Cherry Blossoms in Washington State: When They Bloom and Where to See Them

Written by Mike Edmisten
Updated: July 28, 2023
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The phrase “Washington cherry blossoms” may immediately bring to mind the world-famous blooms of Washington, DC cherry blossoms. That’s understandable. The blooms in the U.S. capital are magnificent, to be sure.

But on the other side of the country, Washington State has its own splendid display of springtime cherry blossoms that ought not to be overlooked. The Evergreen State, along with its namesake evergreens, has a collection of cherry blossoms that are certain to put a “spring” in your step after a long, gray winter.

Here are some of the best places to view these beautiful blossoms throughout Washington State.

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Cherry blossoms In Olympia, Washington, USA

Cherry blossoms aren’t limited to the nation’s capital. They decorate Olympia, Washington’s state capital, each spring.

© Lara


In the extreme southern part of the state, right on the Washington/Oregon border, the city of Vancouver blooms each spring with 100 Shirofugen cherry trees. The trees were planted at Clark College as a sign of friendship between the region and Japan.

Cherry trees are native to Japan, where they are highly prized for their symbolism of the beauty and brevity of life. The Japanese tradition of hanami (translated as “flower viewing) is a time when the people of Japan slow down, picnic, converse, and relax while taking in the brief but breathtaking beauty of the nation’s cherry blossoms.

Vancouver established a sister-city relationship with the Japanese city of Joyo in 1995. The annual Sakura Festival has been held at Clark College since 2006. The cherry blossoms blooms are a springtime hanami tradition for students and Vancouver residents alike.

Close-up of a cherry blossom

Cherry blossoms herald the long-awaited arrival of spring in Washington.

© wakasugi


The state capital boasts some of the loveliest cherry blossoms anywhere in the state. The grounds of the State Capitol building are awash with pink and white cherry blossom petals each spring. Viewing the cherry blossoms between the domed Legislative Building and the office buildings of the House and Senate is an Olympian springtime tradition.

And as an added bonus, you’ll also want to check out the “Sine Die Tree” while you’re there. It’s a large Saucer Magnolia tree at the southeast end of the Legislative Building. Tradition states that the legislative session is supposed to end when the blossoms are in full bloom. Special legislative sessions can extend past the tree’s bloom, meaning that lawmakers often ignore this unofficial, non-legally-binding tradition. But it’s still a super cool tree, nonetheless!

Yoshino Flowering  Cherry Trees outside the Legislative Building, Olympia, Washington

The Yoshino flowering cherry trees outside the Legislative Building in Olympia are springtime stunners!

© Shebley


The Lilac City certainly lives up to its nickname in the spring. The Green Bluff area is especially lovely in the spring, with all the farms and orchards in the area.

For example, Cherry Hill Orchard in Mead, Washington, is a favorite site for photographers during the brief cherry blossom bloom. Bridal and family photo sessions, along with scenic photography opportunities, yield some unforgettable shots each spring.

Close up of pink cherry blossoms on a branch against a blurred green background

Washington’s cherry blossoms on a bright sunny day are unbeatable!



Point Defiance Park outside of Tacoma is a 760-acre arboreal paradise. The hiking trails and gardens are filled with all manner of tree species, including cherry trees that adorn the garden with beautiful blooms each spring. 

While at the park, you can also enjoy saltwater beaches, a marina, a waterfront promenade, as well as the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Get out and enjoy Washington’s cherry blossoms in the spring before the wind blows them away!



The Emerald City is certainly a Washington jewel in the springtime. Seattle celebrates its lovely spring blooms with the annual Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival. There are multitudes of locales to view Seattle’s annual cherry blossom spectacle. Here are a few of the best.

University of Washington

The University of Washington is famous for its iconic cherry blossoms. The densest collection of campus blossoms is on the Quad, where 29 Yoshino cherry trees produce a panorama of pastel pink and white petals each spring. 

university of Washington,Seattle,washingto n,usa. 04-03-2017: cherry blossom blooming in the garden with crowded.

University of Washington students and Seattle residents enjoy the arrival of spring with the onset of the campus cherry blossoms.


Clones of the Quad’s trees are growing in other areas of the campus, along with additional varieties of cherry trees, including Kwanzan, Hisakura, Higan, Mt. Fuji, and Shirofugen. The cherry trees, along with a variety of other spring blooms, make the campus resplendent with spring colors. When the blooms are at their peak, the UW campus is a picture of springtime perfection in the Puget Sound Region.

 A magnificent photo of the Cherry blossom tree at the University of Washington in Seattle

The cherry blossoms on the University of Washington campus are a Seattle springtime tradition.


Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum‘s 230 acres feature hundreds of plants and trees, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the Northwest United States. There are also a lovely collection of cherry trees and a beautiful Japanese garden.

Jefferson Park

Jefferson Park in south Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood features some utterly stunning views. The cherry trees in the park were originally planted in 1912. An additional 25 trees were planted in 2012 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the park.  

Seward Park 

Seward Park displays numerous cherry trees, some of which were donated by Japan in the 1920s. It’s a wonderful place for the whole family, with a playground and the Seward Park Audubon Center.

A view of Lake Washington from Seward Park in Seattle, Washington. A cherry tree with pink blossoms frames the lake and Canada Geese on the lawn.

Cherry blossoms frame this view of Lake Washington from Seattle’s Seward Park.


Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is located just 14 miles east of Seattle in the “Issaquah Alps.” Over 3,100 acres of forest land and miles upon miles of hiking trails draw thousands of visitors each year. 

Springtime in the park is lovely with all the spring blooms, including the park’s collection of cherry blossoms. It’s a beautiful place to spend a spring day in the Pacific Northwest.

When Do Washington’s Cherry Blossoms Peak?

Timing the cherry blossom bloom is difficult because it varies from year to year. The weather is the single most important factor in determining when the blooms will appear, when they will peak, and when they will fall.

Peak bloom is declared when 70% of a region’s cherry trees are in full bloom. The peak bloom on the University of Washington campus occurs on average in the third week of March. But the blooms can arrive anywhere from mid-March to early April. It’s definitely a bummer when the blooms arrive while most students are away during spring break!

Lecture Hall and Campus Bench, University of Washington, cherry blossoms

The cherry blossoms at the University of Washington are beautiful, but also very short-lived.


If March temperatures are fairly warm, the blooms may appear sooner. But if March is unusually cool, the blooms may hold off until early to mid-April.

Once the cherry blossoms do reach the peak stage, they don’t last long. Windy or rainy conditions, which are common in the Pacific Northwest, can easily cut the bloom short. In a normal year, the blooms will last 4-5 days at peak. If the weather is calm, they may hold on a little longer.

It’s not always easy to nail down the timing, but it’s worth the effort. Monitor the weather forecast and listen to local floral experts. They will have their finger on the pulse of the spring blooming season. That will give you the best possible chance to catch Washington’s cherry blooms at their glorious peak.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Mike is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on geography, agriculture, and marine life. A graduate of Cincinnati Christian University and a resident of Cincinnati, OH, Mike is deeply passionate about the natural world. In his free time, he, his wife, and their two sons love the outdoors, especially camping and exploring US National Parks.

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