One of the best things to do in spring is to go for a walk and check out all the places where you can spot cherry blossoms in the city. But brace yourself—your Instagram feed is about to be dominated by those pretty pink-petal trees now that it’s officially Cherry Blossom Festival season.
In fact, a slate of epic bashes—traditionally known as Sakura Matsuri—are taking over New York starting this weekend. The biggest celebration of all occurs at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during the weekend of April 29, but in case you can’t make it, we’ve rounded up a few other worthy alternatives where you can experience the joys of flower power.
Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival Flushing Meadows–Corona Park; 11am; free
The season of the cherry blossoms has arrived, and one of the best places to see the crisp whites and rich pinks in bloom is in Queens. Witness the beauty of Japan’s national flower, and learn about its cultural significance at this traditional ceremony, boasting taiko drums, a Japanese chorus, folk dances and a tea ceremony.
Bloomfest Essex County Branch Brook Park; 11am–5pm; free
It’s worth a trek to Newark, NJ for this floral festival. Branch Brook Park is flooded with cherry blossoms, but the green space has also planned a sea of entertainment in honor of Japanese culture. Check out the schedule of activities, including performances by Cobu Taiko Drum & Dance Troupe as well as Samurai Sword Soul. There will also be sushi, flower arrangement and drawing demonstrations while your groove to live music.
Sat 29 + Sun 30
Sakura Matsuri: Cherry Blossom Festival Brooklyn Botanic Garden; 10am; Adults $30, students and seniors $25
To celebrate the end of Hanami (read: the season of Japanese flower porn), Brooklyn Botanic Garden unveils cherry blossoms at their picturesque peak for two glorious days. But that’s only part of the draw. There’s also a Japanese tea room, an art gallery and a mini flea market hawking loot such as mouthwatering Raaka chocolates, wall scrolls and silk wraps. Stay for the jam-packed schedule of entertainment, which includes taiko drummers, cosplay actors, samurai sword masters, J-rock bands, stand-up comics and dance parties.
Cherry Blossom Festival Randall’s Island (Field 62 & 63); noon–4pm; free
Head to Randall’s Island for an afternoon of free outdoor fun during the park alliance’s annual pink-petal festival. Take in those gorgeous views of Hell Gate Bridge and Urban Farm while you take selfies with the cherry blossoms. Enjoy live music, play games, get your face painted and more.