It’s no surprise that the Tidal Basin is super crowded during cherry blossom season in Washington DC.

cherry blossoms washington dc 2024

The Tidal Basin cherry blossoms are the main attraction during the Cherry Blossom Festival and arguably the best place to see cherry blossoms in DC.  For the full guide on Washington DC cherry blossoms on when they bloom and more see here:  Washington DC Cherry Blossom Guide.

But I have 10 secret spots to see cherry blossoms in Washington DC to avoid all the crowd!

cherry blossoms washington dc

These other places to see cherry blossoms in DC are just as pretty as the Tidal Basin and some of the peak bloom times also differ from the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms, so you will have the chance to catch both! 

Or if you happen to arrive in DC before or after the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, some of these places might be blooming.

Cherry Blossoms Washington DC Peak Bloom 2024

So when do cherry blossoms reach peak bloom in Washington DC?

When will the DC cherry blossoms bloom in 2024?

Cherry blossoms usually bloom between mid to late March and early April.

how to take pictures of cherry blossoms in washington dc without crowds

In 2019 the National Park Service predicted that peak bloom for the Washington DC Tidal Basin cherry blossoms to be between April 3 and 6 in 2019.

The cherry blossom peak bloom forecast for Washington DC though isn’t always accurate because of how volatile the weather in this area is.

It’s 70 degrees one minute and snowing the next.  A few years ago we actually had snow covered blossoms, and NPS had to push back their initial forecast.

Then the NPS revised their prediction again 3 days before the peak bloom period.

Some of the alternative places to see cherry blossoms in Washington DC I have listed below have different peak bloom times so if you happen to miss peak bloom around the Tidal Basin, these alternatives may be in bloom.

The National Park Service and the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang usually announce their peak bloom predictions late February to early March.  Last year, NPS announced March 1st. 

In 2023 The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang predicted Washington DC cherry blossoms peak bloom between March 25 and March 29.  The warmer February we experienced in DC pushed the cherry blossom buds to reach their first stage on February 23.  In general, though a warmer March usually leads to an earlier peak bloom in late March.  While a cooler March leads to later peak bloom toward the beginning of April.  

The National Park Service predicted Washington DC cherry blossom peak bloom to be between March 22 and March 25 for 2023.


National Park Service:  Between March 23 to March 26, 2024

Washington Post:  Between March 19 and March 23 2024

Storm Team4:  March 24, 2024

As of March 17, 2024, the cherry blossoms in Washington DC have hit peak bloom!   Looks like the Washington Post was the closest in it’s predictions!

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in DC besides the Tidal Basin:

  1. Hains Point/East Potomac Park
  2. United States National Arboretum
  3. Congressional Cemetery
  4. Basilica of the National Shrine
  5. Kenwood
  6. National Cathedral
  7. Oak Hill Cemetery
  8. Rose Park
  9. Stanton Park
  10. Lower Senate Park
  11. Dumbarton Oaks
  12. Oxon Run Park
  13. Montrose Park

Keep reading for more information and pictures of each location for cherry blossoms in DC!

1. Hains Point East Potomac Park Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

Hains Point in East Potomac Park is usually used as parking for visitors to see the cherry blossoms by the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.   

cherry blossoms dc hains point

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Cherry blossom trees line the road here! There’s a huge variety of cherry trees and basically no crowds because everyone is busy walking to the Tidal Basin. 

The Yoshino cherry blossoms around Hains Point bloom at the same time as the Tidal Basin, around late March to early April. 

March 29, 2023 Hains Point Cherry Blossom Update:  The cherry blossoms in Hains Point are perfect!  Especially on the Channel Side.  Right when you enter the park, the blooms are beautiful!  The cherry blossom trees are a little bit behind the Tidal Basin so the petals have not started falling yet!   

Unlike the NPS announcement last week that they are reversing traffic in Hains Point, it’s flowing normally during the week.  But this weekend the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and 5k are happening and the park is usually closed for the event. 

How much longer will the Hains Point cherry blossoms bloom?  If you can’t make it this week, these blossoms make last until next week if they survive the storms and 80-degree weather this weekend.  I would go Thursday or Friday if you can.  But these have the best chance of surviving until next week!

