Best Places to See Spring Cherry Blossoms

  • Washington, DC

    Each spring, Washington, DC plays host to the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20-April 13), and visitors come from around the country to see the 3,000 blooming trees gifted to our nation's capital in 1912. Best Viewing Spot: To see the best of the blooms, stake out a spot along the Tidal Basin, but for blossom viewing with a little more serenity, try the National Arboretum.

    Photo courtesy of Robert Pos

  • Vancouver

    In spring, Vancouver's rainy season gives way to a brilliant display of cherry blossoms (some 40,000 trees) throughout the city. In celebration of the arrival of spring, the city hosts the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (April 3-28) with guided walks, concerts and other spring-inspired events. Best Viewing Spot: VanDusen Botanical Garden has more than 100 varieties of cherry trees and publishes a cherry blossom map, so you'll know where to find them.

    Photo courtesy of Max Lindenthaler/iStock

  • Japan

    The tradition of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, started in Japan, and the beautiful island nation remains the best place on the planet to see sakura (cherry trees) in their full glory. Beginning in the southernmost areas, Japan's cherry trees begin blossoming in March and continue on through May. Best Viewing Spot: It's hard to pick just one, but the spring show is undeniably beautiful in historic Kyoto, around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and on the eastern shore of Lake Kawaguchi, where the blossoms create a foreground for Mt. Fuji.

    Photo courtesy of prasit_chansareekorn/iStock

  • Taiwan

    In Asia, Taiwan enjoys some of the best cherry blossom viewing spots outside of Japan, with various festivals held throughout the island. Best Viewing Spot: If you're in Taipei, spend a day in Yangmingshan National Park for the best blossoms. In all of Taiwan, Alishan in the south is thought to have the best display, with some 19,000 trees.

    Photo courtesy of Top Photo Group/Thinkstock

  • Portland, Ore.

    Portland is home to one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, so you can bet the city has some mighty fine cherry blossoms to boot. The Japan-America Society of Oregon hosts "Sakura Sundays" throughout March to introduce both residents and visitors to the age old pastime. Best Viewing Spot: The Portland Japanese Garden is obviously a popular spot, but you can enjoy the show all along the Willamette River in Waterfront Park.

    Photo courtesy of Sam Churchill

  • Macon, Georgia

    In spring, Macon, Georgia hosts the International Cherry Blossom Festival (March 21-30), where visitors can see the town's 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom. The Southern town has so many of these trees, it's been dubbed the "Cherry Blossom Capital of the World." Best Viewing Spot: The whole town is blossom-filled, so there really isn't a "best place."

    Photo courtesy of Mark Strozier/iStock

  • San Francisco

    In San Francisco, visitors can participate in the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (weekends April 12-20) hosting in Japantown. While the flowering trees play a part in the festivities, the event is more about celebrating Japanese culture.
    Best Viewing Spot: After the festivities, head to the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park for even more beautiful cherry trees.

    Photo courtesy of Nicole Abalde

  • Paris

    Paris in the spring is even more romantic than Paris the rest of the year, if that's even possible. The reason for the added romance are the pink blooms that paint the city. Best Viewing Spot: Before your after your visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower, spend some time basking in the blossom of Champs de Mars park.

    Photo courtesy of everyOrdinary/iStock

  • Brooklyn

    In late April, cherry blossoms bloom and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden celebrates with its annual Sakura Matsuri festival (April 26-27). Elsewhere in New York, you can spot blossoms at the New York Botanical Gardens, Riverside Park and Central Park. Best Viewing Spot: Undoubtedly, the Cherry Esplanade in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the best place to view spring blossoms.

    Photo courtesy of Antonio M. Rosario. Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

  • Philadelphia

    The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (April 1-26) celebrates the culture and cuisine of Japan under the shade of some 1,000 cherry trees at the Japanese House and Garden. Best Viewing Spot: Festival events take place throughout Philadelphia, but Fairmount Park has many of the best spots for blossom viewing.

    Photo courtesy of Michael W Murphy