DC’s Cherry Blossoms Magnificently Bloom

The infamous DC Cherry Blossoms are magnets for droves of tourists. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to the District every year for the National Cherry Blossom Festival to experience the puffy white blooms at their peak. This year’s bloom arrived later than usual, actually later than the last 10 years, but it appears tourists had no problems re-booking their travel plans.

In the heat of the day, it’s nearly impossible to navigate the Tidal Basin. Jumping in the water seems like a viable option as temperatures soar and gridlock ensues. But even with the pushing, shoving, sweating, unpleasant atmosphere of ill-mannered masses and innumerable selfies, the blossoms are worth the trip.


I started early, roughly 6AM, to catch the sunrise over the Tidal Basin. Surrounded by at least 100 others, this spectacular display of color kicked off a (longgg) day of blossom gazing.


As the sun finally takes its place in the sky, the blooms expose themselves for their close-ups.


The early morning is the best time to see the blossoms wear their true colors. Less people, cooler temps, and tons of colorful reflections.


I reiterate, you can’t beat the early morning illumination on a clear day. These pinks would not be possible without early morning sunlight.


It’s hard to navigate the crowds in the late afternoon, but add Great Danes to the mix and it’s damn near impossible. This guy was treated to an early morning walk, and couldn’t help but grab a closer look.


Most travelers take the time to experience the blossoms from the MLK memorial, and the two areas on either side of the Kutz Memorial Bridge. But the FDR memorial is a fantastic place to view the blooms, and escape the madness of the thicker crowds.


The blooms are the ceremonial marker of the beginning of spring. And while we take the opportunity to build our portfolios, the locals take the opportunity to build their nests.


On a calm day, you can find the scenery around the Tidal Basin painted on the water within it. I can’t lie, sometimes having so many people around just works.


One advantage to the late blooms this year is that “peak weekend” coincided with Jefferson’s birthday. In recognition, honor guards from all five branches of the U.S. military participated in a ceremony at the Jefferson Memorial.


Every year the blooms get better. As the trees age, they stretch closer and closer to the water below. This tree is among the oldest on the lot – and certainly one the largest.


…some of the locals aren’t so happy about the influx of tourists…angry birds…


The Jefferson is THE focal point on the Tidal Basin. The blossoms frame the memorial perfectly, and the perspectives are endless. Believe it or not, I’m surrounded by hundreds of people, but thanks to good genes, I was able to snap this shot.


Strained necks are common, but worth it. Look up or you’ll miss the true beauty of these blossoms. While their reflections on the water are pretty to look at, their patchwork artistry above is breathtaking.


Even in the midst of a million people, the blooms make a perfect backdrop for some pics of your loved ones.


And once the masses have thinned, and the tourists have departed, it’s time to reflect. The blossoms after dark is a much more relaxing experience. And while you may think there is no point in staying after sunset, I assure you, a 30 second exposure is all the reason you need.