Philly’s Cherry Blossom Festival In Bloom April 6–14
Celebrate spring and Japanese culture all week long!
The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off this weekend, with over a week of events celebrating spring and Japanese culture. The festival runs from April 6 to 14, and as always the festival culminates with its largest event: Sakura Sunday, a family-friendly (and pet-friendly) day of performances, food, shopping, and so much more at the in Fairmount Park. If you want to get started on the celebrations earlier, and teach your kids about its significance and traditions, here are our top picks for Cherry Blossom Festival events all week long!
Now through April 11
105 S. 12th St., 2000 Sansom St., and 3200 Chestnut St.
New for this year, Shake Shack is currently serving a Cherry Blossom Shake: vanilla frozen custard blended with cherry blossom extract and topped with pink chocolate curls. This pink deliciousness is only available for a limited time, much like the cherry blossoms themselves.
April 6—7 and 13—14, 1—9 pm
Horticultural and Lansdowne drives
Returning for this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival is the Sake Garden, a pop-up beer garden from one of our favorite family-friendly al fresco experiences, Parks on Tap. The garden will have beer, cocktails, and Asian fusion fare available to purchase and enjoy beneath the trees of Fairmount Park (along the walking path towards the gazebo and sundial). Be sure to check the website and social media, because the garden will not be open in cases of inclement weather.
April 6—14 (closed Monday and Tuesday)
Horticultural and Lansdowne drives
During the week of the Cherry Blossom Festival, Shofuso will have extended hours so more people can enjoy the splendor of the cherry blossoms. The house will be open until 7 pm both weekdays (Wednesday-Friday) and weekends. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for kids 5-17, and free for kids under 5.
On April 7, you can take part in a special nodate tea ceremony on the veranda at Shofuso. Space is limited, so register online for your desired timeslot. Tickets are $35.
April 13 and 20, 10 am — 3 pm
Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave.
Experience the beauty of Morris Arboretum’s cherry tree collection in bloom, as well as traditional Japanese cultural activities to celebrate the season. The events will feature taiko drum performances, a traditional tea demonstration (on April 13), a samurai demonstration (on April 20), and more. And if the weather cooperates, you can go on a 45-minute guided Cherry Walk to appreciate the variety of cherry species planted throughout the arboretum.
Photograph Courtesy of Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.
April 14, 10 am—5 pm
Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, 100 N. Horticultural Drive
Of course, the main event of the Cherry Blossom Festival is Sakura Sunday. This day-long festival has everything: performances, food, shopping, crafts, fashion, even a dog parade! There is a full day’s worth of performance on multiple stages, including fashion shows, taiko drum and dance, J-pop, and so much more.
Throughout the day, there will also be indoor activities like kimono dressing, calligraphy workshop, origami, and a demonstration of ikebana. You can find the full schedule of indoor and outdoor activities and performances online.
You can also watch participants bring their best to some very interesting competitions, like the Prettiest Pet in Pink dog parade (people go all out dressing their dogs, and each one is introduced and given their moment in the sun), and the Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year Competition, which combines sushi making with art as participants craft masterpieces from the delicacy.
In addition to all the activities and performances, there is also a large marketplace with Japanese vendors selling everything from housewares to kimonos to toys! There are many food vendors as well so come hungry (but also pack snacks because lines can get very long at popular ones). Sakura Sunday also is just a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty of spring in Fairmount Park with your family, as well as some amazing people-watching—all those cosplay and Harajuku outfits are not just confined to the fashion show stages!
More Tips for Sakura Sunday
Tickets are available in advance or at the gate. Kids age 12 and under get in free, making it a very affordable event for families. If you buy tickets in advance online, you can save some money and pay $12, as opposed to $15 the day of the event. If you do choose to buy your ticket at the gate, cash is the preferred method of payment. The event is rain or shine, and no refunds are given, so if the weather is looking iffy and you’re not sure, just buy your tickets the day of the event.
Getting to Sakura Sunday is a bit of a challenge, since you can’t park at the Horticulture Center. One option is to get dropped off (have your Uber driver—or kind-hearted friend—drop you off at 4300 Avenue of the Republic). Parking is available for $10 per vehicle at the Mann Center grounds, and from there you can either walk (about 10 minutes) or take a free shuttle to the festival. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle from 30th Street (across the street from the station) beginning at 9 am, and running on a continuous loop. Shuttle buses depart roughly every 15 to 20 minutes, and bus fare is included in the price of Sakura Sunday tickets. Just make sure not to miss the last bus back to Center City at 5:30 pm from the Horticulture Center.
Outside food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted, so while there is great food available there, you can also pack a picnic if you prefer. And the Parks on Tap Sake Garden will be up and running on the day of the festival, so don’t miss that!
Lead photograph by Laura Swartz.