Pardon the pun, but cherry blossom is a full blown, “blooming” cultural phenomenon. There are websites dedicated to it, updates on the evening news and travel fanatics poised to click “book” once the first potential blossom dates are released.
Naturally, if you close your eyes and imagine the place we’re talking about: you’ll likely land upon the beautiful islands of Japan. While it’s easily one of the world’s most spectacular cherry blossom spots, known as “sakura season”, this Asian gem is not the only place. Here are nine destinations where you’ll find riveting spring blooms, perhaps right near your back door.
Three hours from Madrid and two hours from Salamanca sits the ridiculously beautiful Valle De Jerte, where you’ll find not one, but 2 million cherry trees. From mid March to May there are endless parties, festivals and excuses to bask in the sun and experience one of the world’s very largest cherry blossom blooms. Of course, being near Madrid does not hurt either.
Brooklyn, New York
When people think Brooklyn, they think hip neighborhoods and the Notorious BIG, but cherry blossoms are rarely atop the search queries. That’s a mistake. Few places offer more gorgeous viewing than Brooklyn’s famed Botanical Gardens. Think late April and prepare for some crowds, these yearly blooms are so beautiful there’s a Sakura Matsuri festival designed around them!
With outdoor games and cozy places to sit in wonderment, Stockholm Kungsträdgården is an incredible place to take in the beauty of hundreds of cherry trees, all in the center of the city. As Sweden starts to thaw out, this is an amazing place to snap photos and take a break from the ABBA tours we know you’ll go on. It’s ok, everyone does it.
Edinburgh Meadows is the place to be, if you happen to find yourself in lovely Scotland come spring. Perhaps best of all, given Edinburgh’s northern location, you can catch cherry blossom elsewhere and then still have time to catch this one. Read as: it happened over Easter Weekend last year. As if you needed another excuse to finally see the Highlands first hand…
Beautiful parks are one thing, but there’s something magical about nature juxtaposed against city life. Bonn, Germany is the place to find it. Bonn was featured on “places to see before you die” thanks to its inimitable cherry blossom tunnels along the city streets. Bonn is super easy to reach and under an hour from either Cologne or Dusseldorf, and under 2 hours from Frankfurt. If you’re looking for the best streets, head to Altstadt.
Jinhae, South Korea
With such crazy demand to experience Sakura Season in Japan, people forget that just a short flight away you can experience similar beauty and grace without quite as many tourists. Jinhae is a postcard from any angle, and in cherry blossom season the city’s natural appeal is infectious. Come for the pretty pictures, stay for the bibimbap.
If you haven’t been to DC, you must. When do you decide to go, consider late March or early April, depending on the weather forecast! Washington DC is home to more famous landmarks than virtually any other U.S. city, and each of them look even more appealing with beautiful pink hues draped through the background. To get the picture perfect snap, tidal basin is without a doubt your best spot.
St. Louis, Missouri
Washington DC takes the USA cherry blossom buzz, but St. Louis is an amazing alternative. The city is one of the more underrated U.S. destinations with a major culinary scene, variety of pro sports teams, famous barbecue and world class gardens. If you found yourself there in Spring, Missouri Botanical Gardens is flooded with gorgeous cherry tree varietals and the famous St. Louis arch makes for the perfect backdrop.
There are a million good reasons to visit Vancouver, and you can count the 150,000 plus cherry trees as one of them. With snowcapped backdrops and reflective waters all around, it’s the perfect place to stroll and enjoy springtime at its best. When you do, be sure to pass through Elizabeth Park where a wide variety of festivities kick off around April.