Here are the best places in parks and gardens in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens to enjoy the fragrant and delicate pink and white blossoms, and Cherry Blossom Festivals, including on Earth Day, Sat., April 21, with Japanese music and dance performances and arts and crafts for the kids.
SEE ALSO NYC Car Free Day Sat. April 21
Enjoy the cherry blossoms with your eyes and your camera only. No no breaking off branches for souvenirs.
First, the two Earth Day Cherry Blossom Festivals happening this weekend –
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
The 14th Annual Sakura Matsuri Festival celebrates the spring blossoming of the cherry trees with live drum performances (Taiko), a traditional Japanese chorus, a Japanese folk dance, a tea ceremony, and more.
FREE at the Pavilion & Astral Fountain in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 11AM to 1PM on Earth Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018.
Randall’s Island Park – East Harlem
Set along the backdrop of the Hell Gate Bridge and the Urban Farm, the annual Cherry Blossom Festival festival welcomes the park’s cherry blossoms with live music, performances, games, exhibitions, face painting, and more, inspired by Japanese culture.
This year’s FREE event is Noon to 4PM on Earth Day, Saturday, April 21, 2018.
Everywhere else to see Cherry Blossoms in NYC
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
There are three areas for enjoying the world famous cherry trees here, Cherry Walk and Cherry Esplanade, a huge lawn with parallel rows of trees, and popular spots for picnics. Equally serene is the Japanese Garden, where petals are reflected in the water of a small pond. There are benches to sit and enjoy, or park yourself on the Esplanade lawn for a picnic.
- Check the Cherry Watch, BBG’s website updated daily, to tell you exactly where the trees are in first bloom, peak bloom, and post bloom.
- The annual Sakura Matsuri Festival of Japanese dance and music performances, origami workshops and more, is April 28/29, 2018.
- Purchase tickets in advance to guarantee admission.
Riverside Park, Manhattan
The walkway along the Hudson River, between 100th Street and 125th Street, is known as Cherry Walk. The entire length of this mile-long promenade is dotted with cherry trees.
It’s a lovely walk — but for those of you unfamiliar with the area, be forewarned that there is no exit between the northern and southern ends of the walkway. So, unless you want to walk or bicycle the full mile, pick the ‘unofficial’ Cherry Walk, just south of the official one. That would be the section of Riverside Park between 96th and 90th streets, also dotted with beautiful pink and white cherry trees.
The trees were a gift several decades ago from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s steam-power demonstration on the Hudson, and the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the river.
Enjoy the blossoms in Cherry Valley and there are more scattered through the Ross Conifer Arboretum. The big news, though, is the major exhibit of paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, opening in mid-May.
Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing
There is a beautiful Cherry Circle, and family-friendly events each weekend.
Some of the best cherry blossom viewing sites are on the bridle path at 90th Street, East Drive at 66th Street, east side of the boathouse at 74th Street, and on Cherry Hill, mid-park at 72nd Street just west of Bethesda Terrace. Make it a special occasion with a picnic.
You can find additional information on these peaceful, tranquil, picture perfect places in New York City in NYCOTC editor Evelyn Kanter’s travel guidebook, Peaceful Places New York City, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.
If copies are sold out, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase copy signed by the author. That would be me, Evelyn Kanter
The cover photo is the Bow Bridge in Central Park. No cherry blossoms here, but also a beautiful, peaceful, tranquil spot.
This guide to NYC cherry blossoms first published 2011 and is updated annually.
Photo of cherry blossoms in Riverside Park by Evelyn Kanter