HOTELS, RESTAURANTS AND TOUR COMPANIES BLOOM WITH CHERRY BLOSSOM PROMOTIONS

When pink blooms appear on the city’s famous cherry trees, Washingtonians know that spring has officially arrived. The National Cherry Blossom Festival® is Washington, DC’s signature springtime event, attracting more than one million residents and visitors during the two-week celebration. This year’s event takes place March 25 – April 9, with the National Cherry Blossom Festival parade and Sakura Matsuri street festival both slated for April 8.

Visitors can become a part of this Washington, DC springtime tradition by taking advantage of special promotions and offers from hotels, restaurants and tour companies. Available exclusively at washington.org or by calling 1-800-422-8644, Cherry Blossom/Spring Break Hotel Packages offer exceptional values for overnight stays in the nation’s capital, with rates starting at $99 per night. The Grand Hyatt Washington Cherry Blossom Package includes a welcome cherry amenity, a program of festival events and two one-day Metro passes, starting at $149 per night. The St. Gregory Hotel & Suites is tempting families with complimentary continental breakfast, overnight stays in its spacious suites and a discount on lunch and dinner at the adjoining M Street Bar & Grill, starting at $169 per night. Promotional offers are available March 15 – April 30 at more than 20 hotels in the Washington, DC metro area.

Washington, DC’s restaurants are also taking a cue from the spring blooms by bringing back the annual “Cherry Picks” promotion. Dozens of Washington, DC’s most popular eateries will serve creative dishes prepared with cherries. Sample chef Cesare Lanfranconi’s Polenta Cake with oven roasted cherries, olive oil gelato and crumbled sbrisaolona at Ristorante Tosca; Bryan Voltaggio’s Preserved Bing Cherry and Dark Chocolate brioche bread pudding with vanilla bean sorbet at Charlie Palmer Steak; or chef Rob Klink’s Spiced Hawaiian Opah with Cherry Apple Chutney at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. A complete listing of dishes and recipes will be available at nationalcherryblossomfestival.org by late February.

Tour companies are also capitalizing on the festivities by incorporating the history and lore surrounding the blossoms into their tour offerings. Bike the Sites’ “Blossoms by Bike” tour takes bloom-watchers around the scenic Tidal Basin as guides share facts about the monuments, memorials and the flowering trees. During the festival, tours are offered daily at 3 pm and on weekends at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3 pm. The cost is $30 for adults, $20 for children.

Walking tour company Washington Walks brings back its popular Blossom Secrets Stroll on March 25 and 26. This narrated tour tells the story about the gift of the trees from the people of Japan to the people of Washington, DC with colorful stories about the characters who have made the blooming trees a symbol of springtime in Washington, DC. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Washington Photo Safari also gets into the blossom spirit with daily photo safaris. Aspiring shutterbugs can pick up some photography tips from professional photographer E. David Luria, who will run photo safaris daily from 3 – 5:30 pm and sunrise safaris on April 2, 5, 8 and 9 from 6:15 – 8:30 am. The cost is $49 per person for the afternoon safari, $53 per person for the sunrise safari.

For more information about the National Cherry Blossom Festival®, visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org. To book a Cherry Blossom/Spring Break hotel package, visit washington.org or call 1-800-422-8644.

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