Find Cherry Blossoms in NYC: Cherry Blossom Festivals and Where to See the Blooms
Viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms in New York City is one of the most delightful rites of spring. In Japan, cherry blossom viewing is taken to almost religious heights. Blooming flowers are carefully watched, enjoyed, and celebrated. Traditional Sakura Hanami parties feature eating, drinking, and music.
There are many places to enjoy these gorgeous cherry blossoms this spring, and take note—the cherry blossoms are bursting to life earlier than usual. Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City this spring. Find more seasonal happenings in our Spring Fun Guide.
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Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Manhattan and the Bronx
Randall's Island – Randall's Island
Randall's Island's annual cherry blossom festival takes place as part of its Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 22. Families can enjoy activities including face painting, science projects, crafts, lawn games, and performances by the Japanese Folk Dance Institute. Enjoy a cherry blossom tour courtesy of an expert horticulturist who leads a guided tour of the beautiful blossoms around the Urban Farm and in the Cottage Garden.
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Riverside Park Cherry Walk – Morningside Heights
Riverside Park has its own Sakura Park with a beautiful cherry walk featuring trees gifted by the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York. These were given decades ago in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton's steam-power demonstration on the Hudson and the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the river. The cherry blossoms are located between 100th and 125th streets.
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Roosevelt Island gets covered with a petal floor. Photo courtesy of Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival
Roosevelt Island – Roosevelt Island
Take the tram or F train from Manhattan or the bus from Queens to enjoy the beautiful blooms all along the East River walkway, then stick around and explore the rest of the isle.
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More than 200 cherry trees are scattered throughout the New York Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of NYBG
New York Botanical Garden – Bronx Park, the Bronx
NYBG's Cherry Valley doesn't get a fest, but the cherry blossoms at this Bronx institution are still sweet. There are more cherry blossoms scattered throughout the Ross Conifer Arboretum, too. Although advance tickets are not required, it's a good idea to book your tickets ahead of time. Check the cherry blossom tracker to pick the best time to visit. While you're there, don't forget to visit the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, and The Edible Academy. Of course, The Orchid Show is on view through Sunday, April 23, too.
Little Island – Meatpacking District
Spring is a sight to behold on Little Island. Visitors can view the stunning Akebono Yoshino cherry trees alongside 66,000 blooming spring bulbs, including daffodils, tulips, and lilies.
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Picnic under the cherry blossoms in Central Park. Photo courtesy of Ayumi Sakamoto
Central Park – Upper West Side
Central Park is a great place to view cherry blossoms and have a picnic, plus visit the Central Park Zoo, a destination playground, or a museum. Some of the best cherry blossom viewing sites are on the bridle path at 90th Street, the East Drive at 66th Street, the east side of the boathouse at 74th Street, and Cherry Hill, mid-park at 72nd Street just west of Bethesda Terrace. Be sure to bookmark the Central Park Conservancy's Cherry Blossom Tracker to perfectly time your visit.
Pelham Bay Park – Pelham, the Bronx
Coming in at triple the size of Central Park, many people don't know Pelham Bay Park is the city's largest park. The space features a lovely collection of Yoshino cherry blossoms; head to the City Island Bridge to find them. Just over the bridge lies City Island—a mini-getaway complete with museums, ice cream, and delicious seafood restaurants.
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Visit the Queens Botanical Garden's Cherry Circle. Photo courtesy of the garden
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Queens
Queens Botanical Garden Cherry Circle – Flushing
While the Queens Botanical Garden does not have special events for sakura, it does have the beautiful Cherry Circle, where you'll find cherry blossom trees planted along a winding path and bursting with blooms each spring.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park – Flushing
Take in a spring day at this expansive park and enjoy the cherry blossoms adorning the areas surrounding the Queens Museum and the Queens Theatre. For the most picturesque views, head west on the promenade toward the Unisphere.
Rainey Park – Long Island City
Head to this sweet neighborhood hidden gem which comes to life in the spring with Okame cherry trees blossoming all along the promenade. The Kwanzan cherry blossoms on the lawns follow suit a bit later in the season.
Hunter's Point South Park – Long Island City
If Yoshino cherry trees with their pale pink cherry blossoms maturing into white clusters are your thing, this is the place for you. This special variety of cherry blossoms blooms around the park's oval which also boasts stellar views of the Manhattan skyline. This little park packs in a lot of features including a central green, playgrounds, adult fitness equipment, a dog run, a bikeway, a waterside promenade, picnic terraces, and a basketball court.
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Wander the paths under the cover of cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Photo by Diana Kim
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Prospect Heights
The BBG has the most well-known collection of cherry blossoms in the city. Though its wildly popular, two-day Japanese Sakura Matsuri festival is on hold again this year, the garden is spreading out many of the same performances and events, over four Weekends in Bloom from Saturday, April 22-Sunday, May 14.
The garden is offering extended hours and outdoor programs during the cherry blossom season. Track the blossoms online to perfectly time your visit to the garden's famous Cherry Blossom Esplanade.
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The Green-Wood Cemetery has gorgeous blooms and amazing views. Photo by Amy Nieporent
Green-Wood Cemetery – Greenwood Heights
Though it may not be on your radar for cherry blossom viewing, this 478-acre cemetery boasts more than 170 blossoming cherry trees of various varieties. Guests can stroll the many winding paths to admire the extensive collection of cherry blossoms.
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms on Staten Island
Silver Lake Park – Staten Island
We didn't want to neglect Staten Island, and if you make the trek there for some cherry blossom viewing, you won't be disappointed. The many Kwanzan cherry blossoms bloom alongside sweet crabapples and plenty of red maple trees. Cool fact: The lake—which is the natural centerpiece of the park—was an inspiration for renowned poet Audre Lorde and her name now graces signage in the park.
This article was originally published in April 2012 and is updated annually. Rosalind Muggeridge contributed additional reporting.