Cherry Blossoms in NYC: When and Where to See Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) in New York City
Wondering where to find the best cherry blossoms in New York City this spring? This cherry blossoms guide not only shows you where to find the best cherry blossoms but also when is the best time to see cherry blossoms in New York City.
Whether you live in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn (or even New Jersey), there are cherry blossoms in your borough (and state).
I made it a mission to check out the most popular parks and neighborhoods for cherry blossoms these past two years, so I can give you a comprehensive list of best places to find cherry blossoms in New York City this spring. I will also continue to find more places every year so stay tuned!
Not all cherry blossoms bloom at the same time, so this blog also tells you when to see what cherry blossoms in New York City so you don’t have to waste your time visiting a park when nothing is blooming (or worse, post peak bloom).
Looking for fun seasonal things to do in NYC?
In the past few years, I’ve been going all around New York City and Long Island to check out fun things to do every season as well as family friendly things to do.
What Types of Cherry Blossoms are There in New York City?
You may have seen white and dark pink cherry blossom flowers all over New York City in the spring, and yes you are right, there are different types of cherry blossom trees in NYC: Okame Cherry, Yoshino Cherry, Kwanzan Cherry. You will also see Higan Cherry and Black Cherry at Central Park and potentially other parts of New York City.
The Black Cherry trees produce small white flowers that appear at the end of April or May. They are not as spectacular in my opinion so this article will not focus on them.
Besides cherry blossoms, there are other beautiful flowers blooming in the spring, such as Eastern Redbud and magnolias. In particular magnolias are spectacular with their large white and pink petals, making them just as beautiful to photograph.
When do Cherry Blossoms Bloom in New York City?
End of March to mid April is the best time to see cherry blossoms and magnolias in New York City. The different types of cherry blossoms and other flowers actually bloom at different times in the spring.
- Okame Cherry: The flowers are small and rosy pink; they last longer than other cherry blossoms. They bloom earlier than other flowers, usually around late March (or mid March if the winter has been warm).
- Yoshino Cherry: The flowers are white or light pink, they are one of the most commonly seen cherry blossoms in New York City. They bloom early April.
- Kwanzan Cherry: The flowers of Kwanzan Cherry are dark pink and vibrant. They bloom last in New York City during cherry blossom season, usually around mid April.
- Higan Cherry: Higan Cherry trees produce small white to pale pink flowers and they generally bloom around the end of March.
- Magnolias: These beautiful flowers can range from white, pink or even yellow. Some bloom starting mid March to early April and there are other ones that bloom later in April and even into May. They generally bloom before cherry blossoms.
Keep in mind that the timeframe above is an estimate. Exact time of peak bloom will vary every year, depending on how warm/cold the winter has been. So timing could be off by 1-2 weeks.
How Long Do Cherry Blossoms Last?
In general, peak cherry blossoms in New York City last about 1-2 weeks, depending on a variety of factors. If the weather is cold, windy, or rains a lot, then you can expect peak bloom to last one week. But if the weather is warm and calm, then peak bloom can last a few days more.
Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in New York City
This section will show you the best cherry blossoms viewing spots in New York City, broken up by the different boroughs, so regardless of where you live, you can find something near you.
Best Cherry Blossoms in Brooklyn
Below are some of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is perhaps the most well known cherry blossom spot in New York City. It hosts Sakura Matsuri, an annual cherry blossom festival weekend to celebrate Japanese culture.
There are different types of cherry blossoms that bloom at different times and locations within Brooklyn Botanic Garden, with Higan cherries blooming first near the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, followed by Okame Cherry blooming near Cherry Walk.
The most spectacular place in Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the Cherry Esplanade and the nearby Cherry Walk. Almost every single photo of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossoms is taken at the Cherry Esplanade, with the dark pink cherry blossom trees lined on both sides of the esplanade.
Photo tip: Go around sunset or when they first open on weekdays. Weekends are crazy crowded and you are not gonna be able to get good photos.
