Spring is in the air in Washington DC! If you are thinking about coming to see the beautiful cherry blossoms, now is the time to start getting serious about making plans. Since hotels are plentiful in DC, here is our list of the 10 best hotels for Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival.
When selecting your hotel, keep in mind that Reagan National Airport (DCA) is the only Washington area airport that has direct access to downtown DC via Metro. If you fly into IAD, you can still use the Metro, but it’s a bit trickier.
If you fly into Baltimore (BWI), there is an express bus from the airport to the Greenbelt Metro station. Or, as a reader pointed out in the comments, you can take a shuttle from the airport to the BWI Marshall Rail Station to catch an Amtrak to Union Station in downtown DC.
Walking Distance (under 1.5 miles) to Tidal Basin
If you are within walking distance to the Tidal Basin, you are also an easy walk to the National Mall. Being in this area would be perfect if your trip is a short one. You can see and do more within a short walk or Uber ride. Many of the hotels in this area charge a high fee for parking but having a car isn’t necessary. Ride sharing is common and Metro stations are a short walk from each hotel I’ve suggested below. Half of our suggestions for the best hotels for the Washington DC cherry blossom festival fit into this category.
- The Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC is approximately .5 miles from the Tidal Basin. The Smithsonian Station is the closest Metro station at .4 miles.
- There are three hotels located in the newly redeveloped Wharf area of Washington DC. They are all approximately .9 miles from the Tidal Basin. For Metro access, you can walk .5 miles to the Waterfront Metro station or .6 miles to L’Enfant Plaza.
- The Holiday Inn Washington – Capitol is approximately 1.1 miles from the Tidal Basin and is a short two minute walk to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.
Easy Metro Access
The closest Metro stop to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin is the Smithsonian stop at approximately .6 miles. The Orange, Silver, and Blue lines service this station without having to make any transfers. I would suggest finding a hotel close to one of those lines in Arlington, Virginia. You will likely save some money/points on your nightly rate but hotels likely still charge for parking. This category holds the other half of our suggestions for the best hotels for cherry blossom festival viewing.
- Hilton Arlington is right above the Ballston MU Station which makes for an fast walk to your room after a long day of sightseeing.
- Hyatt Centric Arlington is a couple of blocks from the Rosslyn station. Keep in mind, it’s a rather steep hill from the metro to the hotel so save energy for the walk back.
- Residence Inn Arlington Courthouse is an easy .2 mile walk from the Courthouse station.
- Ritz Carlton Pentagon City is connected to Fashion Centre at Pentagon City which has an indoor walkway to the Pentagon City metro stop.
- Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport is only .1 mile from the Crystal City metro stop and also provides a free shuttle to DCA.
Further Into Suburbs
The further out you get from DC, the longer it will take you to travel to the cherry blossoms. While it seems like it shouldn’t take long to drive 10-15 miles but if you hit a bad batch of traffic, it could triple your drive time.
Now, hotels further out will likely be less expensive and parking is generally very inexpensive or free. You could always drive to a metro station that has parking like Vienna, Wiehle-Reston, Shady Grove, Franconia-Springfield, or Van Dorn.
If you are selecting this option, I’m guessing one of your top reasons is due to cost. Before you make your final choice, consider all of your necessary costs. You will either need to pay for parking in DC or the Metro plus a train ticket. Visit this site for more information on Metro fares.
I didn’t include any specific hotels on our list of 10 best hotels for Washington DC cherry blossom festival in this category. Personally, I would only select a hotel further into the suburbs if I were trying to stick with a budget or visiting friends or family who lived close to the hotel.
Important Dates for Cherry Blossoms
The National Park Service (NPS) closely monitors the blooming cherry blossoms each year. You can see when peak bloom has been over the past 14 years by visiting their website. Official dates for the National Cherry Blossom Festival are March 20-April 15, 2018. The peak bloom prediction was JUST announced this morning! It’s expected to be March 17-20. Keep an eye on the NPS Facebook and Twitter for more updates on bloom status.
- March 24, 2018 – Opening Ceremony
- March 31, 2018 – Blossom Kite Festival
- April 7, 2018 – Petalpalooza (formerly known as the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival)
- April 8, 2018 – Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk
- April 14, 2018 – National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Going to see the cherry blossoms is truly an amazing experience. I was incredibly surprised by the beauty the first time I saw them in person. No matter how crazy it gets trying to get to the cherry blossoms, remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the beauty around you.
Have you stayed at any of these best hotels for the Washington DC cherry blossom festival?