If you are visiting Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival or if you miss the Tidal Basin cherry blossom peak bloom by a few days, take time to visit the Kenwood neighborhood in Montgomery County in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Kenwood cherry blossoms are gaining fame but still relatively unknown compared to the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms. While it is about a 30 minute drive from the Tidal Basin, it is worth it.
When Do the Kenwood Cherry Blossoms Bloom?
The Kenwood cherry blossoms typically bloom a little after the Tidal Basin cherry blossoms, but they are just as beautiful. Some years they only bloom a few days later, but other years they bloom a week after the Tidal Basin. This means they often bloom the first or second week of April.
If you can’t make it in time for the Tidal Basin or have a few extra days, try to see the Kenwood neighborhood at peak bloom. This stunning neighborhood lights up with the flowers lining the streets. The homes in this neighborhood are gorgeous which makes it even more beautiful with the flowering trees along both sides of the streets.
Kenwood Cherry Blossoms Parking
You cannot park on the streets in the Kenwood neighborhood during peak bloom in April, but you can walk through the neighborhood. You can also drive through but be prepared for lots of pedestrians walking in the street.
There are signs lining the streets to remind you not to park on the streets. In 2021, they actually shut down the streets completely to vehicles the weekend after peak bloom. The rest of the time you could drive through, and we did see people park on the streets for a few minutes despite all of the signs.
The best spot to park for the Kenwood cherry blossoms is near Capital Crescent Trail. If you search your map for Washington Episcopal School, you can park in the little parking lot off of Landy Lane just before the school. Turn onto Landy Lane from River Road, and you’ll see the lot on your right.
Once you park, walk across the street to the trail and head to the right on Capital Crescent Trail. This trail takes you right into the Kenwood neighborhood in about a 5 minute walk. Once you get to Dorset Avenue, turn left into the neighborhood and wander the streets to your heart’s content.
Best Streets in Kenwood Neighborhood for Cherry Blossoms
You really can’t go wrong wandering the streets of Montgomery County’s Kenwood neighborhood during cherry blossom season. Brookside Drive is lined with the cherry blossoms but has more traffic as a main thoroughfare. There is also a little creek running through that makes this area popular for photos.
Kennedy Drive is another popular street for the flowers with a little park where you can picnic or relax and enjoy the beauty of the flowers. Bring a blanket and spread out on the grass or sit at one of the picnic tables and enjoy an evening or weekend afternoon here.
We also walked up Norway Drive, Dorset Drive and Oakland Road, but it was close to sunset and many of the flowers from peak bloom had already fallen. My favorite view was from the top of Oakland Road near Highland Drive where the trees formed a tunnel over the road.
Best Time to See the Kenwood Cherry Blossoms
If you go on the weekend, especially the weekend after peak bloom, expect the area to be crowded. However, it won’t be as crowded as the Tidal Basin at peak bloom.
In 2021, both areas were limited due to health and safety regulations. The National Park Service limited vehicle and foot traffic for the Tidal Basin, and Montgomery County limited vehicle traffic to locals only the weekend after peak bloom in Kenwood.
Most years this isn’t the case, so Kenwood ends up having cars driving through and lots of pedestrians walking the streets and taking photos. Early in the morning on the weekend is the best time to visit when the sunlight shines through the blossoms and gives them a beautiful glow.
We went just before sunset on a weekday after peak bloom, and because the flowers were mostly on the road instead of on the trees, there weren’t many people around.
Keep in mind that this is a neighborhood. During busier times for the residents to go to work or come home there may be more cars to avoid on the streets if you go on a weekday.
Where to Stay in Bethesda Maryland
We stayed down in Alexandria and drove up to Bethesda, but you can also stay in Washington DC and drive the 30 minutes or so to the Kenwood neighborhood.
A Final Reminder
The homes in the Kenwood neighborhood are straight out of a magazine, but please be respectful of the residents. We saw one group pushing a baby stroller across a yard to cut a corner and another group walking through the grass to take pictures.
Remember that people live in this neighborhood and respect their property and their privacy. Stay on the street or sidewalks and off of their yards. Follow the posted rules about parking and clean up after your pets if you bring them with you.
Enjoy the beauty of the neighborhood, but please be mindful of those living in the beautiful homes while walking through and taking photos.
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