seattle

Spring time: Cherry blossoms and avoiding crowds

It’s full-blown sakura / cherry blossom season here in Seattle, as it is in Japan and other places that have cherry blossoms.

We’ve had quite a few sunny days in the last week, which have made the white and light pink flowers even prettier with all the light.

Every Seattleite — and visiting guests — all know the place to go to locally to view cherry blossoms. It happens to be at my alma mater: the Quad at the UW. (That’s University of Washington for all you out-of-towners).

I try to get a glimpse of the trees every year, which was easier to do as a college student since I either lived on campus or lived within walking distance of campus.

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Bryce and I went last Thursday evening. It was around 7:30 pm after we had eaten dinner and it was starting to get a little dark. It wasn’t the perfect setting for photos since it wasn’t very light out anymore but it was nice that it wasn’t overly crowded. It wasn’t crowded at all. I could easily count our fellow blossom-viewers. (I didn’t count, but probably no more than 10 other people).

It was peaceful. It was a clear evening. It was still early enough so we could hear birds chirping. And, that smell. The blossoms have that distinct smell that I can’t really describe other than it smells like summer is coming. (Spring is just a sign that summer is on its way, right?)

Visiting the Quad last week was a good decision. From what I have seen on my social media feed, it looks like throughout the weekend, the Quad had transformed into an attraction akin to Disneyland where there were massive crowds of people. Traffic around the U-District had also been horrible! Every exit to UW, or nearby, were so congested, from what I have observed when driving by on the freeway Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

But, you know what?

UW isn’t the only place that has gorgeous cherry blossoms. There are many other places in Seattle that are also in bloom.

Green Lake — There are several cherry blossom trees scattered around the lake. Sure, you don’t have them all together in one succinct place like UW, but it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt to walk around and see the trees here and there!

Capitol Hill/Central District — There are tons of trees in these neighborhoods throughout the residential areas. If you just go on a 10-minute walk in either of these neighborhoods, I’m sure you’ll stumble across several cherry blossom trees! There are a few near Cal Anderson Park if you really need a landmark or starting point.

The Arboretum — Or, “the Arb” as my friends and I call it, also has cherry blossoms. There are several trails throughout the park that make for a nice place to run or take a stroll because it never seems as crowded as other parks like Green Lake. My parents would always take us here for pictures with all the trees and flowers when we were little kids. I have memories of eating my rice puff snacks under the cherry blossom trees while sitting on my “red blankie.” Yes, I was such a creative kid that I named my security blanket red blankie when in actuality it was a white blanket with light pink trim and a small pink flower print!

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By no means am I trying to dissuade you from going to see the cherry blossoms at UW. I’ve definitely been to the Quad during the chaos of peak bloom and it is of course still very pretty.

Where are your favorite places to view cherry blossoms? What signs of spring do you look forward to each year?

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