Spring has sprung in NYC, and that means the city is soon going to be full of flowers. From cherry trees in Central Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, to displays of daffodils, tulips and more at parks in every borough, Mother Nature is giving us lots of reasons to get out of the house with kids and soak up some sun. Read on to find out where, and when to catch the best spring flowers in bloom in NYC.

Manhattan

photo: Samuel Stone Pixabay

Central Park

Central Park's massive size and diverse topography provides a wide variety of places to see flowers in bloom. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Bridle Path: In early and mid-April you'll find a stunning display of cherry trees in bloom along the reservoir. Enter at 90th and Fifth at the Engineers' Gate and walk north. 

Pilgrim Hill: Popular with sledders in winter, this spot at E. 72nd and Fifth is also a prime place to see Yoshino cherry trees in bloom in mid-April. 

Swedish Cottage (Marionette Theater): This famous venue is charming any time of year, but in April and May, when the surrounding landscape is dotted tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs, it looks straight out of a fairy tale. Find it on the Park's west side near 79th Street.

Cherry Hill: A gentle slope named for the trees that bloom delicate white and pink flowers Cherry Hill overlooks the park's lake. It's mid-park at 72nd Street. 

If you're looking for something specific, check out the Central Park Conservancy's Bloom & Tree Guide, which you can search by plant, type, month and more. 

photo: Janet Lombardo

Riverside Park

This large park along the west side of Manhattan runs from 72nd Street up to 158th Street, and you can find lots of fabulous displays at various points. Check out:

Sakura Park at 122nd St: Named for the cherry trees you'll find in bloom here, usually in mid-April

83rd Street: near Mt. Tom and Warsaw Ghetto Memorial

91st Street, at the Promenade: The Garden People’s Garden is a community garden that has been maintained by volunteers for decades And if you keep walking north, you’ll come up to Crabapple Grove, which has gorgeous blossoms in the spring)

 

photo: Max Guliani for Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park

Spanning 550 acres along the west side of Manhattan (from the northern end of Battery Park City to W. 59th Street in Hell's Kitchen), Hudson River Park offers four miles of waterside recreation. 

Find out what's in bloom at any given time in the park with the Hudson River Park Conservancy's Bloom Guide, which you can find here.  

March typically brings Star Magnolias and Saucer Magnolias, and cherry trees should be blooming in early April, along with tulips. (You can see 2020's bloom timetable here.)

Online: hudsonriverpark.org

photo: Jason P. via Yelp

Randall's Island

Another spot to catch some cherry trees in bloom is Randall's Island. The island's display is so impressive there is a Cherry Blossom Festival here, as well. (No plans for a  2021 fest though.) The cherry trees of different species start blooming in early April and continue through the month and into May. You can see a guide to the Island's cherry tree bloom here

Online: randallsisland.org

Brooklyn

Prospect Park

Sprawling over 600 acres, this Olmsted & Vaux urban green space includes open spaces, woodsy enclaves and waterside spots. (Not to mention lots of places to play.) 

You can see what's in bloom in Prospect Park thanks to the Prospect Park Alliance's spring bloom guide

Highlights include:

Grand Army Plaza: Early spring brings early-blooming cherry trees, tulips and daffodils; later you'll see Eastern redbuds, and pink, late-blooming cherry trees. 

LeFrak Center at Lakeside: Find an early spring display of bright yellow and orange Witch Hazel here. With warmer temps in April comes a profusion of white blossoms from Serviceberry, Chokeberry, Witch Alder, and Foxglove Beardtongue. Late spring brings a final act of flowering dogwoods and dewberries. 

Litchfield Villa: In front of this stately pre-Civil War era mansion on Prospect Park West, you'll find Carmen’s Garden, which features an impressive tulip display in April. May brings pink and white blossoms of crabapple and hawthorn trees, with an assist from colorful annuals. In back of the building you'll find Korean dogwood trees with cream-colored flowers. 

Long Meadow: A popular spot for lounging, sunbathing and picnicking, the Long Meadow is also home to several kids of fragrant flowering trees. At the north end, peach and white magnolia and dogwood trees bloom in early spring, and later lilacs bloom along with hanging yellowwood blooms. 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Not too far from Prospect Park is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, home to one of the biggest cherry blossom festivals in the city, which takes place in mid-April. (Want to know when the trees will bloom? It's not an exact science, but this may help. Many continue into May. For the latest on what trees have bloomed check out this bloom tracker which is updated daily.) To enable people to enjoy the cherry tree bloom safely, the BBG has extended its hours from April 17 to May 9. 

