Top 10 things to love about Washington, DC in the Spring

English: Japanese cherry trees (Sakura), a gif...

English: Japanese cherry trees (Sakura), a gift from Japan in 1965, adorn the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The Washington Monument is visible in the distance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10. Outdoor cafes – Warm weather and outdoor dining…now that’s a combo meal!  Find out more here: http://dc.about.com/od/restaurants/a/Diningoutdoors.htm

 9. Bicycle and running paths – Washington, DC and the surrounding neighborhoods are adorned with hundreds of miles of beautiful trails.  Whether you walk, bike or run, find your favorite route and enjoy.  http://bikewashington.org/trails/ and http://www.commuterpage.com/biketrails.htm

8. National Zoo – Everyone knows that bears hibernate and the birds fly south for winter, but come spring there is no place better to see lions, tigers, bears and more than at the National Zoo.  Best of all, the National Zoo is run by the Smithsonian Museum and remains free (although parking is not).  http://nationalzoo.si.edu/

7. Tourists – You may ask, am I crazy…tourists???  Sure, some people are put-out by the overcrowded metro, and many are outraged when out-of-towners are not aware of the stand to stand to the right, pass on the left metro etiquette.  But let’s face it; tourists pump millions of dollars each year into the Washington metro area. The two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival alone brings in over $100 million in tourist dollars each year.  That’s a tremendous amount of money being pumped into our economy, and a boon for many local businesses.

6. Daylight Savings Time – I’m taking a little liberty with this one.  While DST is obviously not inherent to Washington, DC, it is something that we all enjoy once the short winter days end.  DC is well known to be a city of workaholics who put in long days at the office.  With extended daylight hours, it is ideal to be able to leave work and still have time to enjoy this beautiful city in the warmth of daylight.  One of my personal favorite things to after work is to go for a run on the Mall.  The monuments, while always special, seem all the more spectacular when adorned by the glow of sun-setting skies.

5. Great Falls – After the winter snow melts, the water rises high and flows free at Great Falls.  ….er, wait there really was no snow this winter, at least not here in DC.  However, Great Falls is still one of the area’s best attractions, and luckily for most “locals” is within a half hour drive of just about anybody who lives in the metro area.  In city adorned by incredible man-made monuments, we often forget the monuments that Mother Nature created, with Great Falls being among the very best in the area.  If you’ve never hiked the Billy Goat Trail, or have not done so in a very long time, you owe it to yourself to get out there this spring.  http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Billy_Goat_A_8872.asp

4. Annapolis, Middleburg, Skyline Drive and more – There are many places to visit within an hour or so drive of DC.  Whether it’s the quaint towns of Middleburg and Annapolis or the hiking trails and spectacular views of Skyline Drive, there is so much to see and do near Washington.  Sure, we can go there any time of year, but if traffic is any indication, it is the arrival of spring when most are reminded to take a short road trip.   If you are not “most”, consider yourself reminded.

3. Washington Nationals baseball – Washington, DC was without a baseball team from the time the Senators left town after the 1971 season until the Nationals played their inaugural season in 2005.  Having loomed in last place for the better part of their existence, the Washington Nationals seem to be on the brink of being a very good team in the very near future.  Opening Day is April 12th.  Check out the schedule and get your tickets, because nothing says spring like the start of baseball season.  Play Ball!  www.nationals.com

2. There’s always something happening – Springtime choices are plentiful.  Whether you plan something festive like Gold Cup in The Plains, VA www.vagoldcup.com, or celebrate Earth Day on the Mall www.earthday.org/mall, there’s something for everyone in the Washington, DC area.  Choices range from the ever popular outdoor kite festival www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/2011/07/15/blossom-kite-festival to indoor events such as the DC Film Fest www.filmfestdc.org.

#1 – Cherry Blossoms – Ahhhh, the Cherry Blossoms!  So beautiful, delicate and fleeting, they are meant to be treasured during a very short blooming period.  In 2012, Washington DC celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  It’s an annual celebration that showcases the gift of 3,000 cherry trees that the city of Tokyo gave to our nation’s capital. www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/.   This year’s peak bloom is earlier than normal March 20-23.  Photos from 3/20/12 can be found on my Pictures page.  Hurry up and  see them in person before they are gone!

So that’s my top 10.  I’m sure that a point can be made for many other ideas.  What are yours?

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