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Like a bear, New York City hibernates during winter. Then, as the weather warms up, the city comes alive. Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit, particularly in late April when the city’s cherry blossom trees bloom. 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.
Cherry Blossoms in New York City
Cherry blossom season in New York City marks the beginning of longer, warmer spring days. It’s time to shake off winter, pack a snackaroo and enjoy the great outdoors after spending the winter indoors at NYC’s great museums and shows.
NYC’s cherry blossoms bloom in late April. If you want earlier blossoms, head south. Washington DC’s Tidal Basin goes into bloom in late March and the city celebrates with its famous annual cherry blossom festival in early April. Other popular US cherry blossom destinations include the Horticulture Center in Philadelphia and the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, GA.
But I think NYC is the best spot to see and snap the beautiful cherry blossoms in springtime. 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 some time during the latter half of April. Cherry blossom festivals are held in various locations during that time. Or feel free to celebrate the season in the traditional Japanese manner, called “hanami.” It’s the peaceful contemplation of the annual spring blooms.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Choose one of these fab NYC hotels for your family’s trip to see the cherry blossoms!
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has hosted an annual Sakura Matsuri festival, celebrating Japanese culture. When Mother Nature cooperates, the Garden’s Cherry Esplanade is in full bloom. At the time of publication, festival information for 2023 is not available. Follow the Garden’s Cherrywatch for the latest info and to time your visit for peak bloom. The Garden’s grounds are a beautiful place for strolling and snapping Instagrammable cherry blossom photos!
SheBuysTravel Tip: Arrive early in the day or late in the afternoon (last admission is at 5:30 p.m.) to avoid crowds.
Other NYC Cherry Blossom Festivals
Popular locations for cherry blossom festivals in NYC are listed below with event information available at time of publication:
- 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 2023 info.
- Flushing Meadows Corona Park – Site of two World’s Fairs
- Roosevelt Island – Take the Tramway for a bird’s eye view of NYC and the cherry blossom trees along the East River walkway.
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 18 – April 23, 2023.
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.
FREE Places to See Cherry Blossoms in New York City
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 a number of different FREE locations in the park:
- 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.
If you’d like to know more about the Central Park cherry blossoms, the Central Park Conservancy conducts guided Cherry Blossoms on the Reservoir Tours on select dates in April. Tickets are $35 for non-members.
Sign up for the Park’s weekly newsletter to stay posted about all the pretty in pink happenings.
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.
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.
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. Pre-Covid, guides conducted Flowering Tree and Shrub walks in the spring. Check the website for 2023 information.
Silver Lake and Clove Lakes Parks
Silver Lake Park was designed as Staten Island’s version of Central Park. It’s got 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
- What’s the best time to see the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.?
- Escape the crowds and check out Philly’s fantastic cherry blossoms!
- More US and international destinations for cherry blossoms!
Thank you for this article. Where is the top photo taken of the weeping cherry blossom by the water taken by Judy Antell?
Where are the cherry blossoms on Roosevelt Island?
Cathy Bennett Kopf says
Along the East River walkway. They’re beautiful, but go early. The island gets crowded.
avelina lapastora says
New York is lock down right now. Can we still visit Central Park to see the cherry blossoms ?