The cherry blossom trees in New York City 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. Discover where you can find these beautiful pink-flowered trees now through mid-April across all five boroughs!

1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Cherry Blossom trees

The most famous location for cherry blossom viewing in New York City is the Cherry Esplanade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can track the blooms on the Garden’s “Cherrywatch” map which shows which trees are in Prebloom, First Bloom, Peak Bloom, and Post-Peak Bloom. There are 26 different species and cultivars in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Flowering Cherry Collection.

The Garden’s website notes that “no one tree remains in flower for more than a week, and there is no moment when all are blooming at once,” so the Cherrywatch map will come in handy! Check out our previous photography of the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden here.

2. Sakura Park, Manhattan

cherry blossom trees in Sakura Park
Cherry blossoms in Sakura Park. Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

In an extension of Riverside Park, just next to Grant’s Tomb and behind Riverside Church is Sakura Park, which contains trees from the same gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York. The 1909 gift contained 2,000 trees and was sent by boat, but the ship was lost at sea and missed the 18-day festival. The gift was redelivered in 1912.

Sakura Park was built on land donated by John D. Rockefeller. In 1932, Sakura Park was redesigned by the famous Olmstead brothers, using money from a Rockefeller donation. Another update to the park took place in the 1980s. On a visit, don’t miss the stone torii donated by the City of Tokyo to mark the sister city designation between Tokyo and New York City in 1960. The torii was dedicated by the Emperor of Japan (then the Crown Prince Akihito) and his wife, the Princess Michiko.

3. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens

cherry blossom trees at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The 168 Yamazakura and Somei-Yoshino cherry trees in Flushing Meadows Corona Park were donated by the Japanese American Association and the Cherry Association of Japan. Before being planted in Queens in April of 2001, the seeds were nursed in the greenhouses of Van Cortlandt Park. NYC Parks recommends that for the prettiest view, visitors should head west on the promenade towards the Unisphere.

Tour the Remnants of the World’s Fair

Unisphere in Flushing Meadows

You may see the blossoms in bloom on one of our upcoming Remnants of the World’s Fair walking tours!

4. New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx

cherry blossom trees in New York Botanical Garden
Photo courtesy New York Botanical Garden

From April through May and September through November, you can find more than 200 flowering cherry trees dispersed throughout the New York Botanical Garden. Some of the best locations to find both white and pink blossoms include Daffodil Hill, the Arthur and Janet Ross Conifer Arboretum, along the curving path in Cherry Valley and in front of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

The Garden has a wide diversity of cherry trees, including hybrids (such as the Yoshino cherry) or cultivars, such as Prunus ‘Kanzan.’ The New York Botanical Garden also has a cherry blossom tracker so you can figure out the most optimal time to visit.

5. Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Staten Island

Snug Harbor Botanical Garden Cherry blossom trees
Courtesy of Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

 At the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, rows of Cherry Blossom trees can be found along Cottage Row running toward the south gate. The cottages once served as residences for the engineer, gardener, farmer, and other professionals who worked at the home for aged sailors. Today the cottages host artist residency programs. After admiring the Cherry Blossoms, be sure to stop at the Scholar’s Garden, one of only a few authentic classical outdoor Chinese gardens that exist in the United States where you can see even more Cherry Blossom trees!

You can see when all different types of trees are in bloom on Staten Island and which parks to see them in using the NYC Parks Department Bloom tracker, found here.

6. Silver Lake Park, Staten Island

Silver Lake Cherry Blossom Trees
NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

Another Staten Island spot where you can see Cherry Blossoms trees is Silver Lake Park. Along the edge of the water, you’ll see Kwazan, Oshino, and Okame cherry blossoms, as well as Crabapple, and Red Maple trees that add color to the landscape. Silver Lake’s Cherry Blossoms were planted here in the 1970s. The beauty of the lake and the Cherry Blossom trees likely inspired poet Audre Lorde, who lived nearby.

