Living in Washington, D.C. I have the convenient ability to visit the Cherry Blossoms year after year. The first time I saw them was my junior year of college and I've made sure to go down to the Tidal Basin to see them every year since. They're very fickle so the peak bloom date prediction changes many times leading up to the bloom. It's very difficult for those planning to visit DC to get the dates exactly right, because even if the prediction is set for one certain weekend, a crazy cold front can change that in the blink of an eye. Nonetheless, the trip to see them is still one that everyone should make in their lifetime. I've had so many people reach out and tell me that seeing the cherry blossoms is on their bucket list, so I feel extra grateful that I live here and have the ability to easily see them every year.
I wanted to put together a little weekend itinerary for those traveling down to see the cherry blossoms. I'm designing it so that it can also be used to year-round, the cherry blossoms just won't be your featured main attraction. All of my suggestions are coming from a local's point-of-view, so aside from visiting the Tidal Basin, I want to share some non-touristy things that will have you falling head over heals for the city.
5:00pm- Arrive in DC and check into hotel or AirBnB (I'll be working on a post about the best places to stay, so stay tuned).
6:00pm- Dinner at The Hamilton. This is my all-time favorite restaurant in DC. There is something for everyone, the prices are decent, the food is fantastic, and it's 3 blocks from the White House making it extremely centralized. *Make sure to have a reservation.*
8:00pm- Drinks at the POV Lounge. This bar is located at the top of the W Hotel and features sweeping views of the Monuments and White House. The cocktails are also to die for.
7:00am- Early wake up! The downtown area fills up FAST during tourist season (which goes from April-September every year) so make sure to be up and at 'em.
8:00am- Stop for a coffee and bagel/pastry at the closest Corner Bakery, Starbucks, or Pret a Manger. It's almost impossible in this city to walk a block without seeing one of those three. I recommend this because it's quick, cheap, and on the go for your first morning in DC.
8:30am- Arrive at Tidal Basin to view to the Cherry Blossoms. Getting there at 8:30 will have you there before the crowds. Trust me, you'll thank me for that one! It's also the best time to get pictures because the sun isn't too high in the sky yet and the early morning shine makes the blossoms look amazing. I recommend walking the entirety of the basin so that you can see all of the different Cherry Blossom trees. Some are more mature than others and seeing all of the varying trees is so worth it. It's also worth it to get different point of views of the blossoms. If this you're not there during cherry blossom season I still recommend this step, even in the green summer, orange fall, or snowy winter, this is a beautiful part of DC.
12:00pm- Lunch at B3 restaurant. This restaurant is just a couple blocks away from the National Mall and has the best burgers in town. The BaconNator is my go-to and has a half beef/half bacon patty, bacon strips and a bacon aioli. It's so fantastic that Devin and I make a point to visit almost monthly!
1:30pm- Pick 1 Smithsonian museum to visit. These museums have so much to offer that even an afternoon won't give you enough time to really see everything and read about it. My favorites are the Native American History and the American History museums. Spend the next few hours exploring and learning.
5:00pm- Stop at the hotel to freshen up/relax before dinner.
7:00pm- Dinner at Founding Farmer. This farm-to-table restaurant is another one of my favorites in the city. They have two sister restaurants- Farmers Fishers Bakers and Farmers and Distillers- that are also good options if you can't get a reservation at Founding Farmers. Enjoy the delicious food and handmade cocktails and then wander around town at dusk a bit before heading to bed.
8:00am- Rise and shine! No need to get up super early on Sunday because one thing all DC-ers are doing is getting ready for brunch.
10:00am- Venture to the Georgetown neighbor hood and walk around the charming streets and store fronts before your brunch reservation.
11:00am- Brunch reservations at Sequoia on the Georgetown Waterfront. It's $60 for all you can eat and all you can drink and the food choices are absolutely delicious! I recommend if the weather allows to sit out on their patio to eat because the views are amazing and it's just such a lovely meal.
1:30pm- After spending a couple of hours at brunch walk around the shops of Georgetown that are all located around M street for some shopping!
4:00pm- Depart to head back to wherever you call home.