My favorite cherry blossom trees here are the kwanzan cherry blossoms that bloom about 2 weeks after the Yoshino.  

cherry blossom engagement session

There is literally a forest of these trees planted in East Potomac Park and makes for the best photos.

If you ever wanted to frolic in a forest of cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. this is the place to do it. 

kwansan cherry blossom dc

Peak bloom for Kwanzan cherry blossoms in DC near Hains Point is about 2 weeks after the main cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin.   As of April 5, 2023 these flowers are starting to bloom and may hit peak bloom by the weekend with the warm temperatures we are experiencing!

So if you happen to miss the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms then Hains Point is a great alternative.

washington dc cherry blossoms
hains point washington dc

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2. United States National Arboretum Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC

The U.S. National Arboretum has a large variety of cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. that bloom at different times.  

national arboretum dc cherry blossoms

The trees here are absolutely gorgeous, especially the stunning willow cherry blossom trees. Because the space here is so large there are hardly any crowds so it’s perfect for pictures!

cherry blossoms national arboretum

My dress is available here.

The U.S. National Arboretum is open 8am – 5pm.  In previous years the cherry blossoms at the National Arboretum bloomed about 1 week before the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin. 

If you are too early for the Yoshino cherry trees in DC then the National Arboretum is a great alternative.

Additionally, the Holly and Magnolia Collection at the National Arboretum is truly magical! 

national arboretum cherry blossoms

The magnolias bloom around the same time as the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms.  

national arboretum cherry blossoms

I just went for a visit on April 2, 2021 and it was beautiful.  The magnolias smell amazing and there are some daffodils blooming too! 

The magnolias are located here.

I would download their app to see exactly what is blooming and where so you are not driving around aimlessly.

national arboretum cherry blossoms
cherry blossom national arboretum
washington dc national arboretum cherry blossoms

Parking at the U.S. National Arboretum

The U.S National Arboretum has ample parking.  I’ve never had trouble finding a place to park.  There is parking at both the Visitor Center and the New York Avenue Entrance.  

There are also various parking spots scattered throughout the park.

 3. Congressional Cemetery Cherry Blossoms

This may be kind of shocking but the Congressional Cemetery is a beautiful place to view cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.  Beautiful pink trees line the walkway during spring and without any crowds in sight.

The Okame cherry blossom trees at Congressional Cemetery bloom about 1-2 weeks before the Yoshinos around the Tidal Basin.  Then there is a second bloom of Kwansan cherry blossom trees about 1-2 weeks after the Yoshinos.

congressional cemetery cherry blossoms

As of February 19, 2023 the Okame cherry blossoms in Washington DC are in full bloom!

congressional cemetery

This creates a beautiful blossom tunnel effect I’ve not seen in many places around this area!

If you’ve never been to Congressional Cemetery it may be a bit confusing because it looks closed!

Many of the gates appear to be locked and they still have a sign up on their main entrance which contradicts their website.

The main gate entrance is on E street and there’s plenty of free 2-hour parking right in front of the entrance.

The main gate looks closed but it is not!  It’s not locked you can enter freely.

congressional cemetery blossoms

Once you enter through the main gate on E Street, just walk straight and you will see the blossoms to your right.

I saw quite a few people walking their dogs here but definitely no crowds.  I was here on a weekday though early in the morning!

Location:  1801 E Street, Southeast
Washington, D.C. 20003

More places to see Okami cherry blossoms in Washington DC include the LeDroit Park Arch, which only has a few trees and the National Harbor area.

ledroit park dc cherry blossoms

4. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Cherry Blossoms

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception not only boasts beautiful architecture but also has 150 stunning cherry blossom trees!  

And unlike the Tidal Basin, the Basilica offers free parking for visitors. The Basilica is open 7 am to 6 pm through March 31st, and open until 7 pm after April 1.   

5. Kenwood Bethesda, Maryland Cherry Blossoms

Kenwood is a neighborhood in Maryland just outside of Washington D.C.  

kenwood cherry blossoms how long will they last

The cherry blossoms in Kenwood though are just as pretty as the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.  There’s also a free parking lot because you can’t park on the streets here. 

cherry blossoms bethesda kenwood

The Kenwood cherry blossoms bloom about a few days to a week after the cherry blossoms in DC so if you miss the Washington DC cherry blossom bloom, Kenwood is a good choice!

