Canopy of cherry trees

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms – An Alternative!

When the Washington DC cherry blossoms arrive, DMV residents (DMV=DC, Maryland, and Virginia) look forward to the mid-Atlantic explosion of cherry petals. While Washington DC is the center of mayhem for blossom viewing, surrounding neighborhoods offer similar amazing cherry trees but smaller crowds and traffic.

Charles Kuralt said that Spring time in the Washington DC area is one of the best time/place combinations in America and perhaps the world. The most popular Spring time activity in Washington DC is the National Cherry Blossom Festival, marking the anniversary of 3,000 cherry trees being given to the city by the Mayor of Tokyo, Japan. The first cherry trees were planted in Washington DC on 27 March 1912.

where to see best Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

Find more wonderful sites, tips, and info in the Complete Guide to Cherry Blossoms in DC, Maryland, and Virginia on our DC region site, Fun in Fairfax VA.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms – An Alternative!

Seeing the blooming cherry trees is an incredible sight. If you are a bucket list person, add viewing the DC Cherry trees to it.

Most of the Washington DC cherry trees are located around the Tidal Basin. On a gorgeous Spring day, visitors from around the world pack the Tidal Basin area. Adding to the Spring Break mob scene are visitors to monuments like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.

For a different viewpoint from the masses walking around the Tidal Basin (which you should do anyway) I highly recommend viewing the Washington DC cherry blossoms from a paddleboat. You will avoid the crowds, get better photos, and can even make advance reservations.

Since I live in the metro Washington DC area, I am fortunate to see cherry trees blooming in my neighborhood. Nearby business parks look like mini Tidal Basins with their cherry trees and ponds (and no traffic!).

Another neighborhood, however, rivals the Tidal Basin for quantity and quality of cherry trees. I love it as an alternative to the madhouse of visiting DC.

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms – in Kenwood Maryland

Kenwood is a neighborhood in Bethesda, Maryland, located near Chevy Chase Village and less than a mile from NW DC.

There are many old brick houses, some with converted carriage houses; others houses are reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel cottages. A few houses were for sale; asking price for one was almost $3 million.

see cherry blossoms in Kenwood Maryland

Kenwood Maryland house

see Washington DC cherry blossoms in Kenwood Maryland

Kenwood Maryland cherry blossoms

Cherry trees are the main draw, of course.

Many of the Kenwood streets have a canopy of cherry trees.

Washington DC cherry blossoms: canopy of cherry trees

Canopy of cherry trees

Here is an obligatory close up cherry blossom photo.

view Washington DC cherry blossoms without the crowds

Washington DC cherry blossoms close up

In the below picture, the street discoloration is actually cherry petals. How cool is that?

Washington DC cherry blossoms in Kenwood Maryland

Washington DC cherry blossoms petals


Washington DC cherry blossoms: Cherry Blossom petals

Washington DC cherry blossoms: Kenwood Maryland street

The oldest Kenwood cherry tree is estimated to be 90 years old.

Washington DC cherry blossoms: 90 year old cherry tree, Kenwood Maryland

90 year old cherry tree, Kenwood Maryland

Many cherry trees are tempting to climb or hang on. Don’t!

Cherry tree branches in Kenwood Maryland

Cherry tree branches

Brightly colorful forsythia are also in bloom.

Washington DC cherry blossoms: cherry and forsythia blossoms

cherry and forsythia blossoms

In the midst of Kenwood is a brookside park. Most people gather here. I saw picnickers, artists, tour groups, and an ice cream truck. Most of the tour groups were Japanese visitors, lending to the credibility of this alternative underground destination.

Washington DC cherry blossoms: cherry petals in brook, Kenwood Maryland

Washington DC cherry blossoms: petals in brook, Kenwood Maryland

Washington DC cherry blossoms: McCool Travel tips

I took these pictures of Kenwood on a brilliant Spring day with the temperature in the 70s and a clear blue sky. Although Kenwood is our little secret, somehow hundreds of other people were there. Still there was no trouble parking or dealing with massive crowds.

It is best to drive to Kenwood although there are guided tours. The nearest Metro stop is Friendship Heights.

Kenwood can also be easily biked to on the Capital Crescent Trail. Although I saw a couple of bicycles on the streets of Kenwood, almost everyone was walking.

Kenwood is a fantastic walking neighborhood any time of the year. Check out the bamboo patches (cool to see, especially if you never have) and some majestic magnolias.

Washington DC cherry blossoms: cherry trees in Kenwood Maryland

Washington DC cherry blossoms in Kenwood Maryland

Washington DC cherry blossoms: cherry trees in Kenwood Maryland

cherry trees in Kenwood Maryland: Washington DC cherry blossoms

By the way, all photos in this article were taken by Charles McCool with an iPhone.

Where do you like to view Washington DC cherry blossoms? Can you suggest any other alternatives to popular tourist destinations?

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Washington DC cherry blossoms: While D.C. is the center of mayhem for viewing cherry blossoms, in surrounding neighborhoods you can view the amazingness with smaller crowds.

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23 Responses to “Washington DC Cherry Blossoms – An Alternative!”

  1. McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) March 12, 2019 at 8:00 am #

    Anyone going to Kenwood this year?

  2. Carolina Colborn April 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    What a great tip!!! Kenwood in Spring. I love that pic of forsythia and cherry blossoms!!!

  3. donnameyer45 April 2, 2017 at 12:23 am #

    What a cool way to avoid the crowds and still see the magic. Thanks for this off-beat insiders’ tip, Charles.

  4. Sue Reddel April 1, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    I love the idea of bypassing DC and going somewhere less crowded but still see these amazing cherry blossoms. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Doreen Pendgracs March 30, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    I had hoped to make it to DC this spring, and there was a change of plans. I still hope to get there in the next couple of months, but am so sorry I’ll miss all those blossoms!

  6. karenescalera March 28, 2017 at 9:41 am #

    What a great idea. I’m going to recommend it to some friends who were talking about seeing the cherry blossoms. Thanks!

  7. travelgalcindy March 27, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    Great info on where else to see cherry blossoms! I really want to get to DC to see them someday – guess I would want to check out BOTH Kenwood and the Tidal Basin.

  8. Carole Terwilliger Meyers March 27, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    Those cherry trees in Kenwood are magnificent! Would love to see that. I have a cherry tree in my front yard that drops leaves on the ground and it is so beautiful that I really look forward to those few days each year when the ground is covered.

    • McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) March 28, 2017 at 9:46 am #

      I hear ya. I drove past some trees yesterday and thought about collecting the petals on the ground. No sure why I would want a bag of cherry blossom petals but …

  9. Donna Janke March 27, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    Cherry blossoms are so pretty. I especially like your photographs of streets with a canopy of cherry blossoms. We don’t have them in my home city of Winnipeg, but I am in Victoria right now and they are just starting to bloom.


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