When it’s springtime in Washington, D.C. only two words matter: Peak Bloom.
Peak Bloom Date, defined as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees (greatest gift ever, thanks Japan) have bloomed throughout the city, is a tricky thing to predict. The date when the cherry blossoms reach peak bloom varies from year to year with the mean date falling on April 4. National Park Service horticulturists cannot make an accurate prediction much more than 10 days prior to peak bloom, however—a bummer for tourists with longstanding travel plans but a boon for locals who use this time of year to remind themselves why they live in the nation’s capital. The Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park with vistas of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial offers the best views.
The blooming of the cherry blossoms is Washington, D.C.’s signature springtime event for good reason. But if you miss the precise peak bloom date, don’t worry. For at least two days before and at least two days after, the cherry trees will appear fully developed, and a canopy of pink and white will surround some of the city’s most iconic sights.