from Old Town beginning at 9:40 a.m. on weekdays and 11:45 a.m. on weekends.
Take a River Cruise to See the Blossoms
Traverse the Potomac River and see the cherry blossoms from a different perspective as you sail through D.C. on the Washington’s Monuments Cruise by Potomac Riverboat Company. Look around and listen to the history of iconic monuments, memorials and bridges as the Potomac River awakens to spring. See beautiful cherry blossom trees as you sail past Hains Point and head onward to Georgetown. The cruise is 45 minutes one-way and approximately 90 minutes round-trip and is offered on Saturdays and Sundays beginning March 23, 2019, through peak bloom season. Cruises depart from Alexandria at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Enjoy the Blossoms by Bike
Pedego Electric Bikes, new to Old Town, let riders zip among the Yoshino cherries with their seasonal Cherry Blossom Rides. For 2 to 3 hours, participants glide from Old Town to the cherry blossoms, including a spin through Hains Point. With the electric bikes, riders of wide-ranging ages and abilities can enjoy an hours-long ride and breathtaking surroundings with ease. This new special tour will be offered from March 20 to April 12, 2019, or for as long as the cherry blossoms are in bloom, departing at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Take a Guided Bus Tour
Visitors seeking a guided tour and a higher vantage point can choose from a number of fun bus tours, including USA Guided Tours’ Cherry Blossoms Galore Tour. Or, hop on and off as you like with Big Bus Tours or Old Town Trolley Tours.
New Cherry Blossom Tours and Events in Alexandria
Cherry Blossoms and History Walking Tour
Discover Alexandria bridges past and present with its Cherry Blossom Pop-Up History Tour in April. Soak in the floral scenery while absorbing local history. Tours depart from the Alexandria Visitor Center and last 70-90 minutes, and dogs are welcome. The two pop-up tours will occur during peak bloom weekend. Discover Alexandria will announce the dates and times on its website and social media platforms one week in advance.
Cherry Blossom Food Crawl
To kick off its 2019 foray in Alexandria, Carpe DC Food Tours is premiering a self-guided Alexandria Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl. Ten participating local restaurants, mapped out in the convenient passport, will open their doors to participants. Tickets are offered in packages of 6 or 8 tastings so diners can mix-and-match their meals. Simply flash your wristband, provided at check-in, and partake in some of the city’s finest cuisine at your own pace.
Cherry Blossom Shop & Sip Event
The Old Town Boutique District and its restaurant partners have designed a jam-packed day of cherry blossom festivities, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 14, 2019. Ease into the day with brunch and pink cocktails, then spend the day perusing the spring collections of Old Town Boutique District shops.
Cherry Blossom Celebration at the Torpedo Factory
On April 6, 2019, head to the Torpedo Factory Art Center on Alexandria’s waterfront to enjoy an indoor hanami (flower viewing) and revel in all things cherry blossom. Artists show and make work inspired by the popular pink and white blooms while visitors enjoy a range of activities and performances.
Cherry Blossom Treats and Menus in Alexandria
Alexandria eateries have pulled out all the stops to present their best cherry blossom-inspired fare. Choose from 10 local gems on Carpe DC Food Tours’ Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl, or try the one-stop options below.
Cherry Blossom Treats
Dolci Gelati will bring back its popular Cherry Blossom gelato for the National Cherry Blossom Festival this year, offering a light, floral flavor that’s perfect for springtime. Dolci founder Gianluigi Dellaccio knows a thing or two about concocting delectable gelato flavors. Dellaccio was appointed a Global Gelato Ambassador by the Italian Gelatoers Association in January 2018 and won “Best Gelato Flavor” at the Inaugural Gelato Festival America in November 2017.
Sugar Shack Donuts will offer a Cherry Glazed Donut from March 20 to April 14, 2019. Grab this seasonal specialty, topped with a gummy cherry, to fuel a day of sightseeing, or reward yourself at day’s end.
Cherry Blossom Menus
Inspired by the floral phenomenon, Magnolia’s On King will offer Cherry Blossom Pork Belly, served with cherry spätzle, micro green salad and a blistered cherry reduction. Pair the entrée with their fresh cocktail, Black Cherry Keto Spritz, featuring Falls Church Distillers’ vodka, minted soda water and house-made, keto-approved cherry sangria. Find these special offerings from March 24 to April 14, 2019.
For its own creative take on spring, Old Town’s Columbia Firehouse will offer Cherry BBQ Duck Tacos from March 20, 2019 through April 14, 2019. For $15, enjoy a taco trio stuffed with pulled duck leg, dark cherry barbecue sauce and tangy slaw, wrapped in a blue corn tortilla. Ring in the season by dining al fresco on the front patio, or, linger in the sumptuous interior dining rooms.
French-forward Brabo Brasserie will also be offering a special entrée and dessert spanning the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Try the Rohan Duck Bigarade, prepared with cherry compote, pomegranate reduction and citrus. Then, cap off a memorable meal with Cherry-Filled Baked Alaska, served tableside with a rum flambé.
Cherry Blossom Hotel Packages
“Awesome Blossom” Package at Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa
Available March 20 to April 15, 2019, Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa’s “Awesome Blossom” package equips guests with everything they need to venture out to the cherry blossoms while relishing the local scene. Perks include two pre-loaded Metrorail cards, a $25 daily dining credit for cocktails, dining or room service at Brabo Brasserie or Brabo Tasting Room, an area map and cherry blossom keepsake puzzle for families and friends to forge lasting memories.
“Cherry on Top” Package from The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection
The Alexandrian, Autograph Collection, located on King Street in the heart of Old Town, presents its “Cherry on Top” package, available March 18 to April 28, 2019. The wide-ranging amenities begin with cherry blossom-themed cocktails for two when travelers check in. Guests can enjoy their gourmet picnic basket, provided by Jackson 20 restaurant, in the springtime air at the nearby Potomac River waterfront. Next, use your complimentary tickets to hop on the Potomac Riverboat Company’s water taxi to The Wharf for a round-trip excursion to see the cherry blossoms close-up.
More Ways to See the Cherry Blossoms from Alexandria
Need even more ideas for how to see the cherry blossoms? Rent a bike or hop on Capital Bikeshare and pedal north on the Mount Vernon Trail and across the Potomac for an invigorating six-mile Tour de Spring. Or, hop on the Metrorail at one of Alexandria’s four stations to head into D.C. for a day of exploration. The L’Enfant Plaza Metro and Smithsonian Metro are the stops closest to the Tidal Basin.
After the blooms make way for more colorful blossoms and greenery, there’s still plenty of things to do this spring in Alexandria.
Header Image Credit: S. Stanton for Visit Alexandria