That magical few weeks. Those incredible shades of pink on so many streets and in so many parks. Pink fever takes over the city. It’s cherry blossoms in Vancouver.
In Vancouver?! Yes, it surprised me, too, but I’ve seen the most memorable cherry blossoms of my life there. I haven’t been to Japan yet, I might add. But it’s mostly Japanese cherry trees that make the Vancouver cherry blossoms so magical, and there are over 40,000 cherry trees in the city.
If you’re excited about hunting for cherry trees and endlessly photographing cherry blossoms, this post is for you. Only, you can’t enjoy it endlessly, because it’s a very short period of the year, hence we appreciate it even more. But I’ll tell you where to go and how to find out when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, so that you can take that perfect photo under the gorgeous fluffy pink canopy.
On that note, your photo might not be as sunny as you imagine. March and April in Vancouver are quite unpredictable. But you might have a chance to photograph cherry blossoms under the dramatic stormy sky or experience “pink snow” if it’s windy. In any case, keep your rain jacket close by.
When is cherry blossom season in Vancouver?
Like blossoms in general, it varies a bit from year to year, but the cherry blossom season in Vancouver typically begins in early March and ends in mid-May. If it’s a cold spring (or a particularly warm one), it might shift a few weeks in either direction.
Peak blossom time is usually April, and you can hardly go anywhere in Vancouver without seeing at least a few of the blossoming trees. About 50 different cultivars bloom at different times throughout the season. Bright pink Akebono trees are among the first ones, dark pink Kanzan cherry trees blossom around mid-April.
Best Vancouver cherry blossoms on a map
Okay, it depends on the current year where the best cherry blossom is. But generally, there are places which are likely to be very impressive during each Vancouver cherry blossom season. Here they are on a map – and read on for details:
Best places to see cherry blossom in Vancouver
What makes a place “the best” to see cherry blossoms? While there’s no objective decision, I considered a few things before putting together this list: the size of the cherry tree grove, how picturesque it is and how scenic/central/accessible the location is.
Other great things to do in Vancouver:
So here, here, the list of the best Vancouver cherry blossom spots for all of you to enjoy:
It’s among the first places to see cherry blossoms in Vancouver each spring, and it’s also one of the most central locations. It’s busy, but it’s quite likely that you’ll pass by Burrard Station even on a brief visit.
There’s a nice archway of Akebono cherry trees in Art Phillips Park, right behind Burrard Station.
Another central location is Granville Square, near the Waterfront Station. It also has a pretty archway of Akebono trees, with the (likely snowy) North Shore mountains in the background.
David Lam Park
David Lam Park is “Vancouver’s Central Park”, with a large grassy lawn and the glassy skyline. It has lots of Akebono trees planted in commemoration of the Olympics in 2010, and you can also find plenty on the nearby streets.
David Lam Park is along the False Creek Seawall, and it’s a scenic park, anyway. If you missed cherry blossoms, look for magnolia blossoms, because that’s up next. 🙂
at the eastern edge of Lost Lagoon
Stanley Park is a highlight of any Vancouver visit. Though it’s too large to be “full of cherry trees”, there are spots where you find beautiful cherry tree groves. My favorite is the eastern edge of Lost Lagoon, with a photogenic pink cherry tree tunnel.
But you find cherry trees near the Rose Garden, along the path that leads to the Japanese War Memorial and along the Seawall, too.
Devonian Harbour Park
Devonian Harbour Park is a tiny one at the edge of Stanley Park as you walk from Coal Harbour. But as small as it is, it’s full of cherry trees, and one grove is particularly dense and picturesque.
Coal Harbour Seawall
The Coal Harbour Seawall has some Akebono cherry trees, and combined with the view of the North Shore Mountains, it’s quite a spectacular place to experience the Vancouver cherry blossom.
Queen Elizabeth Park
It’s the “go to” place for first outdoor dates and group photos with a beautiful background, why would cherry blossoms be the exception? It’s not. Vancouverites flock to the park to take pictures of the majestic cherry tree grove and picnic under the pink trees.
But where exactly to find the cherry trees in this large park?
The park entrance at Cambie Street and West 33rd Street is the prime cherry blossom photo spot in Queen Elizabeth Park – and it can get quite busy as such.
You also find a few cherry trees at the duck pond, and the southern entrance on West 37th Street is lined by cherry trees, as well. Though not inside the park, West 38th, 39th and West 40th Avenues are worth a walk, as well. They’re residential streets, lined by cherry trees on both sides.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Vancouver’s largest botanical garden has more than 100 cherry trees in the Japanese Garden, and it’s usually a venue for Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival events.
Vancouver City Hall
Honestly, the Vancouver City Hall is not a building you have to see at any cost, and it’s also outside of the downtown area. But the pops of pink in front of it makes it such a lovely sight!
Vanier Park is not dominated by cherry trees, but you find a few Akebono trees if you go to the Museum of Vancouver. However, walk further south along the Seawall for the true highlight…
This is my favorite hidden spot to photograph cherry blossoms without people around. Creekside Park is small, but there’s a nice row of Akebono trees, and the park offers great views of Burrard Bridge and the downtown skyline. But it’s out of downtown and not a well-known spot, and I’ve never seen too many people here (but those few just can’t stop shooting pictures, including me).
Ron Basford Park (Granville Island)
There’s a few cherry trees at the eastern edge of Granville Island, in Ron Basford Park. The cherry tree grove might not be the most spectacular, but the location is quite nice, anyway.