If you want to avoid the crowds at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, another unique place to see cherry blossoms in Brooklyn is the Green-Wood Cemetery.
While cemeteries may not be on the top of your list to visit normally, the Green-Wood Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark, and one of the first rural cemeteries in the US. It was founded in 1838 and it is a large space, with over 470 acres of land and scenery.
In the past, there were Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) festivals held at Green-Wood Cemetery. But even without this event, you can visit the cemetery to see the 172 cherry blossom trees. There are different types of cherry blossoms that bloom throughout April, so your best bet is to visit early April for the white ones and mid April for the dark pink ones.
If you don’t want to pay for Brooklyn Botanic Garden and don’t want to go to a cemetery to see the cherry blossom, your next best bet is Prospect Park.
You will not be finding rows and rows of cherry blossom trees at Prospect Park unfortunately, but you can still spot a few Okame cherry blossom trees at the Grand Army Plaza early April.
Best Places for Cherry Blossoms in Queens
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a large park near Flushing in Queens, it is also a stone’s throw from New York Hall of Science, CitiField and USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the US Open takes place every August and September.
Since Flushing Meadows Corona Park is huge, you will find different types of cherry blossom trees throughout the park.
The best place to photograph the cherry blossoms is in front of the Unisphere. You will find Yoshino Cherry (the white and light pink one) blooming there around early to mid April and the darker pink ones blooming two weeks later.
Besides the Unisphere, you can also check out the grassy area near the Parking Lot (the parking lot east of Queens Museum).
Since the park gets quite busy during the day, if you want a photo without people around, you should get there by 9:30am on the weekend.
Hunter’s Point South Park
Located at the edge of Long Island City along the East River, Hunter’s Point Park is one of the best spots to see cherry blossoms in Queens. This beautiful green space faces Manhattan, giving you the perfect Manhattan skyline.
Usually used by residents from the area, the part of Hunter’s Point Park famous for cherry blossoms is along the circular waterfront promenade and recreation space. On the weekend you will see kids’ soccer class taking place on the lawn, with a playground and basketball court nearby.
Since the cherry blossom in Long Island City is the white Yoshino Cherry, you will find them early to mid April (depending on the year). The best time to see them is during the week, as the park gets really crowded and busy on the weekends (at least every time we go on the weekends it’s so crowded).
Other places you can see cherry blossoms in Queens include Queens Botanical Garden, Lewis Latimer House Museum and Rainey Park.
Best Place to See Cherry Blossoms in Manhattan
Roosevelt Island is an island on the East River and it is considered part of Manhattan. Roosevelt Island is mostly a quiet residential neighborhood with parks, landmarks and a Cornell Tech campus.
The most famous thing on Roosevelt Island is the Tram ride that takes you high above the East River into the east side of Manhattan. The view of Manhattan from Roosevelt Island is also beautiful, making it a very popular spot for local families and couples to hang out on the weekends.
While most tourists generally don’t go to Roosevelt Island, it becomes super popular and crowded in April due to its beautiful cherry blossoms throughout the island.
Since there are multiple types of cherry blossom trees on the island, you can actually see two waves of blooms in the spring (the white Yoshino Cherry in early April and the dark pink Kwanzan Cherry mid April).
Generally the bloom season coincides with New York public school’s spring break, so if you visit on the weekends (or even during the weekdays in the afternoon), you will see tons of kids running around. Therefore if you want to photograph the cherry blossoms without the crowd, you will have to go on weekday mornings.
I visited around 7:30 until 9am on a weekday morning and there was barely anyone around.
It is no secret that Central Park is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City. Given that Central Park is so big, there are a ton of different spots to see different types of sakuras throughout the park.
Below are the best spots in Central Park to see cherry blossoms and when to see them.
Best Entrance: 72st on the West Side
Nearest Station: 72 St Station for the C & B train
There is no doubt that cherry hill is the most famous spot for cherry blossoms in Central Park. As the name implies, Cherry Hill was named for the cherry trees and it is actually on top of a hill (well, at least an incline).
