The best places to see cherry blossoms in the United States (if you can’t go to Japan)
You don’t have to travel overseas to see some of the world’s most beautiful trees in all their springtime glory.
Each year, the cherry blossoms impress and inspire us with their perfectly pink petals and graceful beauty. In Japan, the cherry blossom is called Sakura and its meaning has everything to do with the ephemeral duration of these flowers. Resonating with the feeling of how fleeting life is, it is customary to gather under a cherry blossom tree to celebrate life rather than mourn its quick existence. Although this tradition is not usual in other parts of the world, people still gather to witness the annual bloom of these trees as they captivate the public with their beauty.
You don’t need to book a flight to Japan to see these magnificent trees, and they exist in places in the United States where conditions are ideal. However, their ephemeral nature is still true for trees no matter where they are located – so if you are planning a trip, be sure to do so between March and May of each year to make sure you can see them.
Japanese tea garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
Those who admire San Francisco can add the Golden Gate Park Japanese Tea Garden to their list of places to visit. Not only is it a beautiful park in general, but during the months of March and April it is also home to many cherry blossoms.
These trees bloom intensely around the park’s historic pagodas and bridges, and the tea house is at the center of it all. Visitors won’t be in Japan, but they will certainly get a chance to feel like they are there, especially with the highlight of the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival coinciding with the blossoms.
University of Washington Quad, Seattle, WA
You don’t have to be a University of Washington student to appreciate what quad biking is like in the spring. This captivating landscape doesn’t even look like a college campus once dozens of trees are in bloom, and its ethereal nature is both calming and awe-inspiring.
Many branches hang over the trails as visitors feel like walking through a pink and white tunnel, and it’s an experience University of Washington students expect at the end of every winter.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, NY
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is quite famous for its cherry blossom display which is in full bloom during the months of April and May. The trees here are so popular that the garden has gone so far as to extend their spring hours for everyone to enjoy since they passed May.
Visitors will find over 200 rows of cherry blossoms here which are typically celebrated with an annual festival called Sakura Matsuri (which was canceled in 2021), celebrating Japanese culture, food and music.
The National Mall, Washington, DC
Perhaps one of the most famous places in the United States to see cherry blossoms is the National Mall, where thousands of trees start to bloom in March. These were given as gifts to the United States in 1912 by the mayor of Tokyo, symbolizing the friendship between the two countries.
The reflections of the trees along the water create a stunning visual effect and those who want to avoid (most) the crowds can head to Dumbarton Oaks, which is not far away. The best time to view the trees at the National Mall is at night, when most of the crowds have come and gone, and it’s a bit quieter overall.
Ohio University, Athens, OH
Athens, Ohio, is home to 200 cherry blossom trees donated by Chubu University, the college’s sister campus. This seems to be a common thread with the gift of cherry blossoms as they symbolize friendship and lifelong unions, and that’s exactly what this gift was meant to inspire.
Ohio University students also look forward to their blooming each year, with great anxiousness to wander through each row of gorgeous pink blossoms.
Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA
The Charles River Esplanade is unique in that it is accessible by both land and water. Each year the cherry blossoms along this monument bloom in the spring and people come from all over the area on foot or by kayak and canoe to see them.
Not only are the cherry blossoms a sight to behold, the entire area provides a stunning backdrop, also attracting many photographers each year. With few places in Boston capable of sheltering these beautiful trees, this is a springtime destination worthy of those in the area.
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