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If you thought you had to travel to Japan to see a truly stunning display of cherry blossoms, think again. These five cities across the United States have sweet-smelling, pink flowers blossoming that symbolize the start of spring. Check out one of these destinations to see the beautiful trees at full bloom.
It's hard to beat the blossoms in Portland. Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park is one of the most popular places downtown to see the 100 cherry trees planted there at full bloom in the spring. These trees were given to the city in 1990 and connect the park's Japanese American Historical Plaza with a sculpture known as the Friendship Circle, a pair of towers commemorating Portland's relationship with its sister city, Sapporo.
The Portland Japanese Garden is another prime spot to view the springtime flowers. In its central Flat Garden, where the four seasons are represented by various unique features, the single weeping cherry tree is a symbol of spring. You'll find Yoshino cherry trees throughout the garden and the nearby Hoyt Arboretum is also filled with gorgeous blossoms you won't want to miss.
Come to Nashville for the country music, but stay for the cherry blossoms. Thanks to a decade-long effort by the city, there are currently 1,000 cherry trees planted throughout Nashville. The trees span throughout the city's various parks and neighborhoods, which means you can catch the blooms anywhere you go.
Time your visit right and you can attend the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival has been going strong since 2009, when the city's dedicated tree-planting efforts began. In addition to expected activities like a Cherry Blossom Walk and Japanese food vendors, the festival also has a cosplay contest and a sumo suit wrestling competition for some additional and unexpected fun.
Brooklyn, New York
New York City has no shortage of iconic landmarks, entertainment, and attractions, but springtime offers cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located at the northwest corner of Prospect Park, the borough's smaller version of the more-famous Central Park. The garden's collection is home to two of the oldest cherry trees in the U.S. and over 26 different species of cherry trees. The different species also bloom at slightly different intervals, which means the garden's show lasts approximately five weeks from the earliest blossoms to the final few.
There's a reason why Washington, D.C. is the city you associate with cherry blossoms in the U.S. In 1912, the city received over 3,000 cherry trees as a gift from Tokyo, Japan's capital city. The trees were planted along the Tidal Basin and in East Potomac Park. Since then, cherry blossom season has become known as the most beautiful time to visit D.C.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event spanning four weeks with events throughout the city. Visitors can take part in festivities like Petalpalooza with live music and art exhibits or the Petal Paddle to view the blooms while kayaking in the Washington Channel. For the more stylish among us, there's the Pink Tie Party, a night filled with gourmet food, music, and fancy pink attire.
Since cherry blossom season varies every year depending on the weather, predicting the peak bloom has become a popular pastime among weather channel crews — particularly in the D.C. area. Whenever you're making travel plans, you'll want to stay up-to-date on the current forecasts and learn more about the historical bloom dates to get a sense of what to expect and when.
Although Georgia might be known for its peaches, the fruit trees aren't the only plants that put the city of Macon on the map. Located in central Georgia, Macon is recognized as the cherry blossom capital of the world, thanks to the 350,000 cherry trees that grow there. While most other cities on this list are home to several species of cherry blossom trees, Macon is home almost exclusively to the Yoshino variety. This means that the trees bloom at the same time and produce a stunning uniform effect across the city.
The city's more concentrated season also means that the annual International Cherry Blossom Festival is shorter than others around the country and occurs over only 10 days in late March. While the festival includes a variety of events throughout the city such as a scenic driving route for visitors to catch the most beautiful blossoms, the majority of events happen at Central City Park with concerts and more.