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The Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Photo by Antonio M. Rosario/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Where to see cherry blossoms in NYC

For a brief, fleeting moment every spring, cherry trees blanket the city in vibrant shades of pink

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The Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
| Photo by Antonio M. Rosario/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Spring is arguably the prettiest season in New York City, thanks to the proliferations of flora around the city, whether it’s small sidewalk gardens on side streets or towering crabapple and magnolia trees in city parks.

And for a brief, fleeting period—about four weeks, starting in late March or early April—parts of the city explode in vibrant shades of pink, as flowering cherry trees bloom. New York’s cherry blossoms may not inspire the same level of fervor as the ones in Washington D.C. (though even those are now apparently endangered), but they’re quite popular all the same—particularly at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, which holds its annual Sakura Matsuri festival every April.

So where can you see these beautiful blooms in NYC? There are spots in every borough—here are some of the best places to spot cherry blossoms.

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Roosevelt Island

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The yearly cherry blossom celebrations at Roosevelt Island, happening at Four Freedoms Park, Southpoint, and other locations, began in 2011 as a fundraising effort for those affected by the devastating tsunami that hit Japan that year. But it’s since become a neighborhood tradition with performances, a tea ceremony, and picnics. This year, the festivities will include a community folk dance lesson, as well as performances by the IchiFuji-kai Dance Association and RIJA Yosakoi Dancers.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

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There are a few spots within Central Park where you can see cherry blossoms, but there’s a particularly high concentration around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which is also an excellent spot for a springtime stroll. Take a tour on April 13 to learn more about the flowering trees.

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Cherry Walk

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Riverside Park’s Cherry Walk stretches along the Hudson River from 100th to 125th street. The 700 trees planted in the park were a gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York in 1909—and some of those were also planted in Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin.

Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks Department

New York Botanical Garden

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There are more than 200 flowering cherry trees planted throughout the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden, which reach their peak sometime in April. (NYBG has its own cherry tracker so you can see how close its collection is to full flower.) The Cherry Collection, located close to the East Gate, has a large number of trees, but you can also spot some on Daffodil Hill, pictured here.

Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden

Lewis Howard Latimer House Museum

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Flushing’s Lewis Latimer House Museum has its own cherry garden that will be open for free during blossom season, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays during regular museum hours. While you’re there, tour the house itself, which was built in the late 1800s and the home of African-American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer from 1903 until 1928. It’s now part of the Historic House Trust.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

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The cherry trees at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are blooming at the former World Fair’s site, adorning the areas surrounding the Unisphere, the Queens Museum, and the Queens Theatre. Organized by the Japanese American Association of New York, this year’s Sakura Matsuri festival will include a tea ceremony demonstration, Hanagasa Ondo parade, and Japanese drums performance.

Queens Botanical Garden

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Head to Flushing, where the Cherry Circle at the Queens Botanical Garden—located near its entrance at Main Street—will soon be covered in colorful flowers.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom collection, clustered around the Cherry Esplanade and Walk near the garden’s Eastern Parkway entrance, is deservedly famous—there are more than 20 species of flowering cherry tree to be found throughout the green space. The garden tracks the blooms’ progress on its website every spring, and the season culminates in the annual Sakura Matsuri festival, a celebration of Japanese culture and the arrival of spring.

Photo by Antonio M. Rosario/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Silver Lake Park Road

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According to the city parks department, the north side of Silver Lake—located within this expansive Staten Island Park—has lots of blooming cherry and crabapple trees.

NYC Parks Department

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

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At the Snug Harbor Cultural Center’s New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden—one of two authentic classical Chinese gardens in the country, according to its website—there are cherry trees but also redbuds; magnolia, jasmine, and mahonia flowers. Fun fact: in the garden’s upper pavilion, there is a mosaic built off rice bowl broken pieces, representing China, and broken beer bottles, representing the U.S.

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Roosevelt Island

The yearly cherry blossom celebrations at Roosevelt Island, happening at Four Freedoms Park, Southpoint, and other locations, began in 2011 as a fundraising effort for those affected by the devastating tsunami that hit Japan that year. But it’s since become a neighborhood tradition with performances, a tea ceremony, and picnics. This year, the festivities will include a community folk dance lesson, as well as performances by the IchiFuji-kai Dance Association and RIJA Yosakoi Dancers.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Shutterstock

There are a few spots within Central Park where you can see cherry blossoms, but there’s a particularly high concentration around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which is also an excellent spot for a springtime stroll. Take a tour on April 13 to learn more about the flowering trees.

Shutterstock

Cherry Walk

Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks Department

Riverside Park’s Cherry Walk stretches along the Hudson River from 100th to 125th street. The 700 trees planted in the park were a gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York in 1909—and some of those were also planted in Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin.

Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks Department

New York Botanical Garden

Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden

There are more than 200 flowering cherry trees planted throughout the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden, which reach their peak sometime in April. (NYBG has its own cherry tracker so you can see how close its collection is to full flower.) The Cherry Collection, located close to the East Gate, has a large number of trees, but you can also spot some on Daffodil Hill, pictured here.

Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden

Lewis Howard Latimer House Museum

Flushing’s Lewis Latimer House Museum has its own cherry garden that will be open for free during blossom season, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays during regular museum hours. While you’re there, tour the house itself, which was built in the late 1800s and the home of African-American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer from 1903 until 1928. It’s now part of the Historic House Trust.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The cherry trees at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park are blooming at the former World Fair’s site, adorning the areas surrounding the Unisphere, the Queens Museum, and the Queens Theatre. Organized by the Japanese American Association of New York, this year’s Sakura Matsuri festival will include a tea ceremony demonstration, Hanagasa Ondo parade, and Japanese drums performance.

Queens Botanical Garden

Head to Flushing, where the Cherry Circle at the Queens Botanical Garden—located near its entrance at Main Street—will soon be covered in colorful flowers.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Photo by Antonio M. Rosario/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossom collection, clustered around the Cherry Esplanade and Walk near the garden’s Eastern Parkway entrance, is deservedly famous—there are more than 20 species of flowering cherry tree to be found throughout the green space. The garden tracks the blooms’ progress on its website every spring, and the season culminates in the annual Sakura Matsuri festival, a celebration of Japanese culture and the arrival of spring.

Photo by Antonio M. Rosario/Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Silver Lake Park Road

NYC Parks Department

According to the city parks department, the north side of Silver Lake—located within this expansive Staten Island Park—has lots of blooming cherry and crabapple trees.

NYC Parks Department

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

At the Snug Harbor Cultural Center’s New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden—one of two authentic classical Chinese gardens in the country, according to its website—there are cherry trees but also redbuds; magnolia, jasmine, and mahonia flowers. Fun fact: in the garden’s upper pavilion, there is a mosaic built off rice bowl broken pieces, representing China, and broken beer bottles, representing the U.S.