This year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is slated for March 20 to April 11, with peak bloom from April 2 to April 5. Most of the action will be centered on those beguiling pink blooms along the Tidal Basin, and Old Town Alexandria is getting in on the fun with cherry blossom-themed activities and ways to see the flowers up close yet in a socially-distanced way.
Beginning March 19, Potomac Riverboat by Hornblower is offering a 25-minute direct water taxi from Old Town to Transit Pier at The Wharf, where it’s a 10-minute walk to the Tidal Basin, or you can stay on the boat for a round-trip viewing experience from the water. The water taxi runs Wednesday through Sunday, with departures starting at $13 one-way and $21 roundtrip; trips operate at half-capacity and masks and physical distancing are required.
There are several biking, walking, and food tours. From March 20 to April 11, or as long as the blossoms are in bloom, Pedego Electric Bikes will have two- to three-hour guided tours from Old Town to the cherry blossoms including riding through East Potomac Park on e-bikes, which don’t make you work like regular bikes. Individual riders must be 16, and there are child seats and passenger bike tandems to accommodate younger participants. Departures are 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on weekends and by appointment on weekdays, and admission is $69 per bike and $10 for passenger riders.
From March 10 to April 10, Taste the District with the Cherry Blossom Festival Flavor Pass from Blue Fern Travel’s Fork Tours ($30/person). Visit and taste at spots in and around D.C. and Alexandria, including King Street’s NiceCream, where ice cream is made with liquid nitrogen. The pass is good for the duration of the festival; the person who visits the most Flavor Pass spots wins two tickets for a Fork or Fizz Tour, valued at $178.
Two 75-minute pop-up tours with Discover Alexandria will occur during peak bloom weekend, combining local history with blossom sightings. Tours must be reserved in advance, depart from the Alexandria Visitor Center at 221 King Street and cost $15/adult, $8/child and $12/military, veterans and students. Masks and social distancing are required.
There will also be special events such as a Cherry Blossom Celebration at Captain Gregory’s on March 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. On the patio, guests will enjoy a mobile highball cart, themed decor and a Winter in Tokyo menu with Japanese spirits like Suntory Whisky, Roku Gin, Haku Vodka, sake and shochu along with edamame and crab hushpuppies. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is running a free Cherry Blossom Exhibition from March 31 to May 2, Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., during which participating artists will display spring- and cherry blossom-themed artwork in their studios.
Finally, various food and drink offerings will be available that are inspired by the trees. Bugsy’s will mix up cocktails in-person and to-go, like Bugsy’s Blossom II with cherry vodka, and a Cherry Margarita; Café 44 will serve up a cherry, jalapeno and prosciutto flatbread and cherry mojito throughout the spring; Lost Boy Cider, NOVA’s first urban cidery, will tap Cherry Blossom Cider; bartenders at Sheraton Suites Old Town will shake up a libation with silver Tequila, lime and grapefruit juice, grenadine and maraschino cherries; Dolci Gelati is bringing back its p popular Cherry Blossom Gelato; and Cherry Blossom Sangria will be available at locations of Alexandria Restaurant Partners Ada’s on the River, The Majestic, Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Theismann’s Restaurant and Bar and Vola’s Dockside Grill, which mixes Wycliff Brut Rosé, Lustau Blanc Vermouth, cherry juice and orange flower water, available for dine-in.
If you want to make a weekend of it, several area hotels have special promotions tied to the cherry blossoms. The Cherry Blossom Package at The Alexandrian Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection and Morrison House Old Town Alexandria, Autograph Collection, have a Cherry Blossom package including two signature Cherry Bounce cocktails upon arrival and free valet parking, while the Sheraton Suites Old Town is handing out a cherry blossom cocktail for two with every night’s stay.
For more information about the cherry blossom events in Alexandria, visit its website.
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