Get Your Bloom On! NYC’s Best Cherry Blossom Spots

Cathy Bennett Kopf Avatar

kanzan cherry blossoms at The New York Botanical Garden, one of the best places to see NYC cherry blossoms

Winter 2024 was mild in New York City. So, if you’re planning a spring trip to the Big Apple and want to see the city’s beautiful cherry blossom trees in full bloom, you’ll want to check out our complete guide. We’ve highlighted the best NYC spots with cherry trees. Many of the locations have trackers so you can follow the flowering season to time your trip for peak cherry blossom bloom. And the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has replaced its beloved Sakura Matsuri festival with a special ticketed event that promises to be magical. Here’s what you need to know about NYC’s 2024 cherry blossom season.

Cherry Blossoms in New York City

Like a bear, New York City hibernates during winter. Then, as the weather warms up, the city comes alive. It’s time to shake off winter, pack a snack and enjoy the great outdoors after spending the winter inside at NYC’s great museums and Broadway shows. The New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show provides a taste of blossoms to come. City residents are overjoyed that winter’s finally over. They’re happy. And friendly. So it’s a great time to visit.

Although bloom time varies, plan on the peak occurring sometime during the latter half of April. Celebrate the season in the traditional Japanese manner, called “hanami.” It’s the peaceful contemplation of the annual spring blooms. Want to find the most Instagrammable spots? Start here, with the SheBuysTravel list of the best places to see New York City cherry blossom trees.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Choose one of these fab NYC hotels for your family’s trip to see the cherry blossoms!

cherry trees in bloom at the New York Botanical Garden
If cherry trees could talk, they’d scream “Look at ME!” Photo courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden annual Sakura Matsuri festival celebrating Japanese culture has not returned since it was discontinued during Covid. However, the BBG is still one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in NYC. The Garden’s Cherry Esplanade in full bloom is a beautiful sight.

People enjoying the Cherry Esplanade - brooklyn botanic garden
The Cherry Esplanade in full bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo credit: Rebecca Bullene. Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Follow the Garden’s Cherrywatch for the latest info and to time your visit for peak bloom. Want special access? Tickets go on sale soon for Hanami Nights. On April 23 and 24 from 5 – 9 pm, the Cherry Esplanade will be lit up for a magical moment underneath the cherry blossom trees. If you want great photos, this is sure to be the place to snap them! There will also be live performances and a bar selling Japanese beer and cocktails.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Arrive early in the day or late in the afternoon (last admission is at 5:30 p.m.) to avoid crowds.

Facade of Graduate New York hotel framed by a cherry blossom branch.
Graduate New York hotel has cherry blossom room specials. Photo credit: Graduate New York

Other NYC Cherry Blossom Festivals

Popular locations for cherry blossom festivals in NYC are listed below with event information available at time of publication:

  • Roosevelt Island – Take the Tramway for a bird’s eye view of NYC and the cherry blossom trees along the East River walkway. This is one of the city’s top spots for cherry blossom tourists. Monitor travel advisories on the Roosevelt Island website. Don’t want to deal with the traffic? Spend the night on the island at Graduate New York. The hotel’s Panorama Room (ages 21+), located on the 18th floor, offers sweeping views of Manhattan and Queens. Bonus: the room’s pink decor vibes perfectly with cherry blossom season! Seasonal “Beneath the Cherry Blossom” package includes:
    • One Metro card- Good for 4 Subway rides and free transfers
    • $25 food and beverage credit at Anything At All (valid at any meal period)
    • Two (2) cherry-inspired cocktails from Anything At All 
    • One (1) box of chocolate covered cherries
  • Randall’s Island Park – Unique recreation area in the East River, between Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx. The Randall’s Island Cherry Blossom Festival is a popular New York City Event. Come fly a kite, make paper flowers and enjoy live performances. Check the website for 2024 info.
  • Flushing Meadows Corona Park – Site of two World’s Fairs and a grove of Okame cherry trees that bloom early in the season.
Enid Haupt Conservatory flanked by cherry blossom trees
Weeping cherry trees look like delicately old-fashioned ballgowns. Photo courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden.

New York Botanical Garden Cherry Blossoms

Located in the Bronx near the Zoo and famously delicious Arthur Avenue, The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is worth a visit any time of the year. But in spring, the gardens, conservatory and arboretum are truly a delight.

Why? Because cherry blossom season coincides with the botanical garden’s annual Orchid Show. It returns in full bloom from February 17 – April 21, 2024.

The grounds feature more than 200 cherry blossom trees. Called sakura in Japan, cherry trees come in different varieties including Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees. The botanical garden showstoppers are the weeping cherries planted in front of the Conservatory.

To catch the trees in full bloom, plan your visit to the New York Botanical Garden using their Spring Bloom Tracker.

kanzan cherry blossoms at The New York Botanical Garden
Kanzan cherry trees feature double blooms of pink flowers – they’re the superstars of a spring landscape. Photo courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

FREE Places to See Cherry Blossoms in New York City

Central Park

New York’s Central Park in spring is a wonderful place to visit. The first warm days are perfect for exploring its 840 acres, 21 playgrounds, the vintage carousel, Great Lawn, family-friendly zoo and the Loeb boathouse.

