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Cherries done two ways

Cherries done two ways

By Chi Lo

April marks a month of visitors. Visitors means I get a chance to show family and friends around the city I now call home. I get to explore DC's sights, and for often the first time, I get to really see some of the Capital's landmarks.

This and last weekend also marks the cherry blossom bloom, and the 98th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs ends tomorrow.

Having spent my childhood driving down 33rd Avenue in Vancouver every day on my way to school, and witnessing the beauty of the trees in bloom, I admit I was a little bit skeptical of what all this hype was about. Well, I take it all back. Cherry blossoms are blooming all around the city, unifying it in a pink blanket of petals. Though there is an almost endless list of activities, and ways to celebrate, no visit to the city during the festival would be complete without a walk around the Tidal Basin.

When to go: Get there EARLY. Even at 8AM, the international crowd had begun to gather, with the wait to get tickets to go up the nearby Washington Monument already snaking around its base. If you are planning a visit for next year, check on the National Cherry Blossom Festival website around February and March for anticipated peak bloom dates.

Getting there: The closest subway stop is the Smithsonian stop on the Orange and Blue lines. When you exit, walk towards and past the monument, and the pathway will be on your left.

Other tips: See if you can join a park ranger for a free tour or talk, and make sure you allow time to stop by the memorials (MLK, FDR, Jefferson) along the way.

Food: View the list of restaurants serving up cherry specialties.

Not a walker? You cannot bike around the basin during the festival; however, you can take a cruise along the Washington Channel and along the Potomac. Though it's not exactly the Tidal Basin, it does provide good views of the trees, with a lesson on the nearby sights, to boot.

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