10 Unexpected Places to See Cherry Blossoms

By Amy Plitt
4/9/2014 9:01:37 AM

Spring has (finally!) sprung, which means cherry blossom season is about to be in full bloom. But if you can't make it to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., try checking out one of these unexpected locations to find gorgeous blooms throughout North America.

Richard Greenwood

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, Vancouver

The entire city of Vancouver gets in the act for its sakura event: Visitors can find hundreds of trees throughout the metropolis, with a map on the fest's website showing where the blooms are concentrated. There are also plenty of individual events to keep visitors occupied: A fair at the VanDusen Botanical Garden (itself home to more than 100 of the spectacular trees) celebrates Japanese heritage, while artist Stuart Ward will illuminate cherry blossoms at Sutcliffe Park with colorful LED lights. April 3-28.

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Courtesy San Francisco Cherry Blossom Fest

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, San Francisco

A San Francisco tradition for nearly 50 years, this shindig celebrates the city's rich Japanese heritage and culture. It's fitting, then, that the main stages-which will showcase dance performances, origami workshops, karate demonstrations and more-happen over two city blocks in the Japantown neighborhood. (That's also where you'll see the cherry trees: Approximately 30 trees will be in bloom throughout the area.) April 12-13, 19-20.

Rebecca Bullene

Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn

During the Brooklyn conservatory's celebration of hanami (or the cherry blossom season), its Cherry Esplanade is perhaps the most Instagram-worthy spot in the borough: A long walkway is lined with colorful flowering trees in shades of pink, purple and white. The monthlong event culminates in the Sakura Matsuri festival, which brings tea ceremonies, J-Pop bands, sword demonstrators-not to mention a whole lot of people in elaborate cosplay outfits-to the garden. Hanami: Begins in early April. Sakura Matsuri: April 26, 27.

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