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How to celebrate cherry blossoms this spring without leaving Fairfax County

A cherry blossom-themed LOVE sign at the Tysons Corner Center Plaza, which will host the inaugural Pedal With Petals family bicycle ride (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 1:55 p.m. on 4/6/2023) Spring is here, and despite a cold snap over the weekend, cherry trees around the D.C. area are rapidly approaching full bloom.

The Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin remain on track with the National Park Service’s prediction that they will reach peak bloom — meaning that 70% of the flowers will be open — between Wednesday and Saturday (March 22-25).

Accordingly, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is now underway, though the official opening ceremony isn’t until this coming Saturday.

Since launching in the 1920s, the annual festival has expanded beyond D.C.’s borders, including to Fairfax County. For those who’d prefer not to endure the downtown crowds and traffic, there are plenty of events to catch closer to home when not taking in the flowers at local viewing spots like Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.

Celebration at the Lab

The Children’s Science Center has “transformed” its lab at Fair Oaks Mall into a scavenger hunt with various experiments to teach kids about the history and science of cherry blossoms.

Tickets are available for two-hour time slots at the lab between 10 a.m. and noon, and 2-4 p.m. from Saturday (March 25) through April 8. They cost $15 each, but there is a $2 discount for registering online.

Art Blooms at Mosaic

The Mosaic District in Merrifield has again partnered with the D.C. festival for a two-day celebration of its own that will feature live music on two different stages, crafts and farmers markets, and family-friendly activities, including a game corner and a “glamor” tent with hair-braiding and face-painting.

For adults, some restaurants in the neighborhood allow alcoholic beverages outside. A full list of Sip and Stroll participants and the festival’s performance schedule can be found on the Mosaic District website.

Complimentary shuttle service will be provided from the Dunn Loring Metro station to the festival, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 1 and 2.

Into the Woods at Frying Pan Farm Park

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s free event on April 1 has already filled up. Those who managed to snag a spot will get to build a fairy house, help count birds, and search for critters at stations along the Herndon park’s nature trail.

Pedal With Petals

Tysons Corner Center will host this inaugural family bicycle ride from 8-11 a.m. on April 2.

Registration is now open for the free ride, which will start in front of Tysons Tower and Vita Tysons Corner (7902 Tysons One Place) and circle around the mall. The Plaza will have a bicycle decorating station, free bicycle repairs, face-painting, snacks, a DJ and more.

Helmets are required for all cyclists. Event parking will be available, but participants are encouraged to travel via Metro to the Tysons station.

The Tysons Community Alliance and Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, which organized the ride, hope that it will become an annual staple of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

“The Festival and Tysons Community Alliance brands are a natural match with their emphasis on community,” TCA acting CEO Rich Bradley said. “A family bike ride serves to connect the community to the mobility aspirations of our urban center. We anticipate the ride course to expand annually as we realize future trail network growth planned for Tysons.”

Blossom Fest

The National Cherry Blossom Festival will incorporate Springfield Town Center for the first time with the inaugural Blossom Fest, which will be held outside the mall’s main entrance near Yard House and Maggiano’s from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 8.

Perhaps the most notable elements are a cherry tree planting and dedication at 11:30 a.m., and a build-your-own cherry blossom station hosted by Lego Discovery Center. Blossoms made by participants out of Legos will be added to a tree that will be displayed when the center opens this summer.

Other activities include ballet and jazz performances, a selfie booth with an Enchanted Teapot, food trucks and other vendors, and face-painting and balloon twisting.

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