The arrival of spring in Washington generally means two things. First comes the beginning of cherry blossom season and second is the influx of tourists into the capital. The cherry blossoms in DC understandably attract thousands of visitors particularly around the Tidal Basin. Its hanging branches, together with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the background makes for a picture perfect post on Instagram; that is if you can avoid the crowds. If you prefer to view the trees without the crowds, try one of these alternative spots instead.
Cherry Blossoms in DC: Where to Find Them Outside of the Tidal Basin
The United States National Arboretum
The United States National Arboretum, located in the northeast quadrant of the city, is a fantastic attraction all year round. It is most scenic though during spring. Outside of the National Mall, the National Arboretum is the best place to see cherry blossoms in DC. Take a self-guided tour and explore the section with acres of flowering cherry trees – all 76 varieties – on foot or with a bicycle. Visitors can also take a narrated, 40-minute tram tour that will highlight the arboretum’s other special features, including the koi pond and the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. Admission is free.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Another off-site location to view cherry blossoms in DC is the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia. Located just 18 miles outside of downtown Washington, this 95-acre garden features walking trails, lakes, and a variety of gardens featuring native flora and fauna. Take a rental car and explore this off the radar spot that also showcases a lovely Korean-themed pavilion with replicas of ancient Korean monuments. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for ages 7-17 and 55 & over.
Stanton Park in Capitol Hill
Considered to be one of the larger neighborhood parks within Capitol Hill, Stanton Park features more than just your average children’s playground and dog park. It’s also one of the better alternatives to view cherry blossoms in DC. The four-acre park has dozens of cherry trees and contains a number of paved walkways, well-maintained flowerbeds and benches to enjoy a beautiful spring day. Stanton Park is part of the larger Capitol Hill Parks maintained by the National Park Service.
East and West Potomac Park
Surrounding the Tidal Basin to the north and south is West and East Potomac Park respectively. Both locations provide tourists and locals with suitable alternatives to view the cherry blossoms in DC. The former, slightly smaller and ends near the Lincoln Memorial features a number of playing fields. East Potomac, the larger of the two has a golf course, tennis courts and a number of picnic areas.