Tidal Basin

Tidal Basin information

Washington, DC , USA
Getting there
Underground Rail: Smithsonian
Something wrong?
Submit a correction

Beloved for the magnificent Yoshino cherry trees that ring it, the Tidal Basin is an elegant aquatic interruption to the stone and grass of the Mall and its surrounding web of roads. The orchard was a gift from Japan in 1912; since then, every year in late March or early April the banks shimmer with pale pink blossoms. When said blossoms start to shed, the effect of soft pink snow against warm spring weather is intoxicating. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates this event – late March and early April draw 750,000 visitors to DC for the festivities, which culminate in a big parade.

The Tidal Basin serves a practical purpose: flushing the adjacent Washington Channel. At high tide, river waters fill the basin through gates under the Inlet Bridge; at low tide, gates under the Outlet Bridge open and water streams into the channel.

Visit the Tidal Basin Boathouse and rent out a paddleboat. Make sure you bring the camera; there are great views, of the Jefferson Memorial in particular, from the water.