Most of us can agree that, in general, winter sucks. For those of us who live in locations with subzero temperatures and a significant accumulation of snow well into March, the season has little to offer. We here at Paste try to make the most of it. We’ve covered the positive aspects of the season, like cold-weather festivals, destinations to help you warm up and idyllic winter escapes. And yet, when those first signs of spring start to appear, we would be lying if we said we weren’t rejoicing. This week’s Bucket List brings you one of the most beautiful indications that spring is finally here. From Brooklyn to Bonn, these are eight destinations for cherry blossom spotting around the world.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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Not far from Beethoven's home in Bonn, Germany you'll find Heerstrasse. Dubbed Cherry Blossom Avenue, this quaint street transforms into a tunnel of pink petals for a few weeks each spring as the cherry blossom trees that line it bloom. The trees were planted in the 1980s and the street has since been a wildly popular spot for hobby photographers. During this time, there's also a cherry blossom festival held in the area, including a photography contest for those who feel they can capture the beauty of the blooms.
Photo by Janis Kloks, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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There is no more iconic a destination to witness cherry blossoms in bloom than Japan. From south to north, the country bursts into shades of pink and white each spring. The season for hanami, the Japanese term for cherry blossom viewing, typically occurs from late March until early May. While there's no shortage of spectacular destinations to see the trees, Kyoto is among the best. The Japan Weather Association is predicting this bucket list-worthy city will be sporting its best cherry blossoms between March 28 and April 11. Head for Philosopher's Path for one of the most photogenic spots. If your timing is right, you just might spot the city's iconic geishas admiring the blooms alongside you. The gardens at Heian Shrine and Maruyama Park are also home to cherry trees and are therefore popular stops among visitors and locals as well.
Photo by torne, CC BY 2.0
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Sakura Matsuri, the annual cherry blossom festival held at Brooklyn Botanical Garden, celebrates Japanese culture and hanami to its fullest. With 26 varieties of cherry blossoms, the gardens get blanketed in petals of pink and white from Japanese Hill to the Cherry Esplanade. This year's festival will run April 29 to 30 and includes more than 60 events during the two days.
Photo by Garrett Ziegler, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Washington, D.C. hosts the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, the self-proclaimed greatest springtime celebration in the nation. From March 15 through April 16 an assortment of events take place in honor of the season's most spectacular blooms. This year's festival marks the 105th anniversary of Tokyo gifting the U.S. with the capital's cherry blossom trees. It's also the 90th anniversary of the festival itself. Among the month-long calendar of events is the Pink Tie Party, Blossom Kite Festival, parade, as well as the Japan-America Society's Japanese Street Festival. Throughout the month, many of the capital's buildings also go pink to mark the occasion.
Photo by smilla4, CC BY-NC 2.0
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For some of the best cherry blossom spotting in Europe, head to Stockholm's Kungstradgarden. The garden and the area that surrounds it get blanketed in a canopy of pink and white each spring. Thousands of cherry trees call Stockholm home, more than 60 of which can be found in the garden. Each April, Kungstradgarden also hosts a Japanese Festival to celebrate the blooms and Japanese culture in Sweden.
Photo by Arild, CC BY 2.0
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Seoul hosts a variety of festivals to celebrate cherry blossom season in Korea. If you can only make it to one, the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival is it. Just outside the Nation Assembly stop on the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, you can witness nearly 2,000 cherry trees and an assortment of other spring flowers in bloom along the Han River. The event also includes food vendors, performances and a variety of other exhibits. Seoul Forest, all five of Korea's palaces, the Kyung Hee University campus and Seokchon Lake, which hosts the Seokchon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival, offer other noteworthy opportunities to petal peep around Korea's capital. The country's cherry blossom season usually peaks in mid-April, although it's predicted to come a little early this year. If you're hoping to catch the trees in bloom, start checking now.
Photo by Jordi Sanchez Teruel, CC BY-SA 2.0
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Vancouver bursts to life each spring as more than 40,000 cherry trees bloom across the city. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival marks the occasion with an array of events from tree walks to art classes. This year's festival will run from March 30 through April 23. Check out the event's website for a great map of what's blooming and where if you plan to attend. It includes more than 2,000 locations where visitors can petal peep. Among the prime spots are VanDusen Botanical Garden, which alone is home to hundreds of cherry trees.
Photo by mikowichs, CC BY-ND 2.0
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Paris has a considerably long cherry blossom season when compared to the other destinations in this gallery. From February until April, France's capital is often full of blooms. Some of the best cherry blossoms can be found near Notre Dame in Square Square Jean XXIII. While not the biggest concentration, certainly one of the most photo-worthy spots to catch the flowers in bloom is near the Eiffel Tower. Don't miss a trip to the botanical gardens at Jardin des Plantes either. It's home to several impressively large cherry blossom trees.
Photo by Lovisa Lagerqvist, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0