If you happen to live in Maryland there’s also quite a few other places to find cherry blossoms in Maryland.

kenwood cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms not in dc
bethesda cherry blossoms

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6.  National Cathedral Bishops Garden

The National Cathedral gardens are a great place to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Washington DC.  Bishops Garden is where a beautiful weeping cherry blossom tree sits providing a beautiful photo opportunity with the National Cathedral in the background! 

Parking is free at Bishops Garden and usually pretty empty on a weekday.  The gardens are also free to enter and open from sun up to sundown.

cherry blossoms washington dc

Location:  3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

7.  Oak Hill Cemetery

Oak Hill Cemetary is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC.  This historic cemetery is absolutely stunning and worth a visit any time of the year.  I originally wanted to photograph the tunnel of cherry blossoms and magnolias at Oak Hill Cemetery, but unfortunately, the unexpected freeze we had in DC killed the magnolia flowers.

cherry blossoms georgetown

The cherry blossoms were still stunning.  There’s a really pretty row of them lining the walkway!

cherry blossoms georgetown

Location:  Also right next to Dumbarton Oaks, but free.  It boasts not only cherry blossoms but also magnolias.  Location:  3001 R St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Hours:  Gates open at 8am but I got here at 7am and it was already open.

Fees:  FREE

8.  Rose Park

Rose Park is another perfect hidden gem for cherry blossoms, especially if you have kids.  There’s a really pretty row of cherry blossom trees that hang nice and low for amazing pictures.

dc cherry blossoms

The cherry blossom trees are also right next to a playground so kids will love it!

Location:  2459p P St NW, Washington, DC 20007

9.  Stanton Park

Stanton Park is another great place to see cherry blossoms in DC.  This little park is not that big but surrounded by stunning cherry blossom trees!  

Originally designated as “No.5” by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791, Stanton Park is a designed cultural landscape located in northeast Washington, D.C., its four acres are bordered between 6th Street NE to the east and 4th Street NE to the west, and it is one of the larger Capitol Hill Parks. It has been a public park since the first improvements to the area in the 1870s.

best places to see cherry blossoms dc

There’s ample free parking surrounding this park on the weekends in the morning so it’s easy to stop here and snap a few quick pictures!  

best places to see cherry blossoms dc

If you have kids this is a great place to see cherry blossoms in DC because there is a playground.  

Location:  6th street northeast &, 226 4th St NE, Washington, DC 20002


10.  Lower Senate Park

Lower Senate Park is just down the street from Stanton Park, so it’s easy to visit both in one trip! 

best places to see cherry blossoms in washington dc

This is again one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in DC because there are no crowds and ample free parking on a weekend morning. 

cherry blossoms dc lower senate park

The walkways in this park are surrounded by cherry blossom trees!

best places to see cherry blossoms in washington dc

Location:  200 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

11. Dumbarton Oaks Cherry Blossoms

I have a bonus alternative to cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington DC, but it’s not free. 

Dumbarton Oaks is a garden in Georgetown.  It has a section called Cherry Hill with beautiful cherry blossom trees for you to enjoy without crowds.  

There’s also a little walkway called plum walk. This walkway is lined with plum trees that bloom with beautiful plum blossoms before the cherry blossoms.  

The gardens at Dumbarton Oaks is open 3–6 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday, except for federal holidays.  You will need to reserve your timed-entry ticket in advance before going.  Ticket reservation here:

12.  More Cherry Blossom Alternatives to the Tidal Basin

Here’s a few more alternatives to the Tidal Basin that I’ve not personally been to but could be a great substitute this year.

Oxon Run Park – Has over 200 cherry blossom trees! Location:  1200 Mississippi Ave SE, Washington, DC 20032

Montrose Park  – Right next to Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown.  Has cherry blossom-lined streets.  A great option if you have kids, because there is a playground in the park.  Location:  3052 R St NW, Washington, DC 20007


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