Photo courtesy New York Botanical Garden

The cherry blossoms in NYC are beginning to bloom! 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, collections of cherry blossom trees in New York City come from the initial gift from Japan in 1909-1912 to Washington D.C. 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. While many locations are forgoing annual cherry blossom festivals this year in favor of virtual alternatives, you are still welcome to visits these beautiful pink-flowered trees on your own to enjoy a safe and socially distanced spring stroll!

Want to discover even more incredible trees of NYC! Join us for a virtual talk with author and tour guide Allison C. Meier as she walks us through her latest publication, a map of the Great Trees of New York! Tickets to this talk are just $10, or free if you are an Untapped New York Insider! You can gain access to unlimited free virtual events per month and unlock a video archive of 100+ past virtual experiences as an Untapped New York Insider starting at $10/month. Already an Insider? Register here! If you can’t make it live, register for this event and we will send you a link to the recording once it airs!

A Camperdown Elm in Prospect Park

Great Trees of NYC

1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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

The most famous location for Cherry Blossom viewing in New York City is the Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. While there won’t be a 2021 Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom festival, guests can still visit the Garden to enjoy the blooms in a safe socially distanced manner. New to the Cherry Esplanade in 2021 is a meditative sound installation. Loved is a site-specific outdoor sound installation by composer Michael Gordon performed by percussionist David Cossin. The five-minute recording features Cossin playing seven vibraphones and it repeats hourly. You can hear the piece now until May 9th.

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. You can track the blooms on the Gaden’s website to make sure you’ll get a good show when you visit!