Nothing says spring quite like cherry blossoms. They're bold early adopters, ready to stride out into the still-chilly days and proclaim the change of season with a fantastic display of blooms. We appreciate that, and so in the spirit of the season, we've rounded up three great cherry blossom festivals in the U.S.
- National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.: With three weeks of tours, classes, cruises, parties, and parades running now through April 14, D.C.'s National Cherry Blossom Festival works hard to earn its title as the "nation's greatest springtime celebration." Right now, the National Park service is predicting peak blooms (when 70 percent of the cherry tree blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin will be open) from April 3 through April 6.
- International Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon, Georgia: Macon's celebration of the blooming of its 300,000 flowering Yoshino cherry trees may have ended on March 24, but the trees don't know the festivities are over for the year, so you can still get in some good blossom marveling at least through the end of March.
- Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, San Francisco: A celebration of Japanese culture set against the backdrop of blooming trees, the Cherry Blossom Festival attracts 200,000 people over two weekends. This year, festivities will take place on April 13 and 14 and April 20 and 21. The party spotlights Japanese music, dance, arts, and food, and a parade and film festival top off the offerings.
Want an authentic taste of cherry-blossom mania? Then get to Japan in the next few weeks as the sakura (cherry blossom) season peaks. The Japan National Tourism Office regularly updates a countrywide map of peak viewing times. For a truly memorable cherry-blossom experience, join the crowds and admire trees illuminated for night viewing during peak blooms. JapaniCan.com offers a list of popular spots for night visits.
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