The cherry trees at Cherry Hill is the white Yoshino cherries, and peak bloom is usually around early April (again, this timing could vary).
From Cherry Hill, you can spot the El Dorado, the iconic twin tower building sitting on the west side of Central Park that was constructed between 1929 to 1931. Some of the best photos of cherry blossoms are taken during peak bloom with El Dorado in the background.
Best Entrance: E 72nd St
Nearest Station: 68 St- Hunter College Station (6 Train)
About 5 to 10 minutes east of Cherry Hill is another beautiful spot to see the Yoshino cherry blossoms, Pilgrim Hill.
The area is named after the statue of a pilgrim and since it’s on a hill, it became Pilgrim Hill. During peak bloom, the Yoshino cherries make a beautiful cotton-candy-like background against the statue, making it a super nice place to relax, take photos, and simply take it all in.
Best Entrance: E 77th St
Nearest Station: 77 St Station (6 Train)
As you work your way north on the east side of Central Park, you will come across a small playground called James Michael Levin Playground. There are a lot of benches outside of the playground, with many Yoshino cherry trees behind the benches.
During peak bloom the cherry blossoms obscure your view of the playground, but they make a perfect background if you want to take photos on the bench. And no, do not go into the playground, the trees are outside of the playground.
This is also Yoshino Cherry so it peaks around early April.
Best Entrance: E 90th St
Nearest Station: 86 St Station (6 Train)
Engineers’ Gate is a large entrance on the east side of Central Park, with the gate honoring the profession. This is also where NYC Marathon runners enter Central Park when they are about to finish the race.
Once you enter the Engineers’ Gate, you will see a large road full of runners in the morning. This path is lined with cherry blossoms on both sides, making it one of the most beautiful paths to walk and run.
Again, you can expect to see Yoshino Cherry at Engineers’ Gate, which peaks around early April.
If you are already at Engineers’ Gate, you can just walk next to the Reservoir. On the Shuman Running Track right next to the water, the narrow path is also lined by Yoshino Cherries. Since the path is narrow and there are constantly runners, it is harder to photograph, but still a beautiful place to check out.
Best Entrance: 86 St
Nearest Station: 86 St Station (C and B Train)
The Bridle Path is a 4.2 mile dirt and gravel path on the west side of Central Park. The Bridle Path is usually where joggers take their morning jog but a part of it is also known for the beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring.
The most famous part of Bridle Path to see cherry blossoms is right by the Reservoir, around 89th street. The type of cherry tree that blooms on the Bridle Path is the vibrant pink Kwanzan cherry, which peaks around mid to late April, after Yoshino Cherry’s peak bloom.
Not only is Bridle Path covered by the cherry blossoms but also the nearby lawn (with the view of the El Dorado).
As usual, if you want a photo without people, you should aim to arrive by 7am at the latest. When I was there around 8am, there were tons of influencers and photoshoots, making it difficult for anyone else to take photos.
Best Entrance: 86 St or E 85th St
Nearest Station: 86 St Station (C & B train) or 86 St (4, 5, 6 train)
The Great Lawn is known for cherry blossoms with the Higan Cherry trees at the southwest corner. These cherry blossoms are not as vibrant as the Kwanzan cherry and not as fluffy as the Yoshino cherry.
Most people take photos right under the branches of the trees, as that’s probably the best place to photograph these flowers without the harsh sunlight (unless you go on a cloudy day).
In addition, you can also find Higan Cherry trees at Sheep Meadow. Personally I did not find the ones at Sheep Meadow that impressive as there were only a few trees.
Magnolia is another beautiful flower that blooms in the spring and you can see magnolias in Central Park as well.
