Expand the hunt for cherry blossoms beyond the National Mall this year with this list of celebrations and outdoor destinations.
Since the Cherry Blossom Festival is mostly virtual this year, and there are limits to the number of visitors around the Tidal Basin, consider these alternatives for Cherry Blossom-themed experiences in the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs.
Residents of the D.C. region plan to decorate their porches, yards, and windows with blossoms and blooms as part of the Petal Porch Parade (March 20th- April 11th).
In Loudoun County, Virginia, the Great Country Farms and Bluemont Vineyard have bedecked their front porches with cherry and apple blossoms grown on the property. In Alexandria, you can check out the Del Ray Business Association’s Petal Porch Party as their April “First Thursday in Del Ray” event.
Don’t miss out on the Cherry Blossom-themed art installations throughout Highland Park and the National Landing area. Visitors can see both National Cherry Blossom Festival “Art in Bloom” sculptures at Crystal City Water Park and the Long Bridge Park Esplanade.
In Prince William, VA, the breathtaking Burnside Farms has eight acres of colorful spring flowers. It’s the perfect place for photo opportunities and, of course, pick-your-own flowers to bring home from the family-owned flower farm.
I am in awe of the historic five-acre formal terraced garden at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens in Leesburg. First established in the early 1800s, this garden features boxwood parterres, statuary, a teahouse, a rose garden, and a reflecting pool. Many of the plantings and original elements are still around today.
A favorite year-round destination for nature lovers is Fairfax County’s Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, a 95-acre oasis featuring more than 100 cherry trees surrounding a lovely lake. Take a walk through the shade garden to see native wildflowers, gazebos, birds, butterflies, seasonal blooms and the Korean Bell Garden.
If you’re in Montgomery County Maryland, do not miss the magnificent display of blossoming trees at Brookside Gardens & Nature Center in Wheaton. This park has dozens of trails passing through themed gardens and a conservatory bursting with spring bulbs.
McCrillis Gardens in Bethesda is one of those lesser known treasures that is filled with mature azaleas and rhododendron shrubbery. Lots of towering old-growth native hardwood trees shade the natural surface trails. Some cherry blossom and magnolia trees are mixed into this melange of beauty.
Kenwood is a suburban neighborhood located close to the Washington, DC line, in Bethesda/Chevy Chase. More than 1,200 cherry blossom trees were planted there decades ago, and the neighborhood is packed with mature trees exploding with tiny white flowers every spring season.
In Prince Georges County, the National Harbor recently planted more than 200 Japanese cherry trees which will burst into bloom this year. The National Harbor’s Cherry Blossom Celebration runs from March 20 through April 11. During the celebration, the National Harbor will host Sakura Sunday, which features free cultural activities including Japanese inspired art and culinary classes. The National Harbor will also light up pink every night, including The Capital Wheel. Don’t miss the spring flower plantings—daffodils, lilies and tulips—in Gaylord Resort’s soaring atrium.
For more ideas for your Northern Virginia vacation, visit www.NorthernVA.org. For travels around Maryland, visit visitmontgomerycountymd.com and become your own expert with your personal copy of my book The Unofficial Guide to Washington DC. The guidebook, published in 2020, offers insights into the prettiest scenery in town. You can order one here.
Freelance writer and photographer specializing in vivid, deeply reported stories about food, travel and family.