National Cherry Blossom Festival Photos

 
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Each spring, a ring of over 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees around Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin burst with puffy, cloud-pink petals and herald the arrival of the new season. The trees were a gift from the city of Tokyo in 1912 as a mark of international fellowship; today they continue to draw travelers from all over the world to the U.S. capital.  
Credit: jimbrickett/Flickr 
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Although it's impossible to predict the exact bloom schedule from year to year, the first green buds typically appear in late February to early March, with peak bloom occurring for four to six days in late March to early April. The capital's National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled to coincide with the prime viewing window each year, though the flowers can pop as early as mid-March or as late as mid-April.  
Credit: gkrew/Flickr 
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Of course, peak blooms are accompanied by a crush of tourists and locals alike flocking to the 1.5-mile trail around the Tidal Basin, home to the original stands of cherry trees as well as the Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials.  
Credit: anokarina/Flickr 
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For a better shot at capturing that iconic photo-op away from the camera-wielding hordes, visit the Tidal Basin early in the morning. As the day progresses, crowds increase as tourists saunter down from the National Mall and eventually local workers and commuters join the vehicle- and human-clogged jams toward the end of the workday.  
Credit: thisisbossi/Flickr 
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The contemplative Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial awaits a few short steps from the Tidal Basin's waters. Dedicated in 1997 after four decades of planning, the 7.5-acre site presents a tribute to FDR's legacy during the Great Depression and then World War II.  
Credit: National Park Service 
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The two-week-long National Cherry Blossom Festival is the city's signature spring event and features dozens of activities and happenings that showcase Japanese culture, history, and cuisine. Events include the fun (and free!) National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day & Opening Ceremony at the National Building Museum and an open-air Sakura Matsuri street festival. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival's website for full event schedule and details.  
Credit: Flickr 
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Beyond those iconic blooms, parades, food stalls, kite-flying, and calligraphy lessons all form part of the fun at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The event is nearing its centennial celebration of the original gift of 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees by the city of Tokyo to the people of Washington, D.C. in 1912.  
Credit: National Cherry Blossom Festival 
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There are countless angles for capturing the quintessential shot of Washington, D.C.'s spring rite of passage. Indeed, shutterbugs may want to know that there are hundreds more trees lining the lesser-trammeled driveway around nearby East Potomac Park and Hains Point, offering loads more room to frame that picture-perfect cherry-blossom moment.  
Credit: National Park Service 
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Of course, the arrival of the cherry blossoms denotes a fond farewell to winter for most (if not all) D.C. locals. Beyond the obligatory romantic stroll around the Tidal Basin, don't forget that the U.S. capital is a wonderfully walkable city, with miles of pedestrian- and bike-friendly pathways that will take you past such iconic sights as the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and U.S. Capitol.  
Credit: jdanvers/Flickr 
 
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