Sakura in DC *Guide*
Green leaves started to appear, which made me think that it had already reached the peak. It was quite warm today, so I’m not surprised. It’s also beautiful to see the cherry petals falling in the wind.
This map shows where the cherry blossoms are. There are free parking spaces for the visitors to the National Cherry Blossom Festival on the East and West Potomac Park, but the space is limited. This page says there are 320 parking spaces on the park.
The entrance to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Park is closed. There should be a sign that leads your way to the entrance to the East Potomac Park. (FDR Memorial Park and East Potomac Park are connected.)
If you want to drive there or avoid the crowd, go there early in the morning. I was there today, Thursday, and when I got there at 9:00 a.m., there were already many people strolling around the Tidal Basin. You can imagine what it’s like on the weekend.
This photo was taken around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 1st. The line to enter the East Potomac Park was backed up.
The parking closest to the Tidal Basin is near the FDR Memorial along Ohio Dr. This might be the parking that has the easiest access to the Tidal Basin. Please note that this is only my personal preference and this might not be of your favorite or easiest place to park. This parking gets full very fast. If you attempt to drive to the park on Friday or on a weekend, I don’t know if you can park there unless you’re there really early. I mean REALLY early!
Other closer place to park is the Memorial Parking lots. It is small and they get full very fast, too.
There are more parking spaces along the Ohio Dr. all the way to the Hains Point. There is a free shuttle service along the Ohio Dr. during the festival. Not sure how frequently they run, but if you are a family with small children who requires a stroller like me, you probably want to park your car at a walking distance from the Tidal Basin.
Do not forget your…
1. Sunscreen (especially if you are going out there this weekend)
2. Bottled water
3. Cell phone (in case you get separated from your group!)
4. Snack or lunch
5. Picnic sheet (if you’re going to sit down. The ground was a bit moist today.)
6. Hand wipes
There are a ton of Porta Potties. If you prefer the ones that have flushing water, there are regular bathrooms near the FDR Memorial.
I noticed that it is less crowded in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park than near the Kurtz Bridge and the Washington Monument and Maine Avenue area. People who came on metro and tour buses hang out a lot near the Maine Avenue. That’s also where the vendors are.
The level of the water on Potomac and Tidal Basin was quite high this year (2010). There were some areas with standing water on the west side of Tidal Basin and near Jefferson Memorial. (The West side is on the left side on the map.) I think it’s fine, but it might be easier for the people with strollers to avoid this area.
We witnessed a child who got separated from his parents. My own got far away from me while I was taking pictures. Scared me to death. Keep an eye on your child. Your kids are more important than taking pictures of the cherry blossoms!
I spent 5 hours at the Tidal Basin. I walked round the Tidal Basin and got the full view of DC cherry blossoms. I enjoyed every moment of it.