The weekend of March 24 was already likely to be one of the busiest in recent years, and a shift in the peak bloom of the famed Cherry Blossoms could mean crowds will be even larger than expected.
The Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin are now expected to be near peak bloom between March 27 and 31, more than a week later than previously anticipated. While officials had believed the blossoms would be near peak bloom this weekend (March 17-18), that has been pushed back due to the recent chilly temperatures.
The upshot is that next weekend, March 24 and 25, could bring the largest crowds to the Tidal Basin at the same time as the March for Our Lives gun control rally, which is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of people on its own Saturday.
There will also be a variety of events all over the city related to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Officials moved back the official opening ceremony of the Cherry Blossom Festival to Sunday so it would not conflict with the March for Our Lives event.
Local transportation officials have already put in place to accommodate the crush of visitors.
- On Saturday, March 24, Metro will run at rush hour service levels through 6 p.m., or even later if necessary. Metro will open at 7 a.m. and trains will run every 2-4 minutes between stations.
- On March, MARC train will operate a special weekend schedule—not its normal Saturday schedule. This schedule includes some late-departing evening trains from the District.
Cherry Blossom crowds will be concentrated near the Tidal Basin and nearby Metro stations including Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza.
The March for Our Lives event will take place along Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 12th Streets. Organizers also have permits for sidewalks and other public spaces nearby, including John Marshall Park, Freedom Plaza, and the U.S. Navy Memorial.