After NYC’s (normally) brutal and gray winters, we can always look forward to the blooming cherry blossoms to brighten up the city come springtime.
Typically, the first blooms tend to show along the west side of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. More are expected to be seen by late March and early April.
That said, once more trees begin blooming, you’ll be able to spot the beautifully pink and white cherry blossoms all throughout the city. You can keep an eye on the sakura (the Japanese name for it) through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s “Cherry Watch” and the NYBG “Cherry Blossom Tracker.”
Right now, you can begin planning where to enjoy the spectacular flowers for when the time comes at the best spots to see cherry blossoms around NYC that we’ve listed below. And when they do start appearing, be sure to head over quick, because the trees only stay in bloom for about a week.
1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn
The garden used to host an annual Sakura Matsuri Festival, but unfortunately the event has been canceled the past few years since the pandemic. Still, you can feel free to visit the garden the weeks leading up to mid-April (when the festival normally occurred) to admire the pink cherry trees at your leisure. You can even track the cherry blossoms blooming online with their Cherry Watch.
2. Central Park, Manhattan
You don’t have to pay to see the cherry blossoms in Central Park! As it begins to warm up head over to the park with a good book or a little picnic and make yourself comfortable under one of these vibrant trees.
3. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is the largest park in Queens, and a wonderful place to stroll through cherry trees in the springtime.
4. New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx
The NYBG has a cherry tracker that’s yet to be updated for this season, but once it is, it’s perfect for people who want to know the status of the blossoms before making the trek out. Once blossoming, a large amount of the trees can be found on the curving path in the Cherry Collection, but you’ll also find them in the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum and in front of of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.
5. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
If there’s ever a reason to visit a cemetery on a whim, this is it. The historic Green-Wood Cemetery makes for an eerie backdrop to the gorgeous blossoming trees—a magical juxtaposition.
6. Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
At the 39-acre garden, cherry trees can be found lining the curved walkways.
7. Randall’s Island Park, Manhattan
Randall’s Island Park used to have an annual cherry blossom festival at the end of April that took place with fun crafts and activities. While no confirmation of its return has been made for this year, you should definitely stop by at any point in April.
8. Roosevelt Island, Manhattan
Again, Roosevelt Island’s Cherry Blossom festival has been cancelled each year since the pandemic, but it’s another stunning location to see cherry blossoms in NYC! Nothing like fresh blooms along the water, with gorgeous skyline views of the east side of Manhattan.
9. Riverside Park, Manhattan
Riverside Park normally sees its first blooms of the Okame cherry trees in late March, so keep a close eye the next time you’re on a run or lovely stroll through the park this month.
10. Rainey Park, Queens
This Astoria park is lined with stunning cherry blossom trees along the waterfront. Take a peaceful stroll along the path and admire them for yourself once they bloom!
11. Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Cherry blossoms are best seen lining the paved pathway through Long Meadow.
12. Grace Church, Manhattan
This church looks absolutely magical in the springtime! Full of lively blooms and bright colors, one of the most spectacular sights to see are the cherry blossoms on the lawn. It’s a great spot to view the magnolias as well!
13. Little Island, Manhattan
Catch the cherry blossoms among other colorful spring blooms on NYC’s only floating park!
14. Sakura Park, Manhattan
Find tons of blossoming trees in Sakura Park in Morningside Heights. Photo tip: locate the Riverside Church and angle your shot with it’s beautiful architecture framed in pink petals!
15. Madison Square Park, Manhattan
There’s nothing like picking up a bagel on a spring morning and heading to Madison Square Park to admire the cherry blossoms surrounding the park’s perimeter.
16. Hunter’s Point South Park, Queens
Yoshino cherry trees line the waterfront park each spring and only adds to the already magical backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. They’re normally in peak bloom around early April at this park.
Also published on Medium.