7. Central Park, Manhattan

cherry blossom trees in Central park

In Central Park, there are two species of cherry blossoms: The Kwanzan Cherry and Yoshino Cherry (the most popular ornamental cherry tree in the park). Like those found along Cherry Walk at Riverside Park, some of the cherry blossom trees at Central Park are part of the original batch from Washington D.C.

The Yoshino Cherry can be spotted on the east side of the Reservoir, Lilac Walk, Conservatory Water, the Ramble, Delacorte Theater, and at the southeast edge of Great Lawn. In addition, the Kwanzan Cherry is planted at the west side of the Reservoir, East Green, West of the Metropolitan Museum (at East 83rd to 84th Streets), East Drive at 744th Street, Bethesda Terrace, across the east Drive from the Loeb Boathouse and at the Southeast corner of the Great Lawn Oval. You can see a map of all the trees in the here and keep track of when they are at peak bloom with this map.

8. Riverside Park Cherry Walk, Manhattan

cherry blossom trees in Riverside Park
Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Riverside Park‘s Cherry Walk is a continuous, four-mile-long path along the Hudson River that spans from 72nd street to 158th street. The swath of cherry trees can be found between 100th and 125th Streets. According to NYC Parks and Recreation, this section includes the surviving trees from the original batch that was planted in Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin as a gift from Japan to the U.S. in 1912.

Another batch comes from a gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s steamboat expedition up the Hudson and the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the river. Take a walk along the corridor of Cherry Walk for a scenic afternoon or traverse through Riverside Park itself, which is one of only eight officially designated scenic landmarks in New York City.

9. Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan

Marcus Garvey Park

Cherry blossoms can also be found in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem. The photograph above shows the view at Madison Avenue and 124th Street, near the park’s Drummer’s Circle. Every Saturday the sounds of drums, and sometimes other instruments, fill this corner of the park thanks to a musical tradition which began in 1969. The informal gathering of musicians, which has roots in African and Caribbean traditions, draws a vibrant mix of participants.

Every week there is a different ensemble of people and instruments like trumpets, cowbells, tambourines, and flutes. The drum circle has a designated spot in the park at the base of the Acropolis between 123rd and 124th Streets on the Madison Avenue side of the park.

10. St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church, Manhattan

cherry blossom trees at St. Paul's chapel

If you find yourself in lower Manhattan, take a moment to stop by St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church, located between Fulton Street and Vesey streets. The church, which is one of the oldest buildings in the city and one of a few physical remnants of New York City’s colonial past, also boasts a large cherry tree on its grounds.

Trees are an important part of St. Paul’s, as some of them acted as natural and necessary support beams for the chapel. Findings from a restoration project which were recounted in a 1962 Parish Newsletter, revealed that tree trunks were actually holding up the roof. The report notes, “When the square casing at the base of the great columns was removed, it was found that the actual tree trunks, which uphold the roof, are of pine, of about 24” in diameter at the base. These bases were worked into octagonal shape up to a height of 44”. The huge tree trunks are each set on a stone base. Thus, each column of the nave is one great tree trunk, faced with fluted wood casing.”

11. Madison Square Park, Manhattan

cherry blossom tree at Madison Square Park
Photo courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy

The Flatiron Building, one of New York City’s most iconic triangle-shaped buildings, is a sight to look at all year round, but it’s even more eye-catching come spring. When the weather gets warmer, the iconic, wedge-shaped landmark is framed by cherry blossoms that will flourish in nearby Madison Square Park.

Most of the cherry trees at Madison Square Park are Kwanzan Cherry trees. The Kwanzan Cherries usually bloom in early May. The small trees with pink, double flowers are very sensitive to pollution. Due to this sensitivity, they only tend to live for 15 to 20 years in the city, as opposed to the average 60-year lifespan elsewhere. Among the Kwanzan cherries, there is one Yoshino Cherry along 5th Avenue, which is interesting to note because Yoshino Cherries are the most popular flowering cherry tree in the world.

