Even though it’s officially spring as of March 20, it’s not really spring until the cherry blossoms start blooming in NYC. New York City in spring is absolutely magical! With the warmer weather comes an extra pep in your step. Over the years, I’ve found these to be the best places to see cherry blossoms around the city!
In NYC specifically, peak bloom typically occurs mid to end of April. It’s heavily dependent on the weather, but I always gauge it to be about two weeks after the peak blooms in Washington DC happen. That being said, there are a variety of blooms happening and overlapping with each other. There’s the plum blossoms and magnolias which bloom first, followed by the white and pink cherry blossoms.
The flowers from buds to final stage extends for about two weeks, but peak bloom can literally happen overnight. If you want to catch them at their most fluffy, you need to be prepared! Make sure to have a game plan if you want to hit up all of these locations when you’re in New York City!
For most people, it might seem like the blooms all look the same, but for cherry blossom nerds (and scientifically speaking), there’s a distinct difference.
Right along the riverside lies a long row of cherry blossom trees. Facing the river, and with Queensboro Bridge acting as a divider, the side on the left (south) blooms first and gets super crowded because everyone shares this side on social media. If you walk a little further north along the river though, (the right side of the bridge) there are significantly fewer people and you can get a beautiful frame of the bridge and sunset without your view being blocked.
There are SO MANY spots in Central Park to see cherry blossoms! I didn’t realize how many locations I had pictured in my archives, but these have been amassed over years. If you’re trying to hit a bunch of spots in a short period of time, having a strategy is crucial!
Walk around the streets surrounding the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park and there will be so many cherry blossom trees around!
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is probably by definition, the best place to see cherry blossoms. There’s a bloom tracker (linked) that allows you to watch the progress of their flowers blooming. The garden has more than one type of cherry blossom, and they bloom at different times of the month. They also host the annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival during this time, which covers and educates how these beautiful flowers are intertwined with Japanese culture.
This place gets dumb crowded real quick, so if you want to go when there are no people for photos you, need to get tickets for when they open. They’re around $20, but if you have a student ID you get a discount. You only have15-30 minutes before the families and other early birds arrive so make every minute count!
Gantry Plaza is unbeatable if you want to see cherry blossoms with the most gorgeous New York City skyline view. Hands down my favorite spot because of the gorgeous sunsets that go behind the skyscrapers.
For a quiet and lesser-known spot to see cherry blossoms, head out to Queens. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is next to the Queens Museum and Arthur Ashe Stadium where the US Open is held. It’s an expansive area that’s nice for a leisurely walk.
You might also recognize the abandoned New York State Pavilion which was featured in the first Men In Black movie.
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