Next to cherry blossoms, nothing heralds the arrival of spring in Washington, DC, like the annual Flower Mart on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral. A combined floral celebration and outdoor spring festival, Flower Mart has been delighting Washingtonians and visitors every spring for more than 70 years. Held on Friday and Saturday of the first full weekend in May, Flower Mart has something for everyone: floral displays sponsored by various embassies and their floral designers; sales of plants, herbs, food, and gifts; live entertainment; games and activities for children; and rides on an antique carousel.
Each year, Flower Mart honors a different country whose ambassador serves as the honorary chair. The food, culture, arts and crafts of that nation are featured.
The days of Flower Mart are among the few times each year when the central tower of the Cathedral is open for visitors. Purchase a ticket to climb to the top of the Cathedral’s 300-foot tower where you will enjoy the view from one of the highest spots in D.C. With 333 steps, it’s a rigorous climb (and not for those who are afraid of heights), but along the way you will see a demonstration of the bells and learn about the architecture of the Cathedral.
More earthly delights can be found by strolling the 59 acres that make up the Cathedral Close. Pick up a self-guided garden tour flyer in the Herb Cottage Gift Shop. Highlights include the Bishop’s Garden and Olmsted Woods, a five-acre oak and beech forest, named for landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Flower Mart is sponsored by All Hallows Guild, which uses the proceeds to maintain the Cathedral’s grounds and gardens.
Flower Mart is held rain or shine. In fair weather, daily attendance is about 10,000 people. Expect crowds and consider using Metrorail.
Flower Mart 2014 will be on Friday, May 2nd from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday, May 3rd from 10 am to 5 pm.
For more information, visit www.cathedral.org/ahg/fm/index.html.
Flower Mart at the Washington National Cathedral
Hours: Friday, 10am to 6pm
Admission: Free. Tickets to climb the central tower are $10 per person; must be 48 inches tall.
Parking: Limited parking is available in the Cathedral’s underground parking garage.
Metrorail: Shuttle buses run from the Tenelytown-American University stop on the Red line.