And visitors in spring can see gorgeous cherry blossoms in bloom at many different FREE locations in the park. The Central Park Conservancy’s Cherry Blossom Tracker can help you track the bloom progression at the following park spots:

  • Conservatory Garden (East Side from 104th to 106th Street)
  • The Reservoir (85th Street to 96th Street)
  • Pilgrim Hill (East Side at 72nd Street)
  • Cherry Hill (Mid-Park at 72nd Street)
  • Dene Slope (East Side from 65th to 67th Street)

A bountiful number of spring bulbs (in addition to flowering cherry blossom trees) are planted in the Park’s Shakespeare Garden (West Side from 79th to 80th Street). It’s a visual treat that rivals the masterpieces hanging at the Met.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you are visiting NYC with teens struggling with Shakespeare sonnets and plays, reading the 10 plaques featuring some of the author’s famous flower quotes might help them understand the Bard.

The Central Park Conservancy conducts guided park tours at 10 a.m. Thursday – Monday for $25. It’s a wonderful way to see the cherry blossoms and learn about the history of this grand green space. Purchase tickets on the Conservancy website.

Sign up for the Park’s weekly newsletter to stay posted about all the pretty in pink happenings.

Manhattan’s Central Park neighborhood has much to explore including MOMA and Carnegie Hall. Consider booking an overnight stay at the luxe Thompson Central Park. The hotel opened floors 26-33 in 2023, christening them the “Upper Stories.” Rooms feature upgraded amenities, a private check-in experience and access to the exclusive Upper Stories Lounge.

Riverside Park

Want to get the kids some exercise while you’re checking out NYC’s cherry blossoms? Then head to Riverside Park. Sited along the Hudson River on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Riverside Park features a 4-mile-long path. The section between 100th and 125th Streets is called the Cherry Walk.

Many of these trees were part of the same batch of trees planted at the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.. They were presented as a gift in 1912 by the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

SheBuysTravel Tip: The closest parking lot to access the Cherry Walk is at 97th Street and the Henry Hudson Drive.

Sakura Park

Another batch of the gifted cherry trees with pink flowers thrives in Sakura Park, located close to Riverside Park at West 122nd Street.

This 2-acre park also features a ten-foot tall Japanese stone tori or lantern, a children’s playground and outdoor performance space.

Green-Wood Cemetery

Historic Green-Wood Cemetery covers 478 beautiful acres in Brooklyn, planted with plenty of mature spring-blooming shrubs and cherry trees.

The cemetery offers two-hour historic trolley tours, so you can combine traditional sightseeing with your hanami. The cemetery website is the best resource for current tour information.

Queens Botanical Garden

New York City has seven botanic gardens. The one in Queens began as a five-acre exhibit in the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. You don’t have to hunt for the cherry blossom trees in the Garden. Head to the Cherry Circle and you will be rewarded with plenty of pink petals.

Staten Island Cherry Blossoms

It’s the forgotten borough. Staten Island is tiny compared to its big brothers, but it’s home to three, off-the-beaten path NYC cherry blossom destinations.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Head to the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden (NYCSG) in the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and you’ll feel like you’ve left NYC far behind. Created by 40 artisans, the features of the NYCSG were constructed in China, using traditional construction methods, and then reassembled in the Garden.

There are eight pavilions, waterfalls and a koi pond. Guides conduct Flowering Tree and Shrub walks in the spring. Check the website for 2024 information.

Silver Lake and Clove Lakes Parks

Silver Lake Park was designed as Staten Island’s version of Central Park. It has over 200 active acres; trails and open spaces are complemented by a golf course and tennis courts.

Next door to Silver Lake Park, you’ll find Clove Lakes Park. The Yoshino cherry trees may be the reason you head to the park, but you’ll also want to check out the oldest living thing in Staten Island – the park’s 300+-year-old tulip tree.

More Insider Info on Cherry Blossoms

Cathy Bennett Kopf Avatar
Cathy Bennett Kopf serves as the Daily Editor of SheBuysTravel, reporting to Editor-in-Chief Cindy Richards. She began travel writing after serving as the unofficial (and unpaid) vacation coordinator for hundreds of family and friend trips. She launched her blog, The Open Suitcase, in 2012 and joined the SBT (formerly TravelingMom) team in 2016. A lifelong resident of New York, Cathy currently resides in the scenic Hudson River Valley. She’s a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the International Travel Writers Alliance and TravMedia.
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5 responses

  1. Thank you for this article. Where is the top photo taken of the weeping cherry blossom by the water taken by Judy Antell?

    1. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  2. Where are the cherry blossoms on Roosevelt Island?

    1. Along the East River walkway. They’re beautiful, but go early. The island gets crowded.

  3. New York is lock down right now. Can we still visit Central Park to see the cherry blossoms ?

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