Our ‘Cherry Picks’ for Unofficial Ways to Take Advantage of Cherry Blossom Festival Season

St. Regis Hotel Cherry Blossom Suite. Image courtesy: St. Regis Hotel

110 years ago, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gifted the city of Washington, D.C. 3,000 cherry trees to honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan. Every year, their blossoming brings celebration — and crowds — to Washington. This year, the official and in-person festivities are back, which means we have a seemingly endless variety of blossom-themed eats, elixirs, and events to enjoy all over the city and surrounding neighborhoods.

Check out the KSM event calendar for an updated listing of area-happenings, but here are our unofficial — but totally awesome — “Cherry Picks” for exclusive specials and soirées around town to take advantage of the sensational springtime tradition:

Commemorate with a Card

WMATA often unveils a commemorative Metro card for major events around town, and the Cherry Blossom Festival card is coveted — even by those who now use their phones for convenient mobile pay.

While only select kiosks will have this card, and for a limited time, carrying this card is a unique rite of ‘passage.’

*Public transportation is the best way to travel around DC through the festival. WMATA offers tips on how to use Metro for Cherry Blossom travel here.

Sit Pretty in Pink at an Afternoon Tea

The St. Regis Cherry Blossom Afternoon tea features desserts hanging from the branches of a tea tree. Image courtesy: St. Regis Hotel

A number of our favorite hotels offer exclusive Cherry Blossom Afternoon Teas and we are here for all of them.

When the Fairmont does its tea, it is an exquisitely delicious and sophisticated experience that we highly recommend; this year, however, the hotel is offering Chef Thalakkat’s dessert along with cherry-inspired cocktails in the hotel’s Lobby Bar throughout the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Sofitel’s Opaline is offering a Parisian-inspired Le Goûter for guests of all ages ($49 per person,  $24.50 for children under 12 years of age) that also includes a hot chocolate service.

The Mandarin Oriental’s Sakura Pink Empress Afternoon Tea ($122/per person) is temptingly indulgent — and includes the option for boozy teas… or a glass of Rosé.

And the St. Regis’ decadent tea ($75/per person) is actually presented with desserts hanging from the branches of a tea tree.

The Mandarin Oriental has a front row seat to the Cherry Blossom show. Image courtesy: Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

Get Spa Ready for Spring

The Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC literally has front row seats suites to the star of the festival — those Tidal Basin blossoms — so it makes sense to plan a staycation here during cherry blossom season. Or plan a historic afternoon, since its hotel garden also features cherry trees that were planted at the hotel’s opening by the daughter and granddaughter of the Mayor who originally gifted DC’s famed trees over 100 years ago!

But don’t miss out on the hotel’s most blissful blossom experience, the Cherry Blossom Treatments in the Mandarin Oriental Spa. Here, they prepare skin for springtime with a full-body ritual inspired by Japanese traditions. The facial- to foot massage experience comes complete with a relaxing cocktail as the cherry on top.

Bask in the Blooms 

ARTECHOUSE’s 5th Annual Cherry Blossom Exhibit, PIXELBLOOM, gets you closer to the cherry blossoms than you could even if you visited them in person. That’s because this exhibit pushes the boundaries of digital art with the most intensely pixelated world of cherry blossoms DC has ever seen.

Through June 5th, visitors will feel like they have entered a blossoming metaverse, with no XR glasses required! ARTECHOUSE Founder Sandro Kereselidze says this is the highest resolution ever for the always-anticipated annual exhibit: “We’re letting our pixels bloom, pushing the possibilities of the latest technology, and it is all inspired by nature.”

@kstreetkate @ARTECHOUSE PIXELBLOOM so real I thought I needed Allegra 😂 Always my fave exhibit here … now even better in year 5!! #cherryblossom ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Party in Honor of the Petals

Dirty Habit’s Sakura Season Cherry Blossom cocktail. Image courtesy: Dirty Habit

This season offers numerous parties and other excuses to pop out in pink, but among our favorites is a new sakura season celebration at Hotel Monaco’s DC’ Dirty Habit Bar and Restaurant.

On March 31st at this FREE to attend Sakura Season Cherry Night Celebration, guests will make new habits for the historic festival with craft cocktails and blossom-inspired bites while they move to tunes spun by DJ Eddo. What better way to fête friendship and Japanese culture?!

ProTip: While several hotels and restaurants have specials and soirées, we also love that Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco and Hotel George are complementing their hotel wine hour with saké tastings throughout the Festival… and that the hotels have a limited number of bikes — and even children’s kites — for guests to participate in festival happenings and sightseeing.

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