Flowering cherry trees burst into bloom, usually from mid-March through mid-April throughout the Pacific Northwest. Exactly when depends on the variety: early blooming versus late blooming.
Seattle cherry blossom 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. There are also flowering plum trees, which look very similar. Plum trees tend to bloom earlier than cherry trees.
Early and late blooming cherry blossom trees can be seen on many Seattle streets (along with flowering plum, red camellias and pink/white star and saucer magnolias) before and after the classic and spectacular UW display.
The cherry trees on the University of Washington (UW) “Quad” in Seattle are typically in peak bloom around the third week of March. During my years as an undergrad on the University of Washington campus, the peak flowering time on the Quad always seemed to come during spring break when we weren’t on campus. Sigh.
2019 Cherry Blossom Season
Updated March 12, 2019. The recent cool weather has slowed cherry blossoms about one week.
The earliest blooming varieties of plum and cherry blossom trees along Seattle city streets
will likely could burst into bloom the weekend of March 9 March 16, particularly if the weather warms up (likely) and the sun comes out (semi-likely).
The cherry blossom trees in The Quad on the UW Campus should be
at peak blooming between March 16-31 March 23-April 7, with peak bloom expected the weekend of March 30-31. For more info, see section below for University of Washington. Check the status of UW cherry blossoms on the live web cam in the University of Washington section in the list below.
The list below includes several more suggestions for locations in Seattle where you can find cherry blossom trees in particular splendor, arranged in order from north to south throughout the city.
Updated April 25, 2019. Except for some street trees in isolated neighborhoods, cherry blossom trees throughout the city have mostly leafed out. The UW Quad peaked March 30-April 7. Mount Baker to Seward Park peaked April 13-21. So, the 2019 season was roughly March 30-April 21.
List of cherry blossom tree locations in Seattle
Here are some of the best parks and locations to see cherry blossoms in Seattle from about mid-March to mid-April.
(Listed roughly going north to south 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. It is one of the most stunning displays of cherry blossoms in the entire country. (Yes, even that other Washington.)
The Quad is short for the Liberal Arts Quadrangle. This area of campus is edged by several building on campus: Savery, Smith, Raitt, and Miller Halls. They surround a grassy area, crisscrossed by brick and pebbled paths.
Getting to the Seattle UW Campus. If you take Link Light Rail (use this Sound Transit trip planner), then you’ll be treated to a spectacular spring walk from UW Station to The Quad. Its a straight path up the campus along Rainier Vista, through Red Square, and onto The Quad. It’s an easy two mile walk one-way (though with a bit of an incline).
If you plan to return via another route, don’t forget to turn around at the top of Rainier Vista to look at the view before you enter Red Square. You will see why the lane is so-named for its breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier, which will command the sky. Of course, providing you visit on a day the “mountain is out”.
Find The Quad on the UW campus map (up and to the right of Red Square). If you can’t make it during peak blooms, here are some other locations on campus where trees are flowering earlier, and later, than the cherry blossom tress in the Quad:
- Early varieties of plum trees that bloom before the Quad cherry trees can be found on the UW campus at the southwest entrance to the Quad, near Suzzallo Library.
- Later varieties of cherry trees that bloom after The Quad trees are found between Gerberding Hall and the Drumheller Fountain.
For the latest UW cherry tree bloom status, follow on Twitter @uwcherryblossom or UW Facebook page, or watch the live webcam on the UW Quad, which you can check out on the webcam on the UW Quad (University of Washington Seattle Campus) below:
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.
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 begin to leaf out as their blossoms fall. So early- to mid-April tends to be the best guess.
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.