Nothing says spring like cherry trees blossoming around the Seattle area.
You’ll find more than a thousand trees throughout the city that were donated to Seattle by Japan as a symbol of friendship.
Many are in in public gardens, while others are landscaped in throughout neighborhoods and nearby attractions. Along with other early spring bloomers like daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, plum trees, and magnolias, cherry blossoms begin to bud in late February and peak in March and early April.
Catch these white flowered beauties before they’re gone! They typically have a three-to four-week window of blooms before their petals fall to the ground, creating spring “snow.”
Here are eight places for picture-perfect views of cherry blossoms, all around town!
[ Another sign of spring: Family guide to Skagit Valley Tulip Festival ]
The University of Washington Quad
The Quad is the most popular gathering place to find blossoms.
The 90-year-old Yoshino variety of trees were a gift from Japan and are gorgeous. Rows of these trees line the rectangular pathway, usually crowded with people taking photos. Climbing isn’t allowed on the trees, but be sure to check out the awesome intertwined trunks of these beauties. Come early in the morning or late in the day for fewer crowds. Parking is available at nearby Burke Museum or the lot on 45th Street and 15th Avenue. The path is stroller-friendly, but there are stairs to navigate, depending on how you choose to enter the park. Bring a picnic and maybe some bubbles. There are benches to sit and grass to lay out a blanket.
Avoiding crowds or have seasonal allergies that get irritated from flowers? UW broadcasts a live-stream of the Quad where you can take a peak at the grounds and see what it’s like on any given day.
UW also has a Twitter account devoted to the cherry blossom. It’s a great place to follow for updates on the trees and any event information like the U District Cherry Blossom Festival. (March 25-April 10, 2022)
Address: Pierce Lane, Seattle 98195
Washington Park Arboretum
Visit this 230-acre garden park and stroll down Azalea Way (one of the main paths through the Arboretum). Among the many blooms you’ll find rows of cherry blossoms, azaleas, dogwoods and magnolias. The cherry trees here typically peak a couple weeks after the trees at UW. Stop for a picnic lunch and enjoy the open grassy areas to play. Bring a scooter or bike to ride along the paved paths.
Limited parking available by the Graham Visitors Center and the Japanese Garden
Address: 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle 98112
Seattle Japanese Garden
What better place to see cherry blossoms than in a garden setting devoted to Japanese heritage? The Seattle Japanese Garden is a 3.5-acre garden with winding paths that encompass a central pond. Blossoms are not grouped together but spotted among the landscape. The walk through here is more of a peaceful, quiet experience. There are benches to sit and reflect, but no food or drink is allowed. Children will have a wonderful time seeing the fish in the pond and walking the paths adorned with lanterns and bridges.
Walkups are welcome during the week, but reservations are highly recommended on weekends. (In addition, the park is closed on Monday.)
Address: 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E. Seattle, Washington 98112; parking is free
Admission: Adults 18-64: $8
Youths 6–17, Senior Adults 65+: $4
Children 0-5: Free
Seward Park has many of the cherry blossom trees that were gifted to Seattle in the 1900s. You don’t have to travel very far to find them: Some are located at the entrance at the circle garden. But don’t stop there. Take a walk around the 2.4-mile trail called Shore Loop. You’ll walk along the lake, viewing all the trees (cherry included), plants and wildlife around the perimeter of the park. A great place for a picnic you can spread out on the green grass or find the small beach and explore the shore. On clear days you can see Mount Rainier. Be sure to stop at the playground and take a ride on the zip line. The park is stroller and bike friendly.
Address: 5900 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seattle 98118
Parking is onsite
Cherry blossoms can be spotted all around Seattle Center. Many of the trees are donations from Japan that have taken root over the past several decades. Join in on the fun at the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival in April and celebrate Japanese culture and Seattle’s historic connection with the country. Indulge in music, food, dance and all types of entertainment over this weekend-long event.
Address: 305 Harrison Street Seattle 98109
Festival dates: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 8-10.
Located on the northeast edge of the International District, Mt. Fuji cherry trees line the paths along the terraced hillside. The trees and the 200-ton stone lantern on the hill are gifts from the people of Seattle’s sister city of Kobe, Japan.
Visit the the lower part of Kobe Terrace, where you will find the Danny Woo Community Garden. The garden contains small plots of veggies and herbs, tended by the community.
Stairs connect the upper and lower parts of this park and it is best to carry little ones in a pack.
Address: 650 S. Main St. Seattle 98104
Green Lake Park
A popular place for families, walk around the lake and play “I Spy” to try and find the cherry blossoms. Snuggled in between Northwest native trees, cherry trees are incorporated into the landscape. For a more informative tour of the park, take the Green Lake Park tree walk. Use the map to discover all the different species of plants (hint: Look for the species name: Prunus located west of the bathhouse).
Stay and play awhile in the water, on the sand or on the 2.8-mile paved path. Be careful of runners and other bikers if you choose to scoot along this trail or are beginning to learn on a two-wheeler. Take a rest by the lake: Picnic and play on the lawn.
Address: 7201 E Green Lake Drive N Seattle 98115
Jefferson Park received a gift of 25 young cherry trees in 2012 and all were planted in various locations around the park. Explore the sixth-largest park in Seattle, finding these trees and stay a while to check out the skate park, the playground, the golf course and open field to play catch or fly a kite. Picnic at the tables and enjoy a lazy spring day.
Address: 3801 Beacon Ave S. Seattle 98108
Check out a Seattle neighborhood or your own!
You may not have to travel very far to see a blooming cherry tree. There could be a few lining the streets of your very own neighborhood! Take a walk around and look for trees with white, light pink, and depending on the species yellow oval-shaped petals. The petals of a cherry blossom have a split at the ends. Take a look at the trunk of the tree: There will be horizontal lines running across it. See how many you can find!