The most famous spots to see magnolias in Central Park include:
- The Obelisk
- Bethesda Fountain
- Shakespeare Garden
- Alice in Wonderland
I also remember seeing magnolia around either Sheep Meadow or Great Lawn. If you walk (or bike) around Central Park from early to mid April, you will definitely spot Magnolias all over the place, just like cherry blossoms.
Riverside Park & Sakura Park
Located in Morning Heights are two adjacent parks that are known for their cherry blooms in the spring.
Riverside Park is famous for its “cherry walk”, a 3 mile trail popular for joggers, walkers and cyclists. Along the path, there are cherry trees planted on the side of the path from 100th to 125th street, making it a super enjoyable place to exercise.
Right next to Riverside Park is a smaller park called Sakura Park. The name deprives from “Sakura”, the Japanese word for Cherry Blossom. You will see Yoshino cherry trees at Sakura park, against the background of the majestic Riverside Church south of the park.
Union Square is one of the best spots in lower Manhattan to see the vibrant Kwanzan cherry later in April. The cherry trees cover most of Union Square Park, turning the station into a deep shade of pink.
If you are checking out the flowers at Union Square, be sure to also check out the restaurants and stores nearby, or walk a few blocks down to the next spot: Grace Church.
Opening Hour: 12pm to 5pm, except Sunday 8:30am to 7pm
Address: 802 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Grace Church is a historical church located just south of Union Square. The church is one of the best “hidden gems” in NYC to see the cherry blossoms and magnolias since it is not a famous park. However locals all know that Grace Church has the best magnolia AND cherry blossoms every spring.
You can see the deep pink cherry blossoms and magnolias in its courtyard on E 10th street and if the church is open, you can also walk inside the courtyard. But usually people take photos outside of the church.
Bonus: Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is known for its magnolia bloom every spring. The best place to see the magnolias is near the arch, making it a really nice photo spot.
Other places to see Cherry Blossoms in New York City
- New York Botanical Garden
- Madison Square Park near the Flatiron Building
- Laduree courtyard in Soho
- West Village (Waverly Pl & W 11th Street)
- Randall’s Island
- Park Avenue (right before Grand Central)
- Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (Staten Island)
- Silver Lake Park (Staten Island)
- Clove Lakes Park (Staten Island)
Bonus: Branch Brook Park (New Jersey)
If you live in New Jersey and don’t want to make it all the way to NYC, then stop by Branch Brook Park, the top place for cherry blossoms in New Jersey. There are over 5300 cherry blossom trees at Branch Brook Park, with the majority of them around the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center, the tennis court, and north east of the park.
Tips to Seeing Cherry Blossoms in New York City
- Use Cherry Blossom trackers to time the bloom: timing is everything when it comes to cherry blossoms. Since temperature is different every year, it’s hard to predict exactly when magnolia and cherry trees will bloom in a given spring. Some of the parks offer a tracker:
- Go early in the morning: it is no secret that everyone wants to see these beautiful blooms in the spring. If you want to take photos without people around, you need to go super early, by 7am in Central Park
- Go on a weekday: Weekends are notoriously crowded to see cherry blossoms, so your best bet for photos is to go on a weekday.
- Take advantage of extended hours: Brooklyn Botanic Garden has extended hours during peak cherry blossom season. Since you can’t go early to the park, consider visiting after 6:30pm and before sunset to avoid crowds.
- Wear something light colored: If photoshoot is your intention, then wear something light and flowery. Photos will not look good against cherry blossoms if you wear dark colors.
- Figure out your route: If you are planning to hit several spots in NYC to see the cherry blossoms, plan out your route. Prioritize the area you want to see the most. Set expectations that you probably won’t be able to see everything at once, so it will take several days to see different areas.
Read My Other NYC Blogs
I love writing about different seasonal things to do in New York City. Check out my other blogs to find the best seasonal and family friendly things to do in New York City.
New York City Seasonal Articles
Christmas and Holiday Season in New York City
New York City Itineraries & Things to Do
How to Save Money Traveling to NYC
New York City Food Guide
Other New York City Guides
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