Ah, Kitsilano Beach, one of the best places to chill out on a sunny day! And you surprised me with an incredible cherry blossom, too. Large cherry trees bloom in Kitsilano Beach Park and behind the Tennis Courts, but there’s a few behind the playground, as well.
Since I’ve never been a student in Vancouver, UBC campus means cherry blossoms to me. With over 20 different cultivars around the campus, anyone can calm their nerves marveling at some of the pink beauties at the right time of the year.
Nitobe Memorial Garden is a lovely botanical garden where you can see cherry trees in a traditional Japanese setting. But you find cherry trees at the Lower Mall and on the front lawn of Regent College.
More fun things to do in Vancouver:
Best residential streets to photograph cherry blossoms in Vancouver
You might have already realized that it’s impossible to visit Vancouver at cherry blossom time and not see any blossoming trees. They’re scattered throughout the city, not just in parks and botanical gardens, but cherry trees line lots of residential streets.
No, I won’t list all, only the most famous locations – and with the reminder that these are residential streets, so please be respectful, don’t trespass private property or block traffic just because you found the perfect angle for your cherry blossom photo.
Nelson Street (between Broughton Street and Jervis Street)
Walk Nelson Street from Broughton Street to Jervis Street, and also between Bidwell Street to Cardero Street.
Graveley Street (between Lillooet Street and Rupert Street)
This section of Graveley Street has two blocks of gorgeous blossoms which form a pretty pink canopy.
East 3rd Avenue (between Rupert Street and Skeena Street)
Here’s another pink tunnel of cherry blossoms that spans for two blocks and ends at the golden globes of the Akali Singh Sikh Temple.
West 16th Avenue (between Maple Street and Granville Street)
You find five consecutive blocks of cherry trees on West 16th Avenue between Maple Street and Granville Street.
The Arbutus Ridge neighborhood has several different species of cherry trees. West 22nd Avenue has eight consecutive blocks, but Yew Street & West 22nd Avenue, West 22nd Avenue between Arbutus Street and Carnarvon Street and Vine Street & West 20th Ave are also great spots.
Marinaside Crescent is a short walk from David Lam Park, and cherry trees line the quiet residential street.
Best places to see cherry blossom in Greater Vancouver
The best place to see cherry blossoms in the Greater Vancouver area is Garry Point Park in Richmond. It’s a nice coastal park any time of year, but cherry blossoms are magical!
Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby has a cluster of trees along the path near Horizons restaurant. Lots of residential trees turn pink, too, like streets along North Cliff Avenue or Belcarra Drive. But there’s a gorgeous cherry tree in the park right by our home. You get the point: just walk around, with your eyes open. 🙂
Fleetwood Park in Surrey also has a lovely alleyway of cherry trees.
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2023
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in April each year. It’s not one big festival, rather a series of events and activities. The Big Picnic is the kickoff event, with live music, art activities and workshops, and it’s traditionally held in David Lam Park, in the heart of Yaletown.
Tree Talks & Walks are free guided tours led by locals, and they give you a great excuse to play tourist in your own city, or get to know the Vancouver neighborhoods as a visitor.
Sakura Days Japan Fair will be on Apr 15-16 in 2023, and it’s an open-air fair about all things Japan, like Japanese food, performances, arts.
But where and when exactly will you see the cherry blossoms in 2023? The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has put together an incredibly detailed map of all the best spots in Vancouver, along with the current status of blooming (sometimes with pictures). Other than that, just keep your head up during Skytrain rides and walk around in this wonderful city as spring comes.
8 essentials to pack for Vancouver
Waterproof rain jacket: a lightweight, easily packable rain jacket is your best friend when visiting notoriously rainy Vancouver. You don’t want the rain to hold you back from exploring the city and the stunning rainforest trails. Columbia jackets are affordable and effective for the average hiker, here you find them for women and for men. Oh, and don’t bother with an umbrella, more often than not it’s totally useless due to the strong wind.
Waterproof backpack cover: you want to keep all the stuff in your backpack dry even on the rainiest day.
Hats: no matter which season your visit takes place, you’ll probably want some kind of hat. A sun hat (for women and for men) or classic baseball cap (for women and for men) protects you from the sun in the summer, a lightweight beanie keeps you warm between October and April.
Quick-drying, moisture-wicking T-shirts (for women and for men): you’ll likely spend at least part of your time in Vancouver on hiking trails, so a few pieces of technical T-shirts come handy when getting active.
Sweaters: a warm sweater or hoodie is a good idea even in the summer, because evenings get chilly. And it’s not even a question during the colder months. These Columbia fleece jackets (for women and for men) are great as an additional layer both for sightseeing or hiking days.
Waterproof hiking boots: so you’ll go hiking, because the natural attractions are among the highlights of a Vancouver visit. Trails are often muddy due to rain or snow melt, and your waterproof hiking boots will keep your feet dry and provide good traction. Actually, they come handy even in the city parks in wet weather. This Columbia Newton Ridge Plus is a great option for women, and the Newton Ridge Plus II for men.
Binoculars: a pair of binoculars make your whale-watching or bird watching experience so much better!
Waterproof phone case: whether you’re going kayaking, swimming or boating, or simply want to regularly use your phone outdoors for navigation in rainy weather, a waterproof phone case is insanely practical and requires barely any space in your luggage.
Finally, don’t pack bear spray. You’ll need one for hiking safely near Vancouver, but crossing borders with bear spray in your luggage, or boarding a plane while carrying bear spray is not allowed. You have to buy one once you arrive and dispose of it safely before you leave. Canadian Tire is the straightforward store to get bear spray.