Photo courtesy New York Botanical Garden

Spring is officially in full swing and with the wave of warm weather in recent weeks, New York City is finally budding with flora. During this time of year, many will make the annual trek to Washington D.C. to partake in the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but our city is home to its own collection of sakura, the famous Japanese trees — some of which you can find in unlikely locations.

Unknown to many, many collections of cherry blossom trees in New York City come from the initial gift from Japan in 1909-1912 to Washington D.C. And in fact, the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the United States is in Branch Brook Park, New Jersey with more than 2,700 trees. Though the park is not in New York City proper, we’ve included it at the end of this list.

1. Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden-Cherry Blossom Festival-2017-Prospect Heights-Prospect Park-NYC

The most famous location for them all, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to the Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival, which takes place this year on Saturday, April 27th to Sunday, April 28th. The event will include over 60 Japanese cultural activities and performances, including taiko drumming, tea ceremonies and artist workshops. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a cherry blossom tracker so you can see on a map exactly which trees have bloomed. So far, one tree is in first bloom and another is in peak bloom already.

Check out our previous photography of the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden here. And if you plan on visiting, you’re free to sit on the grassy lawns but picnic blankets and food are not permitted.

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