Image Credit: Visit Fairfax
If you have traveled to Washington, D.C. in the early spring, you’re aware of the famously beautiful cherry blossom trees. Donated by Japan in 1912, the trees symbolize the friendship between the United States and Japan. Visitors travel from all over the world to take pictures of the short-lived blooms during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, causing the Capitol to swell with tourists. But, just over the Potomac River, several sites in Northern Virginia contain the stunning trees without the hassle of the milling crowds. Plan a trip to these garden destinations and featured events to get a closer look at the Cherry Blossoms this spring.
Several gardens in Northern Virginia offer self-guided tours of the cherry trees, letting you take pictures of these Japanese beauties at your own pace. Contact the gardens before you visit to get the Cherry Blossom status at each location.
Green Spring Gardens—Alexandria
Green Spring Gardens has a handful of cherry trees along with a variety of other spring flowers, a children’s garden, and an indoor gift shop and library for visitors to peruse.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens—Vienna
Image Credit: Visit Fairfax
Stroll through 95 acres of display gardens and unique native plant collections at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, including about 100 cherry trees made up of over 20 unique varieties. The park’s walking trails wind past serene lakes and showcase the carefully cultivated landscape of the gardens.
Sitting on the banks of the Potomac, the 25-acre River Farm was once a part of George Washington’s vast property. The estate features a charming grove of cherry trees near the front gates, four acres of meadows with colorful flowers on display during the spring, and a fun children’s garden and play area.
—CHERRY BLOSSOM EVENTS—
Cherry Blossom Monuments Cruise—Alexandria
Image Credit: Matt Chenet for Visit Alexandria
Dates: Now until April 13, 2018
Price: $30 round-trip for adults on weekends; $17 roundtrip for adults on weekdays; $16 round-trip for children under 12 on weekends; $10 round-trip for children under 12 on weekdays
This Potomac River cruise sets sail from Old Town Alexandria and lasts about two hours round trip as you view the iconic Cherry Blossoms from your waterfront seats while also learning about the monuments, memorial statues, and bridges you’ll pass along the way.
Private Cherry Blossom Boat Tours—Alexandria
Dates: March 15 to April 13, 2018 (or until cherry blossoms stop blooming); by appointment only
Price: $375 per hour plus tax
Book a private tour with Embark DC while the cherry blossoms are blooming for a unique, customized experience. These boat tours range from two to four hours, with the captain providing detailed narration as you explore along the Potomac. Trips can be arranged to include a variety of stops at well-known cherry tree spots and historic sites in the region, and you can even make land at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. Bring along a picnic lunch complete with Virginia wines, have the boating excursion catered, or notify your tour guide in advance to grill your own meal on the boat.
Dates: March 17 – April 15, 2018
Price: $28 round-trip for adults; $16 one-way for adults; $16 round-trip for children under 12; $8 one-way for children under 12
If you’re just looking to avoid the traffic of Washington, D.C., consider parking in Old Town Alexandria and taking a water taxi to the National Mall. The Potomac Riverboat Company provides 30 minute rides across the river, getting you to the Cherry Blossoms quickly and without the annoyance of the weekend traffic jams often found in Washington, D.C.
Dates: April 7, 2018, 1:00 PM
Celebrate the Japanese culture with Asian sumi-e brush painting for kids and parents at Green Spring Gardens. Learn about the materials and brush strokes used in this beautiful art style, and take home your own brush painting masterpiece. Art materials will be provided.
More Locations to View the Cherry Blossoms in Virginia:
- Town of Buchanan Cherry Blossoms—Buchanan
- Alexander Bell Drive—Reston
- Van Gogh Bridge at Lake Anne—Reston
- Arlington National Cemetery—Arlington
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden—Richmond
- Snow Meadow Lane—McLean
The dates of the National Cherry Blossom Festival vary each year depending on the weather, but with the warm temperatures already making an appearance, the trees have begun showing signs that the blooms are quickly approaching. Visit around March 15-April 15 to see these stunning trees as they display their spring blossoms.