Free Things to Do, Best Attractions & Activities: In 1912, Toyoko Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted Washington, D.C. with 3,000 cherry trees. To commemorate his generosity, the Cherry Blossom Festival was born. Tourists from all over the world come to the Tidal Basin to see the blooms which come out on average between late March to early April. The peak bloom date is the day that 70 percent of the blossoms are open. While the blooms may be the main attraction, the festival features a variety of creative and diverse activities that promote contemporary arts and culture, the enviroment and education. While most events are free and open to the public, some require paid admission. Metro: Smithsonian
Annual Events: Each year, more than a million tourists come to D.C.'s Tidal Basin from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the spectacular cherry blossoms in all their pinkish glory. The annual festival -- which runs two weeks and is timed to coincide with the trees' blooming -- commemorates the 1912 gift of cherry trees to the District from Tokyo. The festival boasts countless events around the city, including the popular Family Day, the opening ceremony, the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Many events are free, but some do charge admission or require tickets.