My First Washington DC National Cherry Blossom Festival as a Local

If you live in Washington, DC or perhaps the United States, then you know that late March-late April is the 3 week long National Cherry Blossom in the nation’s capital. On my Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee!!), I have been sharing ALLL the cherry blossom content on my page, whether it be in my Northern Virginia neighborhood or in Washington, DC on my several weekend day trips there. This year (2022), the National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 22-April 17 (website linked here), and I am going to share my experiences with my best friend Shivani at this almost-month long festival so far (hence why this is Part 1 of 2!) in this post!

Part 1 – The Opening Ceremony at Warner Theatre

Every year, the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off with an opening ceremony, which this year was held at the historic and drop dead gorgeous Warner Theatre. Shivani and I arrived at Warner Theatre early and *of course* stocked up on ALL of the merchandise that the Cherry Blossom Festival sells each year. This event is FREE and features performers and prominent figures in making the National Cherry Blossom Festival happen from both the United States and Japan. Fun fact: Japan is the home base of the cherry blossom trees, as they were planted by First Lady Helen Taft and prominent Japanese figures, in order to represent and honor the United States’ and Japan’s friendship back in the 1910’s-1920’s. First Lady Helen Taft also founded my favorite-ever museum exhibit – the First Lady Exhibit at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum. We got to see Japanese performers, the United States Ambassador to Japan, a video message from United States First Lady Jill Biden, an Amazon Executive (Amazon is a MAJOR sponsor in the makings of the National Cherry Blossom Festival), and even Washington, DC-based meteorologist Veronica Johnson who was a co-host. It was such a cool and historic experience and very very very special!

Before heading over to Warner Theatre for the National Cherry Blossom Opening Ceremony, Shivani and I met at the National Mall. We walked over to explore the gorgeous cherry blossoms along the National Mall, right by the Washington National Monument. The cherry blossoms were just gorgeous and we were able to get some great photo opportunities in as well. Despite the weather being freezing for this time of year, it was still a pretty great time!

Part 2 – The Tidal Basin

The second part of my National Cherry Blossom Festival Experience was visiting the Tidal Basin aka the BEST place to go to view the cherry blossoms at their peak. In ALL its glory, even on an extremely cloudy and gloomy day, the cherry blossom trees were still quite gorgeous to see. Shivani and I got off at the Smithsonian Metro Station (the closest station to the Tidal Basin), where we walked to the Tidal Basin via passing by the Washington National Monument yet again. The walk to the Tidal Basin from the Washington National Monument is lined with gorgeous cherry blossom trees and is a scenic route in its self with many many many photo opportunities. Once we reached the Tidal Basin, we lucked out to be able to get a spot to enjoy the scenery without crowds interrupting our photos (a normalcy during this time of year at the Tidal Basin!!). People were leaving the Tidal Basin for lunch when we arrived, which made our time there a bit less crowded yet still crowded. BUT, it did sleet and rain quite a bit on and off but luckily we didn’t get too pampered by it as it was on and off. I always like to say that it’s all about the journey and not the destination and that rings true to Shivani and I’s memories made at the Tidal Basin!

I am in love with Washington, DC in full bloom. There’s so much free things to do, even when it’s crowded with tourists and locals alike. I am oh so blessed to be able to live in the nation’s capital and enjoy this extraordinary city too AND with my best friend Shivani! In the meantime, I will be admiring the cherry blossoms locally until I go back into Washington, DC for the Hello Kitty Truck’s visit to the Tidal Basin in just a short week.

XOXO – Katie <3

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