Are you going on a trip to New York City in spring and still looking for something fun and interesting to do? I got you covered! A day trip to Washington DC in Spring is all you need!
Cherry Blossom Seasons is around the corner, and no one does Spring better than Washington DC. My best friend and I took a chance and hopped on a bus from NYC to DC! To my surprise the Washington DC cherry blossom festival was one of my favorite parts of the entire New York trip.
I would love to share this amazing experience with you – to save you a lot of hassle planning. Keep on reading for my Washington DC in Spring – Day trip itinerary – from New York.
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Table of Contents
- What to expect from Washington DC in Spring
- Weather in Washington DC in Spring
- National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC
- How to get to Washington DC from NYC
- 3. Go from NYC to DC by Train
- 4. Fly from NYC to DC
- 5. Get a rental car to go from NYC to DC
- One day in Washington DC itinerary – Spring Walking Tour
- Other things to do in Washington DC in Spring 2023
- Frequently asked Questions
- Conclusion: Washington DC in Spring 2023 – from NYC
What to expect from Washington DC in Spring
You have probably seen stunning pictures of the Cherry Blossom festival in DC all over the internet. And I promise you – it is even better in real life.
Since the weather in spring can still be a bit unpredictable, you might have to adjust your expectations a little. When we visited DC, it was still quite cold.
So while we had a lot of outdoor activities planned, we chose to mix them up with some indoor stops in between. There is so much to see and to do in Washington DC. You can find a cultural or historical highlight no matter where you look.
Washington DC has some of the best museums I have ever seen. I recommend you plan at least for one or two museums during your day trip.
Weather in Washington DC in Spring
The temperatures in Washington DC in Spring can be quite unpredictable. While some days are sunny and warm, it can also be rainy and cold on other days.
May is the rainiest month in DC, with an average of 4.3 inches of rainfall. However, the average high temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C) is comfortable.
Here is an overview of how you can expect the weather to be in Washington Dc in Spring:
- Washington DC in March: Highs of 56 °F / (13 °C) ; Lows of 35 °F / (2 °C) ; 7 rainy days on average
- Washington DC in April: Highs of 67 °F / (19 °C) Lows of 44 °F / (7 °C) ; 8 rainy days on average
- Washington DC in May: Highs of 76 °F (24 °C), Lows of 54 °F / (12 °C); 9 rainy days on average
Important if you are allergic like me: bring medication and eye-drops – there will be pollen everywhere.
National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC
The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC usually takes place every year from the end of March until mid-April. Check the Cherry Blossom Watch Website for more details on the blossoms.
In 2023 the Cherry Blossom Festival will be held from the 18th of March until the 16th of April.
The Cherry Blossom Festival has its beginnings in 1912. Back then, the Mayor of Tokyo gave the city of DC a handful (about 3.000) of cherry trees. Ever since then, they have multiplied in numbers and can be found all over the city.
Where to find Cherry Blossom in DC
You can find beautiful pink flowers all over the city. The most important points to see the cherry blossoms in DC are around the Tidal Basin and the National Mall. These are also the best spots for famous pictures with cherry trees and monuments in the background.
There are a few other places that you can check for Cherry Blossom in DC:
- East Potomac Park/Hains Point
- National Arboretum
- Dumbarton Oaks
- Kenwood Cherry Blossoms
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Since we only spent one day in Washington DC, we only explored the trees around the Tidal Basin and the National Mall. If you wish you can also take a guided tour of all the cherry trees and famous monuments.
Events during the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Seeing the beautiful flowers in full bloom is quite the experience. However, there are some amazing and fun events planned during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in DC.
In 2023, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is gonna take place from March 18 until April 16.
This year, the festival will be officially opened on March 25 in a fabulous Opening Ceremony. The Blossom Kite Festival is on the 25th of March as well. You can see many colorful kites flying over DC.
My personal favorite is the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, which is held on April 15 in 2023. Of course, Petalpalooza on April 8 is also worth a visit.
