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What to Do in D.C. During the Cherry Blossom Festival

Make the most of the city's most spectacular time of year
When Do Cherry Blossoms Bloom in D.C. 2018?
Photo: dszc/Getty Images

Whether the weather forecast says it or not, spring is coming early this year to D.C. According to the National Park Service, peak bloom for the city's cherry blossoms (when at least 70 percent of the flowers are open) is set to happen at the end of next week, from March 17 to 20. And if those predictions ring true, this will be the earliest the blossoms have bloomed since 1990.

As a result, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will begin on March 17 and last through April 15. So while you're scrambling to book that last-minute car rental, take a look at some of the best things to do during the capital's most spectacular time of year.

Pink Tie Party (March 15)

It's not really the end of winter until this event is on your calendar. Guests can dine on the best of D.C.'s culinary scene at this gala benefiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival's mission of promoting international friendship.

Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl (April 7)

Grab a wristband and eat your way through up to eight of the city's most well-known restaurants of your choosing. 

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (April 14)

Top Chef alum Carla Hall is the grand marshal for this year's parade, which runs for 10 city blocks and is one of D.C.'s largest spectator events. 

Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival (April 18)

This daylong street carnival is the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the country, bringing vibrant performances, art vendors and food stalls to Downtown D.C. 

Cherry Blossom Igloos (Through April 15)

Grab a signature cocktail made with sake and cherry liqueur, a cherry blossom, and vanilla gougère, and warm up in one of The Watergate Hotel's heated igloos after the day is done.

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