The Wash

Cherry blossom fans visit Kenwood neighborhood as alternative to crowded Tidal Basin

A residential neighborhood in Chevy Chase is an insider cherry blossom destination for devoted fans of the springtime trees, serving as an alternative to the popular Tidal Basin area in D.C. 

Located just seven miles from the National Mall area, visitors walked, drove, and photographed throughout the quiet Kenwood neighborhood this morning, whose streets are adorned with cherry blossom trees. 

A cloudy street is surrounded by cherry blossom trees, as a car drives alongside the street.
A car stops to take a photograph in the Kenwood neighborhood on March 25, 2023.


An affluent and picturesque suburban community, the Kenwood neighborhood houses approximately 250 homes in the $1 million to $6 million price range, according to Zilllow. 

“I’ve gone to the [Tidal] Basin before, and it’s so crowded. There’s so many people and it’s chaotic…here, it’s a lot more chill,” said Angelica Medina, a native Venezuelan who moved to Bethesda for work-related reasons. Donning a pink raincoat that aptly matches the surrounding petals, Medina explained a special connection she feels to the annual arrival of the blossoms. 

Angelica Medina smiles at her dog who is on a leash in a cherry blossom filled street.
Angelica Medina, Bethesda resident, walks her dog in the Kenwood neighborhood on March 25, 2023.


“I used to have two dogs and the older one was named Hana, which means ‘flower’ in Japanese. And because I really like the flowers and Hana was born in the spring, I always associate them with her,” she said.

While a light drizzle and cloudy day brought only a small showing of visitors this morning, many came prepared to document the experience with smartphones and professional cameras,  joined by their dogs and children. Some chose to stroll through the neighborhood, while others perused the Kenwood streets while staying in their cars, opening their windows only to snap photos of the trees. 

 “Even if it’s rainy today, it’s really pretty. The neighborhood is peaceful, and the cars are mindful of the pedestrians,” said Medina. 

A cherry blossom petal hangs from a tree with raindrops on it.

According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a not-for-profit organization that organizes and promotes relevant programming in the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas, over 1 million individuals visited the cherry blossoms in 2022. Despite the organization successfully drawing large numbers of attendees in D.C. proper, some are less keen on enjoying the beauty of the buds with others around them.

One visitor, committed to sharing as little as possible about the event to keep visitors at a minimum, declined to share his name but expressed that “the crowds at the Tidal Basin can be a little overwhelming. I’ve been doing this for the past ten years instead.” 

Though some have hoped the neighborhood won’t achieve the same level of attention as the Tidal Basin, a series of “no parking” and “please do not climb on trees” signs along the streets speak to the increasing popularity of the area, with a police officer in his car monitoring for traffic and parking issues. 

A "no parking" sign sits underneath a cherry blossom tree.

“It’s beautiful here,” said Howard Hersh, a Montgomery County Police Department officer. “When the weather has been really nice, it gets pretty backed up here. Once it stops raining, it’ll jam right up,” he said. 

The trees’ origin story is simple: in the 1930s, a local developer planted 1,200 Yoshino cherry blossom trees “as a way to promote the neighborhood to potential home buyers,” according to the Kenwood Garden Club’s website. Most trees can be viewed on Kennedy Drive, Dorset Avenue and Kenwood Avenue. 

Rosa Rad

Rosa Rad is a student in the AU School of Communications focusing on Journalism & Digital Storytelling. Her interests include progressive movements, immigration justice, and issues relevant to diaspora communities. Rosa will graduate with a Masters degree in May 2023.

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