Every year in early March, I start tracking the cherry blossom bloom forecasts in giddy anticipation. The National Park service is predicting the 2015 peak bloom to be April 10-14, so I’m already planning how to soak in the fresh color in the nation’s capitol.
I created this 2 day guide with all my favorite local spots for budget-minded travelers coming to DC.
Because of all the visitors to the region during this special time of year, I DON”T recommend driving and parking in DC.
We’ve tried it in the past, and the parking is severely limited! This year, we’ll do a combination of metro and UBER ride service to get to our favorite places. At the end of the post, I offer a special UBER discount code to use.
Start off the morning right with brunch at Ted’s Bulletin in the Capitol area. This fun diner is decorated like a retro newspaper office. All the food is great here, especially the breakfast burritos. The pop tarts are also good. This year, I’m going to try the peanut butter and bacon version.
From there, we’ll take a quick UBER ride to the Tidal Basin for 360 degree views of cherry blossoms framing the Jefferson memorial, the National Monument, and even the Smithsonian museums. This year, we’re going to take a paddle boat out on the water, and see the trees from a different perspective on the water.
After walking around the basin and taking loads of photos, we’re planning to pop into one of the Smithsonian museums since they’re right there. Next, I’ll head over to Lafayette Square across the street from the White House to take more photographs of the most beautiful trees.
Our yearly tradition is to make a pit stop at the Willard Hotel Intercontinental for a cocktail as the afternoon turns into evening. The patio tables, which have been stored away all winter, come out and it’s the most relaxing time to people watch and welcome spring. While you’re there, take a peek inside the historic lobby to admire the carpets, marble columns, and chandelier.
For dinner, we’ll head over to the nearby Old Ebbet’s Grill, a DC landmark with a very famous bar that has welcomed famous Washingtonians since 1856.
After dinner, there are plenty of other bars to pop into in the area… you could even easily walk over to the National Monument to admire it at night.
We’ll start the day by taking the metro to Georgetown for brunch at Leopold’s Cafe. They have an outdoor patio and serve the most delicious rich coffee, Austrian style. I got the almond croissant in addition to a savory quiche the last time, but this year, I’m going to try one of the beautiful Austrian desserts from the long glass case in the center of the restaurant.
After eating, we’ll wander around the Georgetown neighborhood to admire the historic brick town homes and take a quick walk with our dog along the C & O canal.
Next up, we’ll take an UBER ride to the National Arboretum, which has acres of hills, trees, and wildlife. During cherry blossom season, there are miles and miles of pink and white trees to admire, and you can even do a 3 mile self-guided walking tour.
During other times of year, this is a great destination for having a picnic, admiring seasonal plants and flowers, and attending local festivals such as the bonzai, ikebana, and azaleas festivals during spring and summer. There is even a moon-lit hike that sells out every month. One of the best things is that it’s dog friendly too.
After exploring the National Arboretum for a few hours, we’ll take an UBER to our FAVORITE pizza place, Menomale for some authentic brick oven pizza. There is an outdoor patio, so our dog can sit with us.
Cherry blossom season is a really special time of year in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. Visiting all the national monuments and landmarks with a back drop of pink and white trees is lovely, but colorful trees are growing everywhere, in different neighborhoods and along major roads.
If you’re planning a trip to DC for cherry blossom viewing or anytime of year, take advantage of the convenience of UBER. The company is offering this special promotion code, good for the rest of 2015.