Spring in the Bay Area brings a slew of captivating flower blooms, from tulips at Golden Gate Park to the almond blossoms throughout Central California. Cherry blossoms are up next, with peak bloom time usually happening in March and April. Here’s a rundown of our favorite places to spot them in San Francisco and surrounding areas.
Where to see cherry blossoms in San Francisco
San Francisco has already seen a lovely display of plum blossoms around the city, and the cherry blossoms aren’t far behind. Your first stop should be Golden Gate Park which will be alive with endless spring blooms.
A no-brainer is the Japanese Tea Garden, where you can sip tea in the original ochaya (tea house) or snap photos of the cherry blossoms with the pagoda as a backdrop. SF Botanical Garden’s Temperate Asia Garden also has a few cherry trees that are set to bloom this spring, and both gardens are free for SF residents.
Finally, make sure you keep an eye out at Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park, because it’s home to 7 more cherry trees.
Outside of Golden Gate Park, a visit to Japantown is definitely in order. The neighborhood is dotted with plenty of cherry trees, but you can start at Japantown Peace Plaza or the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC). The JCCCNC’s cherry trees were vandalized a few years ago, but after the community raised tens of thousands of dollars to replace them, the Center was able to plant four new cherry trees that are treasured by the neighborhood.
Top it off with a day well-spent at the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival on April 8-9 and 15-16.
Keep your eyes open for cherry blossoms throughout the city, because you’re likely to stumble across them in residential neighborhoods, gardens, and other local green spaces such as the Presidio and the Palace of Fine Arts.
More places to see cherry blossoms in the Bay Area
If you really want to make the most of cherry blossom season, it’s worth taking a look beyond San Francisco as well. The Bay Area has a number of Japanese-style gardens and cherry tree groves that are absolutely breathtaking this time of year.
San Jose’s Japanese Friendship Garden is the site of the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival. It was inspired by the Korakuen Garden in San Jose’s sister city of Okayama, and you can find cherry trees blooming on the shores of its 3 ponds.
The Hakone Estate and Gardens in Saratoga cover 18 acres and date back over a century. They’re currently selling tickets to their Cherry Blossom Night Viewing events between March 20-April 18.
Cupertino will host their annual Cherry Blossom Festival on April 29-30, but you can also pay a visit to the festival grounds at Memorial Park to see if you can find any cherry blossoms before then.
Finally, Woodside’s Filoli Estate & Gardens is a must during the springtime. Look for a field of over 1 million daffodils; tens of thousands of tulips; flowering trees including cherry, apple, and pear; and the estate’s characteristic wisteria bloom.
San Ramon is an essential stop for anyone wanting to see some cherry blossoms, as the city has numerous blooms to witness around town. Visit Rancho San Ramon Community Park or take a drive down Bollinger Canyon Road for a few cherry tree groves that will be absolutely beautiful this spring.
You can also head across the Bay Bridge to the UC Berkeley campus to see a robust grove of cherry blossoms at the western entrance. You might catch some magnolia trees still in bloom while you’re at it.
Finally, the lovely Hayward Japanese Gardens are lovely to visit all year round. The 3.5-acre space has a few cherry trees dotted around and the humble garden is considered a local hidden gem.