Head to our nation's capital for the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry tree blossoms and monuments paint a pretty

Cherry tree blossoms and monuments paint a pretty picture in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Cherry tree blossoms and monuments paint a pretty picture in Washington, D.C.)

Have you always wanted to visit Washington, D.C., but could never choose the right time? Why not see it in bloom! From now through April 14, the city will be pretty in pink as the buds of 3,000 cherry trees open.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the trees Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave to the United States to symbolize ongoing friendship between the two nations in 1912. The blossoms are predicted to enter their peak blooming period between tomorrow and Saturday, and will remain on the trees for approximately two weeks, so head down soon!

Activities:
Cherry Blossom Boat Tour

Experience the cherry blossoms in a motorized yacht with either a 60- or 90-minute narrated tour on the Potomac River for just $24 for each adult and $12 per child between the ages of 4 and 12. Through April 14, multiple times daily, Washington Harbor, 3100 K St. NW, 301-765-0750, DC-Cruises.com

Cherry Blossoms at Sunrise
Catch the blossoms at their most serene state during this photography workshop. A professional photographer will lead the group and you will come away with your own beautiful photos. Through April 7, 6:15 a.m., Paddleboat Rental Station, 1501 Maine Ave. SW, 202-537-0937, WashingtonPhotoSafari.com

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Inspired by the Japanese cherry blossoms, costumes and décor in this parade sing spring. Enjoy marching bands from around the country, balloons and floats from the sidewalk or get a seat in the grandstand for just $20. April 13, 10 a.m.-12 noon, Constitution Avenue, btwn. 7th and 17th streets, NW. Tickets: 800-745-3000.

Cherry Blossom BITES:
The Hamilton

You’ll want to eat dessert first at The Hamilton, which is serving a Sour Cherry Pavlova made with amaretto sour cherries, pistachio meringue and almond cream. 600 14th St. NW, 202-787-1000, Thehamiltondc.com

Sea Catch
The festival menu includes Pan Seared Japanese Sakura-Masu Cherry Trout and Kumamoto Oysters with crushed cherry ponzu, capturing the true nature of the Japanese Cherry blossoms. 1054 31st St. NW, 202-337-8855, Seacatchrestaurant.com

Art and Soul
What better way to celebrate the festival than with Art and Soul’s Cherry Blossom Wine Cocktail? The drink features fluttering floral notes swirled with tart cherry flavors that are macerated with Italian vermouth for several days and smoked with cherry wood. 415 New Jersey Ave. NW, 202-393-7777, Artandsouldc.com

Hotels:
Renaissance Hotel

The Flower Power Package includes pink champagne, fresh spring flowers in your room, daily breakfast for two and parking. Packages from $299 per night. 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, RenaissanceMayflower.com

The George
Book the Bubbles and Blossoms package at this Kimpton Hotel, which includes accommodations, $30 credit per day toward parking or dining, a locally made Cherry Blossom Soap, a bubble amenity for kids and complimentary Sake at the evening wine hour to highlight the festival's Japanese influence. Packages from $243 per night. 15 E St. NW, 202-347-4200, Hotelgeorge.com

Mandarin Oriental
Pamper yourself with the Mandarin’s package, which includes a buffet breakfast for two, valet parking, cherry-inspired treats and a 20% discount on the Cherry Blossom inspired treatment at The Spa (Sunday to Thursday). Packages from $528 per night. 1330 Maryland Ave. SW, 202-554-8588, Mandarinoriental.com/washington/

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Get the app
Make sure you’re in the know on all things festival-related with the National Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 app for iPhone and Android devices. The free app features hundreds of listings and info on how to receive savings from local businesses and retailers.

Tags: TRAVEL

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