Every year we go to see the Cherry Blossoms. They are so beautiful when they are all in bloom, and I never get tired of seeing them. I can see why so many people flock into DC for this annual event.
This year though, for the first time ever in my life, I regretted being there. The trees were beautiful, but it was so crowded, that it was too much for me. I can’t believe I’m even admitting to that, because I love going to DC so much.
We headed down into DC on a Saturday afternoon, and arrived at about 3:00. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful day after a long, long winter. So that brought out a lot of people. Then there were two peak days for the blossoms—Saturday and Sunday. And we were there on Saturday, one of those peak days—which meant a lot of people. The cherry blossom parade had been in the morning, so I was hopeful that by the afternoon things would have cleared out, but everyone must have stayed for the whole day!
It took us an hour to find a parking spot—and we actually had to park in a metered spot; I’m always bummed when we don’t get a free spot and actually have to pay. We walked over toward the Tidal Basin, but never even got all the way there. There were so many people! We stayed with the throngs for a while, and then just looked at each other and said, “Should we just go?” We were all in complete agreement that it was too crowded.
So instead we headed to the National Mall, where we had a picnic and played soccer in a less congested area. We ended up having a nice visit after all, but we didn’t get to see the cherry blossoms up close.
So after this trip, I have a couple of suggestions for seeing the cherry blossoms:
1. Go early in the morning or late at night. As we were leaving around 7:30ish, things were starting to look a little better. I know that it gets dark soon after that, so you have to time it carefully. Early morning is always the best option.
2. Don’t drive. Just take the metro in if you’re going during the day.
3. If you’re ok with not seeing them on a peak day, go before they hit their peak. It will be a lot less crowded!
Now that I’ve made it seem like the cherry blossoms are more of a pain than they are worth, I need to convince you that they really aren’t. It really is worth the trip to see them. They are beautiful. As you stand on the Tidal Basin and take in all of the blossoms surrounding you, it really is quite awe inspiring. And I love how whenever we go to see the blossoms, we’ll spend a couple of hours just walking around and talking. And I love times like that with my family—no distractions, no technology (except cameras!), and no agenda. And after we’ve wandered around the blossoms, we’ll find a tree to sit under (usually away from the Tidal Basin) for a picnic.