12. Columbia University, Manhattan

Cherry Blossoms at Columbia University
Image by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Columbia University is not only home to impressive architecture, but it also harbors its own collection of cherry blossom trees. Spot some along College Walk, a stretch of 116th Street on the Morningside Heights campus, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

You can also find plenty in front of St. Paul’s-Fayerweather-Schermerhorn-Avery courtyard and Low Memorial Library. While you are visiting the campus of Columbia University, try some of our off-the-beaten path activities, or explore the surrounding area of Harlem.

13. McCarren Park, Brooklyn

cherry blossom trees at McCarren Park
Photograph Courtesy of NYC Parks/ Daniel Avila

McCarren Park in Brooklyn, located between Greenpoint and Williamsburg, is home to flowering Eastern Redbud trees. These trees grow to about 30 feet tall. Eastern Redbuds have heart-shaped leaves and their clusters of tiny flowers display an intensely bright lavender-pink color.

According to a member of our Untapped Team, the cherry blossom trees look especially nice when lit up at night. Before you visit, learn about the history of the park and its most fascinating hidden secrets! 

14. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

cherry blossom trees at Green-Wood Cemetery
Photo by Art Presson courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery is home to both pink and white cherry blossom trees, which you can spot along Battle Avenue and Crescent Water, among other places. Green-Wood Cemetery reports that at this time, some blossoms are already out, more to come mid-April, with the late bloomers to come in mid-May.

There are 172 cherry blossom trees interspersed among the graves and mausoleums of the cemetery, which counts many famous New Yorkers as internments.

15. Prospect Park, Brooklyn

cherry blossom trees in Prospect Park

Along the stone path in the Long Meadow at Prospect Park, accessible through the Grand Army Plaza entrance, you will find cherry blossoms. If you aren’t ready to battle the crowds at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the park offers a much more low-key way to appreciate cherry blossoms in NYC.

There are also cherry trees at the park’s entrance at Grand Army Plaza. You can find out where all the different types of trees and flowers will blossom throughout the park with the Prospect Park Alliance’s Spring Bloom Guide. 

16. Hunter’s Point South, Queens

Cherry Blossom trees Hunter's Point South Park
Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

At Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City, Yoshino cherry trees ring the expansive oval at the water’s edge. The shock of white frames a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. From the park, you can see notable buildings such as the American Copper Building, The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the United Nations Headquarters.

Hunter’s Point South Park, designed by SWA/Balsley and Weiss/Manfredi, opened in phases starting in 2013. A former industrial site, the park pays homage to the past by incorporating historical elements such as an old gantry and railroad tracks.

17. Randall’s Island

cherry blossom trees on Randall's Island
Cherry Blossom Festival, Photograph Courtesy of Randall’s Island Park Alliance

Randall’s Island, located on the East River between East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Queens, has a lot to offer. Along with waterfront views, pedestrian trails, and a 40,000-square-foot, environmentally sustainable urban farm, there are lovely cherry trees to view along the western shoreline.

During this year’s Earth Day Festival on April 20th, you can take part in a Cherry Blossom tour led by the Island’s Horticulture Team. Your expert guide will explain and show what’s blossoming around the Urban Farm and in the Cottage Garden.

18. Roosevelt Island

cherry blossom trees on Roosevelt Island
Photo courtesy Four Freedoms Park Conservancy

Along the shore of Roosevelt Island, visitors can sit under the shade of the cherry blossom trees while enjoying waterfront views of Manhattan. You’ll find two groves of cherry blossom trees on the island along the East River on both the east and west sides of the island.

To get to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan, you can take the famous Roosevelt Island Tram, one of the most unique ways to get around New York City. The tram leaves from 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan every 7-15 minutes.

Bonus: Branch Brook Park (New Jersey)

cherry blossom trees in Branch Brook Park

The largest collection of cherry blossoms in the New York City area is actually in Branch Brook Park, New Jersey, with more than 2,700 trees. The park boast even more trees than Washington, D.C.. Branch Brook park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, successors of the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and you’ll find it similar to, but not as fancy as Central Park.

Next, check out the Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden!