Cherry blossom season is slowly coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you've missed out on all of the beauty just yet! Yes, it may be a little too late to fly out to Japan to enjoy the display and Washington D.C. is likely inundated with travelers eager to get in on the cherry blossom festivities, but these aren't the only areas where you can catch the blooms.
There are still plenty of other places you can enjoy this natural beauty without having to worry about expensive plane tickets or large crowds. Here are the top six places to check out the cherry blossoms besides Washington D.C., with honorable mentions going to Boston and New York City, which didn't make the list.
1. St. Louis, Missouri
If you’re ready to head out to the midwest, then you’ll be sure to enjoy the display in St. Louis. There are cherry blossom trees dotted around the city, but the best place to catch the action is at the Missouri Botanical Garden, which is home to over 40 Yoshino cherry blossom trees as well as hundreds of other plants that will be in bloom. You surely won’t be disappointed by all of the beauty here.
2. Nashville, Tennessee
When you’re ready to head down south, then you’ll find a surprisingly bustling festival in dedication to the blossoming season. The Japan-America Society of Tennessee sought out to plant 1,000 trees through the city and just last year they reached their goal!
Each year Nashville has a festival and a 2.5-mile cherry blossom walk with colorful parades and children’s activities available. Other activities such as taiko drumming, traditional Japanese music, and martial arts instruction are also available to celebrate Japanese culture.
3. Salem, Oregon
If you’re ready for a cute, quaint festival with hundred-year-old roots, then Salem is the place to be. The festival originally started in the early 1900s and featured a king and queen cherry watching over their subjects, the "cherrians." Since then, the celebrations have evolved and changed, but the atmosphere still remains cheery and fun.
Several local theatres band together to put on plays and hold workshops for festival goers and there is even a kimono competition with traditional Japanese music. Plus, you can also catch the lovely daffodils, so this is an event you surely won’t want to miss out on.
4. Dallas, Texas
The Dallas Arboretum is home to over one hundred cherry blossom trees that have been lovingly planted and grown by one of the staff. Almost 20 years ago he planted ten cherry blossom trees as a fun experiment, and since then he’s planted another ten every year. This comes as a great treat to many of the visitors who weren’t expecting the wonderful blossoms.
5. Seattle, Washington
Make this trip a two-fer by visiting the fun and colorful city of Seattle and then hitting the University of Washington to catch the blooms! There are about 130 cherry blossom trees on the campus of many different varieties, which means they bloom at different times. If you missed the blooming of the classic Yoshino trees, then don’t panic! You’ll be sure to catch the next set of blooms in the coming days.
6. Portland, Oregon
If you’re already over in the Northwest, then hitting Portland for the cherry blossoms is worthwhile too. You can find the blooms at the Japanese American Historical Plaza, which was dedicated in 1990 in remembrance of the Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. Throughout the plaza, you can also find granite stones inscribed with Japanese-American poets’ famous works. This space is perfect for a calm appreciation of the beauty that this plaza provides.
Then check out our deals for Portland!
Looking for something a little more southern? Then check out destination suggestions for the Lone Star State!