Spring’s coming! Celebrate its arrival by welcoming cherry blossom blooms. And to skip crowds in Washington DC, check out cherry blossoms in Philadelphia. In April, consider visiting cherry blossoms in Philadelphia for a more relaxed way to enjoy Sakura, the arrival of cherry blossoms. Read on to learn where to see cherry blossoms in Philadelphia in 2021. And learn how you can experience the beautiful blooms from the socially distanced comfort of your living room.
Celebrating the arrival of cherry blossoms is a traditional Japanese way to appreciate the beauty of life. In fact, this tradition has a name, Sakura. And Philly, the City of Brotherly Love, is lucky to have thousands of cherry blossom trees. The Japanese government gave 1000 trees to Philadelphia to honor the 150th anniversary of the U.S.
Cherry blossom season in Philly usually is about 2 weeks in April. And each spring, peak cherry blossom times differ.
Fairmount Park for Cherry Blossoms in Philadelphia
My favorite place to experience cherry blossoms in Philadelphia is Fairmount Park’s Horticultural Center. It is a free public park in West Philadelphia.
The Horticulture Center has two parallel lines of cherry trees. Two huge pink weeping cherry trees anchor the rows. It’s fun to see kids playing beneath the hanging flowers of these giant trees.
The large grassy field at the Horticulture Center is dotted with flowering trees. Plus, when it’s warm, the field is perfect for picnics, Frisbee, strollers, and reading. And the field is also a sculpture garden. While my family is at the Horticulture Center, we like to slip into the greenhouse. Inside the greenhouse are exotic plants, sculpture, and the humid hothouse air.
The Horticulture Center is free and has a bathroom. And there’s plenty of free parking. Unless you visit during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival of Philadelphia (canceled for 2021) when parking is tight.
Cherry Blossom Festival
While the timing of the Cherry Blossom Festival varies each year, for 2021, lucky you, the April festival is virtual. So likely the Horticultural Center won’t get too crowded, even during peak bloom.
Normally, a highlight of the Cherry Blossom Festival is a weekend of live music and family-friendly performances of Japanese culture. But in April 2021 the festival is virtual only. On the upside, it will be accessible to everyone. Video of cherry trees in Philadelphia, Japanese Sakura culture, music performances, arts & crafts, and flower arranging will be available in April 2021. For details, check here. The festival, including Sakura Sunday, is organized by the Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Japanese House for Cherry Blossoms in Philadelphia
A lovely place to enjoy cherry blossoms in Philadelphia is across the street from the Horticulture Center, also in West Philly. The Shofusu Japanese House and Garden looks like a 17th-century Japanese house. And surrounding the house is a koi pond and Japanese garden dotted with cherry trees.
I especially like the view of cherry blossom blooms from the wooden porch. The Japanese House charges an entrance fee. It will re-open to the public on March 20, 2021. For more on why it’s fun, here.
See Cherry Blossoms in Philadelphia for Free
Winding along the east bank of the Schuylkill River is a busy street, Kelly Drive. And between Kelly Drive and the river is a ribbon of public park. The narrow park has green grass, a bike and walking path, sculptures. And of course, cherry trees.
Bikers, runners, and strollers all use the path. Picnickers, readers, and photographers sit on the grass under the blooming trees. Rowers enjoy the view of cherry blossoms from their boats on the river. And it’s free to use the path or picnic along the river underneath the cherry blossoms.
Where to Eat after Seeing Cherry Blossoms in Philadelphia
When we’re hungry after a long walk along Schuylkill River path, we stop at the outdoor cafe at Lloyd Hall. It’s at the end of Boathouse Row. Check out the casual sandwiches, baked goods, and ice cream at the Cosmic Cafe. Plenty of Covid-safe outdoor seating. Plus, there’s a public bathroom.
Springtime in Philadelphia is a joy. If you don’t make it to Philly in time for April cherry blossoms, the azaleas and other spring flowers follow soon. While I love Philadelphia year round, Philadelphia gardens are a special treat in April and May.