cherry blossoms nyc

The Cherry Esplanade at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. (Lightphoto/Getty Images)

Much like upstate’s fall frenzy of leaf-peeping season, the spring blooms of cherry trees around town are also a popular annual ritual. And while these flowering beauties can be seen across the city, the big annual event goes down in Brooklyn. Every April, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden holds a two-day festival filled with arts, culture, food and activities and of course, a stroll amid the grounds where these glorious buds are on full display.

All About the Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The 2019 Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the BBG. Tickets can be purchased for $30 here with discounted rates for members, seniors, students, and children under the age of 12. Festival events range from traditional taiko drumming and tea ceremonies to folk dance and martial arts displays to performances by indie rock and jazz bands. But don’t worry. If you can’t make the festival, the blossoms will be on display from April to mid-May with regular admission to the park.

Track the Blooms With the Cherry Watch Map!

If you want to time your visit perfectly, you can check out the status of the blooms thanks to the garden’s handy cherry blossom tracker (below).

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Watch map gets regularly updated to provide the blooming status of the garden’s cherry trees.

Each tree is mapped in the park and is updated as it blooms so you can pick the optimal time to go. Most trees are located around the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and along the Cherry Esplanade. There are 26 varieties of flowering trees on display at the park, but be aware that not all the trees will peak at the same time.

Brooklyn Renters Under $2,800 a Month Article continues below

What is Sakura Matsuri?

In Japanese, the word “sakura” means cherry blossom and “matsuri” translates to festival, so it literally translates to cherry blossom festival. And not only is the cherry blossom Japan’s national flower, but the tradition of cherry blossom viewing or hanami goes back centuries. Families and friends share food and drinks under the trees as a way to mark the beginning of spring. The bloomed flowers also serve as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life as they only last for roughly a week.

cherry blossoms NYC

Pink cherry blossoms in Central Park (Cornelis Verwaal/Getty Images)

Other Places to See Cherry Blossoms in NYC

  • New York Botanical Garden: This botanical garden has its own cherry blossom tracker so enthusiasts can pick the optimal time to visit. There’s more than 200 cherry trees spread across the garden. Visitors can view them along the cherry collection path, an additional row in front of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and among the evergreens in the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum.
  • Sakura Park: This uptown park lives up to its name from a portion of the 2,000 cherry trees that were gifted to NYC parks in 1912 from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York. The park is located on West 122nd Street and Riverside Drive, across from Riverside Church.
  • Riverside Park Cherry Walk: Enjoy four miles of cherry trees planted along a pedestrian path adjacent to the Hudson River.
  • Roosevelt Island: Cherry blossoms in full bloom are pretty hard to beat, but on Roosevelt Island, you can kick the scenery up a notch with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop.
  • Central Park: According to the website, the highest concentration of cherry trees are around the Reservoir, Cherry Hill, Pilgrim Hill, Great Lawn, Cedar Hill, and the area just south of Cedar Hill between 74th and 77th Streets. You can check out the trees dotting the reservoir solo, or take a 90-minute guided tour.
  • Flushing Meadows Corona Park: While not as big at Brooklyn’s festival, Queens will hold its 15th annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free event features taiko drummers, a tea ceremony, plus traditional Japanese chorus.

Manhattan Rentals Under $2,800 a Month Article continues below

Got an interesting NYC real estate story or a hot tip? Send it to us at (You will remain anonymous.) And hey, why not like StreetEasy on Facebook and follow @streeteasy on Instagram?