Our first time viewing cherry blossoms in bloom was during our visit to Japan last year. While it’s something we recommend not missing (we definitely planned our time in Japan to coincide with cherry blossom season) if you and your family travel to Japan, we never realized that we didn’t have to go so far to see cherry blossoms in bloom! (Read all our Japan-related posts here)
Cherry Blossom Festivals are celebrated all over the world and are another way of marking the beginning of spring time. The cherry blossom festival, also known as hanami in Japan, is an important time for the Japanese as the festival celebrates the onset of spring in the region.
Depending on the year and weather conditions, the cherry trees come into bloom anywhere from mid to late-March to the beginning of April. This year, we’ve read reports of cherry blossom trees in bloom as early as late February due to the warm weather the East Coast was experiencing. Here are (in our opinion) 5 of the best kid-friendly cities in the United States where you can get a chance to see the cherry trees in peak bloom.
5 Kid-Friendly Cities To View Cherry Blossoms in the United States
I think D.C. without a doubt is the place to celebrate the annual cherry blossom festival in the United States. This year, we’ve read reports that the trees came into bloom rather early on the East Coast, and with last week’s snow storm, the cold weather has killed off a lot of cherry trees in bloom.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from the Mayor of Tokyo to Washington, DC back in 1912. This lovely gift was to celebrate the friendship and relationship shared between the United States and Japan, which you’ll see all along the Tidal Basin.
If you plan to visit, read all about a delicious culinary tour you can take of the District’s U Street Neighborhood in our newest series, “Food Tours Around the World.”
We always spend a few days in Seattle before we fly out to the Middle East (there’s a great direct Emirates flight from Seattle – Dubai, FYI), but never realized that the UW campus had cherry blossom trees. According to the UW website, a bout of cold weather has delayed the over 80 year old cherry blossom trees, and peak bloom is expected to be late March. The campus also has a cool livestream of the trees (check out the youtube video above)! We might have some time to go check them out at the end of the month.
San Francisco, California
The Japanese Tea Garden in SF’s famed Golden Gate Park is a wonderful getaway from the busy city Bay Area life. During peak bloom, cherry blossom trees bloom throughout the garden, making for a very lush and scenic visit. Once you’re there you’ll forget you’re in hilly SF, which is amazing in itself.
We’ve always visited San Francisco in the summer/fall, so the thought of equating cherry blossoms to the city never crossed our mind. We’re definitely adding the Japanese Tea Garden to our next SF itinerary – the kids will love being transported back to Japan, if only for a couple of hours!
Brooklyn – New York City, New York
If the thought of braving the D.C. crowds along the Tidal Basin is not to your fancy, your next best bet to view the cherry trees is in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden is home to over 200 cherry blossom trees, making it an ideal kid-friendly outing (and hey, kids under 12 enter for free!). They even have an interactive page on their website indicating when the flowers are in pre-bloom, first bloom, peak bloom, or post peak bloom. View it here.
Wahiawa – Oahu, Hawaii
Last but certainly not the least, we never realized that there were cherry blossom trees in our own backyard! That’s right – with a little bit of help from Google, we were able to find that there are a bunch of cherry blossom trees in a residential neighborhood in Wahiawa. Unfortunately due to the warm Hawaiian ‘winters’, they bloom much earlier in the year compared to the rest of the country- this year they were in bloom around February 4th, which we missed out on. Shucks, but there’s always next year!
Where do you like to view the cherry blossoms? Let us know in the comments below!