Artists will love Art in Bloom, which takes place from March 20th until April 16th. One-of-a-kind cherry blossom sculptures will be placed all over town. Also the Japanese Sakura Matsuri Festival is worth checking out.
Best time of the day to visit the Cherry Blossom in DC
There is no optimal time of the day to visit the Cherry Blossoms. They look beautiful, no matter the hour.
Overall, I suggest visiting in the early mornings or the evenings. That will guarantee you fewer crowds and better photo opportunities.
How to get to Washington DC from NYC
I will not lie, going from NYC to DC in a day, and back is a hassle. It was a long journey, but I do not regret it.
If you have the chance, stay overnight in DC to get the most out of your trip.
There are basically five options for you to go from NYC to DC:
- Go from NYC to DC with the bus
- Go from NYC to DC on an organised day trip tour
- Fly from NYC to DC
- Go from NYC to DC with the train
- Go from NYC to DC with a rental car
1. Go from NYC to DC with the bus
We chose to go from NYC to DC by the bus because it was the cheapest option. Our hotel in NYC was right next to the Port Authority Terminal. This is also where the Greyhound Bus took off.
It takes about 5 – 6 hours to travel to DC and it is uncomfortable. There was barely any space in the bus and the WiFi was broken. But it was cheap.
The bus will take you right to Washington Union Station. From there, everything is within walking distance.
Despite the lack of comfort I do not regret choosing this option.
2. Go from NYC to DC on an organized day trip
This is probably the most comfortable option to go to DC for a day. You don’t have to plan anything, there is no hassle and someone will bring you to all the important sights.
Of course, this kind of tour comes in at a higher price point. Plus, you are not as flexible with your itinerary as with the other options.
You can book a private trip to avoid this and have more flexibility. If you are a group of between 2 and 6 people I recommend booking a private trip. When you can split the price between a couple of people it is just as cheap as a group tour.
Here are my favorite tours:
3. Go from NYC to DC by Train
The trains leave from Penn Station in Midtown and run all day. You have full flexibility over your schedule with this option. You end your trip at Union Station in Washington.
Most trains have free WiFi, power outlets, and a restaurant car. It is more comfortable than the bus, and only slightly more expensive.
4. Fly from NYC to DC
Flying is the fastest way to go from NYC to DC. The flight takes about an hour and is usually even cheaper than the train.
The only downside is, that you will be landing outside of the city center, so you need to arrange for an Uber at the Airport.
5. Get a rental car to go from NYC to DC
Your last option is to get a rental car in NYC for the day and make the drive yourself.
If you wish for the most flexibility and are used to driving in the city, this is a great option for you. Personally, I am scared to drive in bigger cities with a lot of traffic, so we did not do that.
One day in Washington DC itinerary – Spring Walking Tour
We have thought long and hard about how to get around Washington DC in order to see the most beautiful cherry trees and all the interesting monuments. Therefor, I have created an amazing walking tour beforehand.
It takes about two hours (only the walk) and is 6.4 miles long. With my suggested stops in between, this will keep you busy all day.
1st stop: Union Station
My Washington DC in spring walking tour starts at Union Station. This is where you will most likely be arriving by train or bus.
Union Station is also a great place to have some breakfast or lunch, depending on when you’ll be arriving. The station is quite beautiful by itself, so it is worth a visit.
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court is a great and interesting place to see in Washington DC in Spring. There are sweet little flowers outside and it is a great photo op.
As young lawyers, we also had to go inside of course. I can recommend checking out the Supreme Court for everyone, there is a lot to learn.
The building is open to the public from 09:00 am until 03:00 pm. Tours and courtroom lectures are available free of charge. Make sure to check the website of the Supreme Court before you go, since it is not open to the public on days with hearings scheduled.
On the ground floor, you can see some interesting exhibitions on the history of the Supreme Court, the Justices, and the work of the Court. These exhibitions are self-guided.
