Over the years, I’ve developed some traditions that bring me joy. For example, I always…
- Collect seashells when I’m at a beach (an activity that started when I was young and enjoy to this day)
- Drive through Assateague Island National Seashore when I visit Ocean City, MD, and look for the wild horses it’s famous for
Another tradition of mine: going to downtown DC every Spring to see the beautiful cherry trees in bloom. The trees are so beautiful, in fact, that an entire festival was created around them!
One of the events held during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival is the Blossom Kite Festival, another popular event, especially for families with kids.
I first read about it a few years ago in an article in Washingtonian Magazine entitled “The Great Washington Bucket List: 50 Things Every Local Needs to Do.” As one of the many sights/activities on the list that I hadn’t personally experienced, I added it to my personal bucket list and planned to go.
I’m always looking for new things to do and love photography, so I thought the kite festival would be a perfect event for me to attend. I thought that the different types and designs of kites would make fun and colorful subjects for my photos…and I was right!
Now, I mark my calendar every year so I don’t miss it.
This year, the Blossom Kite Festival will be held Saturday, March 31st from 10 am – 4:30 pm on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
Spring in the DC area is tricky. Sometimes the weather in late March is unseasonably warm and other times the winter lingers a bit, necessitating a warm coat and gloves. It’s too soon to tell what the weather will be like this year.
If you have never attended the Blossom Kite Festival, add this to your bucket list. Its a LOT of fun!
Top Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival
- Mark your calendar and set a reminder so you don’t miss it.
- Look at the Cherry Blossom Festival website to find out the dates that they predict the cherry blossoms will be at their peak. There’s no point in going downtown to see them, only to find the trees still have buds on them.
- UPDATE: Peak bloom in 2018 is now predicted to be between April 4th – 8th
- Check the weather forecast the night before or the day of the event.
- Dress accordingly!
- It’s better to pack a few extras “just in case” and to dress in layers that you can take off (if you need to) than to walk around numb and cold to the bone like I did. Like the Boy Scout motto says: “Be prepared.”
- Wear comfortable shoes (I can’t stress this enough).
- Decide how you’re going to get there (drive, Metro, cab/ridesharing).
- There are many options, but with many of the streets closed off, I recommend taking the Metro. The Smithsonian Metro stop is the closest to The Washington Monument. If you select this option, be aware that The Washington Monument is several blocks away, so be prepared to hoof it a bit.
- Be prepared for crowds…on the metro, on the mall, etc. This is a very popular event!
- Be patient (at least, try!) It will take longer than you think to do everything: catch the Metro, change trains (if you need to), get out of the Metro station, cross the streets in DC, get food and/or a drink at a food truck.
- Decide what you’re going to do if you get hungry.
- If you want to buy from one of the many vendors and food trucks downtown, bring some cash as many of them don’t accept credit cards.
- If you want to save some money, pack your own food and drinks. There are plenty of benches to sit on while you eat and people watch. Or, you can just enjoy your meal picnic-style and cop a squat on The Mall grounds.
Other points of interest near The Mall:
- The Jefferson Memorial (by the Tidal Basin)
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (by the Tidal Basin)
- The Washington Monument
- The World War II Memorial
- The Lincoln Memorial
- The Capitol
- The White House
- The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Various museums
- The DC Botanic Gardens
- Arlington National Cemetery (across the bridge from DC)