Early spring brings lots of other gorgeous blooms though: the garden's display of magnolia trees is gorgeous and luxurious, and you can see many, many spring bulbs here, such as daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops and tiny dutch irises. Also in April, the tulip display around the garden's central pool is striking. 

Lilacs start in April and go through June, depending on the variety. 

You can see a bloom guide for the entire year here

You must make a reservation to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The garden is closed on Mondays. 

990 Washington Ave.
Crown Heights
718-623-7200
Online: bbg.org

Bronx

New York Botanical Garden

As one would expect, the New York Botanical Garden is a spectacular place to see spring (and summer!) blooms. (And don't forget, Yayoi Kusama's Cosmic Nature is coming to the Garden this spring!) Tickets must be purchased on advance here. 

The Garden's impressive collection of daffodils numbers in literally the hundreds of thousands, and you can find the yellow flowers in several places here.  and don’t miss In April, Daffodil Hill is covered with them, and you'll find many antique cultivars  that were planted in the early 20th century. The Rock Garden is home to tiny species daffodils no more than three inches high, still more varieties can be found on the Daylily/Daffodil Walk, and Daffodil Valley is where the Murray Liasson Narcissus Collection is located. See how far along the daffodil bloom is with the Garden's Daffodil Tracker.

You'll find all kinds of spring-flowering trees here, including crabapple, magnolia and cherry trees, and Mother's Day is about when the NYBG Azalea Garden puts on an amazing display. (You can follow the azalea bloom with this tracker.)

The lilac collection, which blooms in early and late spring thanks to a wide variety of plants, dates to 1896 and has been a popular draw for more than a hundred years. It was expanded in 2016.


2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx
718-817-8700
Online: nybg.org

 

photo: Wave Hill

Wave Hill Public Garden

This public garden and cultural center in the Bronx has extended its hours for spring from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. It's a pleasure to visit any season, but spring highlights are tulips, magnolias, trillium and glory-of-the-snow. 

Wav Hill hosts many programs for kids and families including weekly family art projects, bird-watching, and more. 

Note that you must reserve tickets in advance to visit Wave Hill. 

Tickets: $10/adults; $6/seniors, $4/kids
4900 Independence Ave. 
Bronx
718-549-3200
Online: https://www.wavehill.org

Queens

Queens Botanical Garden

Spring at The Queens Botanical Garden brings blooming cherry trees on Cherry Circle, magnolias on Magnolia Path, vibrant displays of daffodils and tulips, viburnum, dogwood, eastern redbud and more. To see what's blooming when, click here.

This spring the garden is celebrating the season with a special event, Flower Patch, on select Sundays (including Mother's Day). Unique floral and garden creature installations will transform the QBG Farm into a fantastic flower spectacle creating an immersive environment and stunning backdrop for photos. (Get your Insta on!) Visitors can home their own pot of flowers and a floral-themed grab-and-go craft activity kit. Timed ticket fee includes general Garden admission and entry to the Patch. 

Flower Patch at Queens Botanical Garden
Tickets: $15/adults; $12/ages 4-12, seniors
Sun., April 18 & 25; May 2 & 9
43-50 Main St. 
Flushing
718-886-3800
Online: queensbotanical.org

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Not too far from the Queens Botanical Garden is Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the former site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fair. The park's impressive Unisphere is surrounded by scores of flowering trees throughout April, and there's lots more to explore once you've taken in the display. Check out the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum, the Queens Zoo, 

The Queens Museum (where you'll find the New York City Panorama); the New York Hall of Science (where you can catch a drive-in movie; the Queens Zoo, and Citi Field, home to the Mets

Grand Central Parkway & Van Wyck Expressway
Corona
718-760-6565
Online: nycgovparks.org

Staten Island

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

This 83-acre campus on Staten Island is home to numerous cultural institutions and gardens, including The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden (NYCSG), one of two authentic classical outdoor Chinese gardens built in the United States. Built entirely with architectural elements created in Suzhou, China, the NYCSG puts on a beautiful show in spring with flowering magnolias, cherries, mahonia, jasmine, and redbud. Much of Snug Harbor is free to explore, but admission to NYCSG is $5 per person, with kids under five admitted for free. (Staten Island residents are free the first Saturday of every month.) 

Another must with kids is the Connie Gretz Secret Garden, an enclosed space with a shrub maze and three towers that resemble castle turrets. It is inspired by the book The Secret Garden and admission is $3 for kids and free for adults accompanied by a child. (It recently has only been open on Sundays.) 

Need more to explore? Check out the Staten Island Museum, the Staten Island Children’s Museum and the Noble Maritime Collection, all of which are also at Snug Harbor. 

1000 Richmond Terr. 
718-425-3504
Staten Island 
Online: snug-harbor.org

—Mimi O’Connor

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