When It’s Not Enough to Walk Under the Blossoms

Posted April 3, 2009 at 4:07pm

It’s not as bad as the inauguration crowd, but cherry blossom season can make the Washington sidewalks and National Mall pretty packed.

To avoid bumping into someone every few feet, flower gazers can head off early to watch the pink-on-pink sunrise. The eye-popping scenery makes for a great photo shoot. For late risers or crowd lovers, the National Cherry Blossom Festival has events scheduled through April 12.

• Blossoms by Bike is two-hour biking tour at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends. Sign-ups are at the Bike and Roll kiosk, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $32 for adults and $22 for children 12 and younger.

• The Cherry Blossom River Tour is a 90-minute cruise with live narration on the history of the area and cherry blossoms. Weekday tours are 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., while weekend tours are 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The cost is $22 for adults and $11 for children. The ships are docked at Washington Marina, 1300 Maine Ave. SW.

• For those with a photographic eye, there are the Washington Photo Safari’s cherry blossom workshops. The activities are led by professional photography instructors on composition, lighting, exposure, camera usage and how to find the most scenic locations. Sessions are from 6:15 to 8:30 a.m. for $64 to $99 per person at 1500 Maine Ave. SW or from 3 to 5:30 p.m. for $59 at the FDR Memorial Visitor Center.

• The National Park Service is giving Cherry Blossom Lantern Walks from 8 to 10 p.m. on April 8, 11 and 12, held near the Tidal Basin Boat House, 1501 Maine Ave. SW.

• The Tidal Basin Paddle Boats are a summer-long activity but offer an especially great view of the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin. Boats are rented at one-hour increments. Two-passenger boats are $8, and four-passenger boats are $16. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last boat out at 5 p.m.

• On Saturday, April 11, the Anacostia Cherry Blossom Festival is part of the season-end events. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The historic neighborhood’s celebration includes tree planting, a dedication ceremony, a rooftop brunch and an art walk featuring local artists and performers. The festival will be at the Anacostia Park and the Anacostia Gateway building at Good Hope Road and MLK Avenue Southwest.

• Also on April 11, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show will be held from 8:30 to 9 p.m. at the Southwest Waterfront at Seventh Street and Maine Avenue Southwest. Food and musical entertainment from the military will be offered from 5 p.m. until the fireworks.

• To enjoy the fireworks in style, the Spirit of Washington has a fireworks cruise from 8 to 11 p.m. The cruise will include a buffet, live entertainment, a DJ for dancing and views of the Capitol with fireworks. It embarks from pier 4 on Sixth and Water streets Southwest.

With the number of events in the area, there are several opportunities to get a good dose of the cherry blossom spirit. If you can’t make some of the big events, there are always the cultural performances held daily at the Target Tidal Basin Stage. For more information and events, go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Web site at nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.