UW Quad Corbin Schaffer

Pretty in Pink

It may be Seattle’s favorite rite of spring: the return of the cherry blossoms.

By Matthew Lombardi
An aerial view overlooking a courtyard filled with pink cherry trees and green grass with surrounding brick buildings and skyline in the background.

UW Quad Corbin Schaffer

From mid-March through early April, cherry trees light up the city with delicate, ethereal pink blooms that—depending on the weather—typically thrive for two or three weeks. During this brief magical interlude, they make a powerful impression, with each tree resembling a huge bouquet.

Cherry trees, including 1,000 presented as a gift from the Japanese Consulate in 1976, abound throughout the city—even on many residential streets, but you can behold their greatest concentration on the University of Washington’s Quad (off the south end of Memorial Way NE), a pleasing patch of grass flanked by stately collegiate Gothic buildings. The Quad’s 29 Yoshino cherry trees draw throngs of nature lovers and shutterbugs during blossom season. As you stroll, it’s as though you’re floating through a sea of pink blooms. While visiting campus, which you can easily reach by light rail, also check out Rainier Vista, at the south end of Red Square. On clear days you’ll be treated to a spectacular panorama of Mount Rainier, framed by still more glorious cherry trees.

Another prime spot for blossom-viewing, Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E) lies just south of Union Bay. Azalea Way—a three-quarters-of-a-mile-long path through this botanical bounty—is lined with cherry trees as well as azaleas, dogwoods, and magnolias. At the south end of the arboretum, the blossom-viewing continues in the Seattle Japanese Garden (1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E), a serene 3.5 acres of pagodas, ponds, and pathways.

Farther south you can view these beloved trees on foot or while driving along Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Park and Seward Park, finishing by the grove of trees at the latter park’s entrance. Another popular nearby spot with gorgeous blossoms is Rainier Beach’s Kubota Garden (9817 55th Ave S). This 20-acre sanctuary features koi ponds and a gracefully arching footbridge.


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