Here in the nation's capital it doesn’t feel too much like spring today as we endure cloudy skies and rain showers – then again, most of the east coast is experiencing the same dreary weather.  But we’ll take solace in knowing that longer daylight hours filled with sunny skies are right around the corner, as evidenced by the newly budding blooms popping up all around our great city.

To that end, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will kick off later this week.  The Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki to the District of Columbia. It is a beautiful time of year to take a stroll around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park – don’t let the crowds deter you.  It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, soak up some vitamin D from the sunshine and burn some calories.  To make the most of your cherry blossom viewing experience, check out some tips from Fodor’s. And if crowds just aren’t your thing, make your way over to the 412 acre U.S. National Arboretum.  With more than 2,000 ornamental cherry trees, you’re sure to see something of beauty.  Add to that the great walking trails, an opportunity to view the National Capitol Columns and plenty of space for a family picnic and you’re sure to have a great time!