We also participated in a 25 min presentation of the courtroom. They explain the judicial functions of the Supreme Court, the history of the building, as well as the architecture of the Courtroom. I found this super interesting and it was one of my favorite things to do in DC.
The United States Capitol
The US Capitol is only a few steps away from the Supreme Court.
It is another great place to learn about the history and politics of the United States. Different exhibits, guided tours, and virtual tours can give great insight into the workings of the Capitol and Congress.
Check their homepage for all current exhibits and reserve your spot.
If you proceed on my suggested walking tour, you will also get to see some beautiful cherry blossom and magnolia blossom behind the Capitol Building.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History
As a lover of history, I decided to check out the Smithsonian National Museum of American History next. I had about two hours to explore the museum – and it was not nearly enough.
The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 05:30 pm. Admission is free.
There is such a wide array of exhibitions and topics within the museum. My favorite exhibitions were the American Culture exhibition, the 9/11 exhibition, and the women’s history exhibition.
Of course, it was also interesting to learn about World War II from an American perspective.
If you are not as much into history, I can recommend the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian Museum of National Air and Space instead.
The Washington Monument needs to be on every visitor’s Washington DC Bucket List. It was built in honor of George Washington and is constructed as a 555-foot marble obelisk tower.
George Washington was one of America’s founding fathers and the first president of the United States of America. He died in 1799.
If you book your tickets early enough, you can even get a spot on the express elevator that will take you up the monument.
National Mall and Memorial Parks
The National Mall is the preservation of thousands of acres of parkland in Washington DC. It includes several important monuments, such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
This is also a great spot to see some cherry blossom in Washington DC in spring.
Within the National Mall, you can find the Tidal Basin. There is also plenty of cherry blossom there. If you wish to walk the 2.1 miles around the Tidal Basin on the Tidal Basin Loop Trail you can spot some important monuments.
The Lincoln Memorial is another great stop on this Washington DC spring walking tour.
The memorial was built in honor of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It took them nearly 60 years to be completed.
It was supposed to be a pyramid, but in the end they settled on a different shape. The reflecting pool in front of it is part of the memorial. You can also find the World War II Memorial at the other side of the pool.
The White House
On your way back to the Union Station you will pass by the White House and the National Treasury. Both look very pretty from the outside and there were even some very pretty blossoms.
You can request to participate in a public tour at the White House at least 21 days in advance. We did not do that so there was no chance to get in.
Other things to do in Washington DC in Spring 2023
- Take a day trip to Arlington and visit the Arlington National Cemetery
- See The United States Botanic Gardens
- See a Washington Nationals baseball game
- Explore Georgetown and walk alongside the Potomac River
- Attend Passport DC and visit embassy’s from all over the world (one of the coolest DC events in spring)
Frequently asked Questions
Spring is a lovely time to visit DC. There are beautiful cherry blossoms everywhere and the temperatures are friendly and warm. You can nicely explore all the monuments without getting too hot or cold.
Yes, April is a good time to visit Washington DC. The temperatures are friendly and you can see stunning cherry blossom trees all over the city. There are very few rainy days in April, which makes it a great month to visit DC.
The best time to visit Washington DC is in spring during the Cherry Blossom Festival. This is also the peak season in DC. If you prefer it to be more quiet during your visit, I suggest visiting in fall.
April is the best month to visit Washington DC. You will most likely see beautiful cherry blossom all over the city, and the weather is already quite friendly. There are less rainy days in April than in May.
Yes, a day trip to Washington DC from New York is well worth it. DC holds so many interesting monuments and so much history and culture. I would absolutely recommend it.
Conclusion: Washington DC in Spring 2023 – from NYC
Washington DC in Spring is worth a trip from NYC. Apart from lovely Cherry Blossom Trees all over the city, it is a great time to learn about American history and culture.
Whether you spend the day strolling around beautiful DC with my Washington DC Walking Tour Itinerary – or visiting as many museums as possible. DC is amazing – not only in spring!
If you are coming in all the way from Europe, make sure to check up on my Essential Tips for flying to the US.