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How do you know winter’s over and spring has sprung? If you’re a baseball fan, spring training means you can put away your snow shovel. Got kids? Then winter’s over when you’ve finalized your spring break vacation plans. Others welcome in longer days and warmer weather by celebrating spring blooms, especially the annual flowering of pretty in pink cherry blossom trees. Here are some of the top US and international cherry blossom spots so you can get your bloom on.
Big Three US Cherry Blossom Cities: Washington DC, Philly and NYC
The center of the US cherry blossom universe is the East Coast. True blossom heads can travel with the blooms from the nation’s capital to the Big Apple. Washington DC hosts the biggest (and most crowded) cherry blossom festival. The city’s monuments and buildings look particularly lovely framed by the pink branches.
Philadelphia has a number of cherry blossoms spots only the locals know; you can find all the info here. Be sure to pack a cheesesteak sandwich (or two) for your picnic.
New York City
Cherry blossom season in New York City is laidback. Wander around Central Park for a petal shower. Or head to the New York Botanical Garden. The annual Orchid Show coincides with cherry blossom season so you can enjoy a two-fer.
Michigan’s Cherry Blossoms
It makes sense that the “Cherry Capital of the World” would have an amazing cherry blossom bloom season, right? The floral display in Traverse City, located on Lake Michigan in the northwest corner of the state, begins in May.
You’ll find trees in bloom along Front Street in downtown Traverse City. Or head out for a scenic drive along the Old Mission Peninsula. Designate a driver and combine your cherry blossom hunt with stops at some of the area’s terrific wineries.
The Meijer Gardens are a must-see when visiting Grand Rapids. Besides the beautiful plant exhibits and charming children’s garden, the grounds are dotted with monumental sculptures. But in spring, the art takes a back seat to the flowering cherry tree display in the Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden.
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Read More: Best Resorts in Michigan for Family Fun
California Cherry Blossom Spots
The City by the Bay is home to one of the three remaining Japantowns in the US. So they take cherry blossom season seriously. Check out the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, a celebration of Asian traditions scheduled for April 8-9 and April 15-16. Can’t make the fest? You can also find cherry blossoms at the 5-acre Japanese Tea Garden in Golden State Park, the oldest public Japanese tea garden in the US.
Cherry blossom season in LA is long and lovely, stretching from February to May. Here are the top spots to catch the pale pink blooms:
- Lake Balboa, the popular lake and picnic spot in the San Fernando Valley
- Descanso Gardens, a beautiful oasis nestled in the La Cañada Flintridge area.
- Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
Torrance has held its Cherry Blossom festival since 2011, at Columbia Park where there are over 110 cherry blossom trees. First created as a way offer comfort to the community after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that year, the event has become a way to celebrate and promote diversity and togetherness. The 2023 festival will be held on March 26th from 11am to 4pm and includes performances and demonstrations as well as food trucks and a craft fair. The public is invited to bring blankets to sit and picnic on under the blossoms.
Balboa Park is one of the top spots to visit in San Diego. In March, its Japanese Friendship Garden springs to life when the cherry blossom trees bloom. The Garden’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 10-12.
Tulips and Cherry Blossoms in Dallas
Go big or stay home. Dallas hosts Dallas Blooms, the largest annual floral festival in the Southwest. You’ll see more than 125 Japanese cherry trees blossom paired with impressive tulip displays (350,000). Blooms will be open from February 25 to April 16, 2023. Check out an abundance of music performances, food and events throughout the garden.
Read More: Top Dallas Museums for Kids
Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
If you truly want to experience a traditional hanami (cherry blossom viewing), you’ll want to visit Japan. It’s on my bucket list. Is it on yours? It’s definitely one of the iconic flower/destination pairings, like tulips in the Netherlands and bluebonnets in Texas.
Here are the top spots in Japan for cherry blossom celebrations.
Slip into a yukata (summer kimono) and stroll through town to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Kinosaki. Or relax in the public hot springs (onsen) and watch as the pink petals float to the ground. Enjoy the cherry blossom bloom from early to mid-April in this Otani River town.
Kyoto’s cherry blossom season begins in late March and runs through the beginning of April. Celebrate in traditional style. Find the biggest and prettiest cherry blossom tree, spread out a blanket and savor tasty picnic treats. Where can you find the Kyoto trees? Head to one of these top spots:
- Maruyama-koen Park, where locals and visitors pack the area
- Kamo-gawa Riverbanks
- Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace Park).
- Kyoto Botanical Gardens is a favorite of many locals
Want to be the early bird with the first cherry blossom pics on Instagram? head to Shizuoka. Their Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the earliest blooming cherry trees in eastern Japan. The festival, which runs from February 2 to the end of the month, is incredibly popular with visitors who have had enough of winter. If the daytime glory of the cherry blossom trees isn’t enough for you, the trees are lit up in the evening with beautiful illuminations.
Canadian Cherry Blossoms in Victoria
Possibly the longest cherry blossom bloom season can be found in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Victoria, the capital city, has a mild climate so you can catch the amazing floral display from February through May.
After checking out the shops and restaurants along View Street, head to the city’s gorgeous Butchart Gardens. You’ll have a year’s worth of pix to share on Instagram!
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.