Top 15 Places to See Cherry Blossom Festivals and Spring Wildflowers Near Boston

Boston is in bloom. Rain Garden photo by Anthony Crisafulli, courtesy of rosekennedygreenway.org.
Boston is in bloom. Rain Garden photo by Anthony Crisafulli, courtesy of rosekennedygreenway.org.

Stop and smell the… Cherry Blossoms! That’s what we’re saying this time of year, when winter is clearing out and we’re all itching to get outside to see some spring flowers. In Boston and the greater Northeast, there are tons of places to check out nature’s colorful, phenomenal beauty. 

Wildflowers, roses, and of course, cherry blossoms, are both local and popular tourist attractions for all to see. Our friends to the south, in NYC, have cherry blossom locations all over the city. Even further down the coast, there’s the National Cherry Blossom Festival in our nation’s capital.  

In Boston proper, you can even sign up for garden tours, like the South End Garden Tour and the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill tour for informed visits. And, to create a hands-on experience for the whole family, head over to a local farm to handpick wildflowers and other species. Take them home, put them in a vase, and enjoy the natural fragrance for days to come.

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Boston

This photo shows cherry blossoms in Boston Public Garden. 
Cherry blossoms make a return to Boston Public Garden. Photo courtesy of the Greater Boston Convention Center

1. Public Garden – Downtown

A visit to the Public Garden is a trip back in time, a historic adventure. This garden is actually the very first public botanical garden in the United States, established in 1837. The cherry blossoms are particularly beautiful in this downtown oasis. Between the Public Garden and Boston Common park space, there are 27 different species of blossoming cherry trees. These include Kwanzan, Sargent, and Yoshino cherry. While you're taking in the flowering sights, pay a visit to Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings as the kids get excited for upcoming Duckling Day.

2. Charles River Esplanade – Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End

This 3-mile-long stretch of green space and trails offers much for the eye to see, including the pink hues of cherry blossom trees. Whether you're out for a stroll along the Charles River or off at a brisk run with the family dog, pause for a moment to enjoy the flowering trees above. And if you need an even lengthier pause, there are 3 playgrounds along the Esplanade. Each of them has different play structures for kids to enjoy. The Stoneman playground is a great option if you have younger kids–it has a specific play area geared towards toddlers.

3. St. Leonard’s Church Peace Garden – North End

Nestled on the cozy corner of Prince and Hanover Streets, this church garden has become a key part of the local community. It's a perfect place to wander after you've enjoyed a delicious Italian meal and a cup of gelato in Little Italy. The Magnolia trees are especially lovely in this garden. The church also has an Annual Peace Garden Fund through which donors can help support maintenance and revitalization. Each donation level is named after a beautiful flowering tree or plant.  

This photo shows cherry blossoms in Boston's Arnold Arboretum. 
Cherry blossoms bring vibrant color to Boston this spring. Photo courtesy of the Arnold Arboretum

4. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University – Jamaica Plain

Open every day and free to the public, the Arnold Arboretum is a must-see on a cherry blossom tour of Boston. You'll also catch a glimpse of magnolia blossoms and fragrant lilacs a bit later in the season. Plan a visit for the 112th annual Lilac Sunday event on May 8 to experience hundreds of lilacs in all their glory.

Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms Near Boston

5. Cherry Blossom Festival – New Haven, CT

Looking for a long-weekend adventure? Look no further than the 48th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in New Haven. A quick 2-hour drive from Boston, this is a popular spring festival in New England. This year, there will be live music groups and food trucks to add to the celebration. 

6. Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival – Pawtucket and Central Falls

The festival spans across Pawtucket and Central Falls with cherry blossoms to see on Roosevelt Avenue. At past festivals, there were events such as a carnival, tree planting, and multiple distance running races. Update for 2022: it is currently unclear if this festival is taking place. However, we wanted to make sure it was on your list because even if it's not, the cherry blossoms will be there for you to enjoy on your own.

This image shows the cherry blossom festival in Washington DC. 
The National Cherry Blosson Festival brings natural fireworks to the capital. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

7. National Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington, DC

Probably the most famous cherry blossom festival in the country, this one is definitely worth a trip south at least once in your lifetime. This year's festival has many events and celebrations to enjoy. The opening ceremony (currently sold out) pays tribute to the long-standing relationship between Japan and the USA. Events are happening from March 5 through April 28 and include a parade, art exhibitions, and a kite festival. Be sure to check out Petalpalooza for family-friendly activities and fireworks at the end of the evening.

Best Places to See Wildflowers in Boston

8. Rose Kennedy Greenway – Downtown, Waterfront, North End

The sweeping green park spans a great distance throughout Boston. There's so much to take in here that you'll want to come back again and again. In addition to the carousel, food trucks, and fountains, the wildflowers are truly breathtaking and a must-see. If you're not sure where to start, head to the Greenway Meadow–a wildflower meadow in the heart of the big city. 

9. Jamaica Pond – Jamaica Plain

Part of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, this park is full of natural beauty that inspired Frederick Law Olmsted. Take a hike on the paths surrounding the pond and soak in the natural sights, including wildflowers and multiple species of birds.

10. Back Bay Fens – Fenway, Kenmore

Back Bay Fens is also a part of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. Here, you'll find many community gardens alongside landscaped ones, both of which provide blooms for wildflower gazing. If you're in the mood for even more flowers, the Kelleher Rose Garden is a great place to stop and smell them.

Best Places to See Wildflowers Near Boston

11. Garden in the Woods – Framingham

Reopening for the spring season on April 17, this garden oasis is tucked away off of U.S. Route 20. It's exactly as its name states: a garden in the woods. You'll be surrounded by native plant species and truly feel you've escaped all parts of urban life. You can also purchase plants to take home. There are different prices and guidelines for members vs. non-members, so be sure to check out the website before you go.

This image shows children running through the spring greenery of Tower Hill Gardens. 
Get out and see the wildflowers in Boston. Photo courtesy of the Tower Hill Botanic Garden

12. Tower Hill Botanic Garden – Boylston

Frolic on the grounds of this beautiful Botanic Garden west of Boston. For an admission fee (children age 3 and under are free), you can visit the grounds and gardens, enjoying the vast array of flowers and plants. Drop by the on-site cafe, Farmer and the Fork, for lunch or an afternoon pick-me-up... a chocolate chip cookie?

13. Hanson’s Farm – Framingham

You may have visited this farm during the pumpkin-picking season, but did you know they have a plot of land dedicated to wildflowers? You can cut your own and take them home for lasting memories. Enjoy the farm stand produce and pay a visit to the farm animals, including sheep, horses, and chickens.

14. Wellesley College Botanic Gardens – Wellesley

Take the whole family on a college visit. This one has its own botanical garden! Currently, the outdoor gardens are open to the public, while the indoor spaces and greenhouses remain closed. You'll interact with different species of plants and trees, including flowering trees. Make sure to stop by the butterfly garden.

This photo shows a woman carrying tulips through Cider Hill Farm's Tulip Festival. 
Springtime fills Greater Boston with wildflowers and tulip festivals. Photo courtesy of Cider Hill Farm, Facebook

15. Cider Hill Farm – Amesbury 

Journey north to visit Cider Hill Farm and see all it has to offer. There are animals to feed, a play space, a farm store, and more. If you want to try the Tulip Fest, they recommend coming from the last week of April through the middle of May. They planted 100,000 tulip bulbs in preparation for picking, so no need to fly to Amsterdam this year; there are plenty of tulips in Massachusetts!

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