Flowering cherry trees burst into bloom, usually from late March through mid-May throughout the Pacific Northwest. The season begins with (red/pink) buds that burst into (pink/white) flower; as the flowers fade, the trees display two-tone color as (green/red) leaves start to unfold. During my years as an undergrad on the University of Washington campus, the peak flowering time was always seemed to come during spring break when we weren’t on campus. Sigh. Early blooming cherry blossom trees can be seen on many Seattle streets (along with red camellias and pink/white magnolias).
2018 blooming season is expected to be normal. The earliest blooming varieties along Seattle city streets appeared the weekend of March 10. The cherry blossom trees in The Quad on the UW Campus should be in bloom by the weekend of March 19 and lasting about two weeks.
The list below includes several suggestions for locations in Seattle where you can find cherry blossom trees in particular splendor, arranged in order from north to south.
List of cherry blossom tree locations in Seattle
Green Lake Park, one of Seattle’s most beloved parks in the center of a dense urban neighborhood, serves as a natural preserve for hundreds of species of trees and plants, as well as numerous birds and waterfowl. The 2.8-mile path around the lake provides a perfect recreational spot for runners, bikers, skaters and walkers. Supplement your walk with the book Trees of Greenlake by Arthur Lee Jacobson (also available from the Seattle Public Library).
University of Washington “Quad” boasts 30 Japanese cherry trees (pictured above). The Quad is short for the Liberal Arts Quadrangle and is edged by Savery, Smith, Raitt, and Miller Halls surrounding a grassy area, criss-crossed by brick and pebbled paths. It is one of the most stunning displays in the entire country. Find it on the UW campus map and track current status on Twitter at https://twitter.com/uwcherryblossom. Check out the live webcam at the UW Quad at the end of this list.
Washington Park Arboretum, Azalea Way near the Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112 (Google map), boasts flowering cherry trees along with barberry, camellia, halesia, maple, madrona, magnolia, rhododendron, and serviceberry.
Lake Washington Boulevard Park from Mount Baker Park to Seward Park features a lakeside paved walking path lined with cherry blossoms trees, plus water fowl, stunning views, and much more. These trees tend to bloom later than other areas, usually around the time the trees in the UW Quad are leafing out as their blossoms fall.
Jefferson Park, the sixth largest park in the city of Seattle, offers unparalleled views of the Duwamish River, the city and the Olympic Mountains. The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee donated 25 cherry trees to be planted at Jefferson Park. The Olmsted inspired path system flanked by trees offers a wonderful respite from city life along with many active opportunities. The park is the home to the Jefferson Park Golf Course, the Jefferson Community Center, Jefferson Lawn Bowling, Jefferson Skatepark and Beacon Mountain.
Check out the webcam on the UW Quad (University of Washington Seattle Campus):