The area surrounding the Columbian Basin in Jackson Park is home to about 190 pink and white cherry blossom trees that typically bloom each spring.  The trees are located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) and in the Japanese Garden on the Wooded Island, a short walk south of the Columbian Basin.  The bloom is a spectacular sight to see.  The peak bloom period typically happens in late April, early May, and lasts anywhere from 6 to 14 days, depending on the weather.  The Japanese word “Hanami” translated directly, means “flower viewing” and in reference to the cherry trees, this means cherry blossom viewing. In fact, the entire season of the bloom time is referred to as Hanami, and families come out to celebrate and enjoy company among the blossoms. The information below will help in planning a visit to Jackson Park.  We hope you enjoy your time there. 

Cherry Blossoms Watch 2024

Happy Cherry Blossom season! The watch should begin soon. Check back for updates.


Bud Development Legend

Stage 1:  
Buds swelling but still closed.

 

Stage 2: 
Buds starting to open.

 

Stage 3:
Buds opening, petals are visible.

 

Stage 4: 
Buds opening, flowers are visible.
 
Stage 5: 
Many flowers are opening.

 

Stage 6:   
Flowers are fully open. 
 

Chicago’s cold and wet spring weather keeps the buds tight and closed to protect the trees’ petals until there is a stretch of warm weather. Once the trees’ blooms are fully opened, the sequence of the blooms is staggered, between beautiful pink and white petals, for over a two-week period.

 

Planning Your Visit

Location

The cherry trees are located along the Columbia Basin in Jackson Park, near 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., east side of Cornell Ave., located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Due to the Darrow Bridge construction, patrons can access the cherry trees located west of the Columbian Basin and on the Wooded Island by walking along the ‘Lagoon Path’ around the Columbia Basin to the west side of the basin and onto the Wooded Island. View the map below.

 

Park Hours 

Jackson Park is open from 6 am to 9 pm.  The Wooded Island, which includes The Japanese Garden, is open from dawn until dusk. 

For the best viewing options, plan to visit during times with smaller crowds which include weekday mornings and early afternoons.  
 


Parking

Car - Paid metered parking is available in the Music Court lot which is located southeast of the Columbian Basin off of Science Drive. Paid parking is also available in the underground parking lot at the Museum of Science and Industry, accessed off of Cornell at 57th St.  Note:  Due to ongoing CDOT construction, access to the parking lots at Hayes Drive and Cornell Ave. is limited. Free street parking is available along many streets around the park, including Stony Island Drive and near Midway Plaisance Park, located at 1130 Midway Plaisance. 

Bike - Bike racks are located in a few areas around the park.  Look for the bike rack icon on the map for locations.

 

Getting to the Cherry Blossom Trees

From the Music Court parking lot:
Please note: The Darrow Bridge is closed for construction, so direct bridge access is not available. Please walk the ‘Lagoon Path’ around the Columbia Basin from the Music Court across the north basin plaza to the West side of the basin and further, onto the Wooded Island.  


 

Additional Sites to See in Jackson Park

There are a number of other delightful things to see in Jackson Park.  We encourage you to explore the following sites.  Consider bringing an identification book or app to assist you. 

Within walking distance of the cherry trees: Within a short bike or car ride from the cherry trees:
Map
Rules & Regulations
  • Pets are prohibited on Wooded Island
    Dogs and all other pets should be left home. They can be very disruptive to the wildlife in the Wooded Island nature sanctuary, especially at this time with a large number of nesting birds.
  • Clipping or removing blooming flowers and plants is prohibited.  
  • Clean up after visiting the park
    A limited amount of garbage cans are available, so please plan to bring your garbage home with you to discard there. 
  • Do not walk on native plantings
    Be mindful of the native vegetation plantings located directly around the perimeter of the Columbian Basin.  Please do not walk on them. Please enjoy the beauty of the carefully-maintained Japanese Garden and only walk on the ‘stroll path’ through the garden. 
Events
Check back for information about 2024 events.
Learn More about the Cherry Trees & Hanami

 

Terms

Hanami - The Japanese custom of celebrating spring blossom viewing, which almost always refers to cherry or plum trees.  People intentionally visit to relax and enjoy the delicate fragrance unique to the cherry tree and celebrate the wonder of this annual and relatively short bloom season.

Sakura - A Japanese term used to identify the flower of a cherry tree.

Prunus – This is a genus of trees & shrubs which include cherry, plum, nectarines, and apricot. Cherry trees to identify are listed below:
  • Prunus serrulata ‘Snow Goose’
  • Prunus x subhirtella ‘Snow Fountains’ white, weeping
  • Prunus x yedoensis ‘Yoshino’ pink fading to white.  The bark is dark reddish-brown and will leaf out once flowering has finished.
  • Prunus serrulata ’Accolade’(pink)cross between sargentii & subhirtella.  Most treasured of the cherry trees. Opens bright pink with semi-double blossoms in drooping clusters along bare branches.

When looking at a cherry tree blossom, notice a tiny notch at the end of each petal.  This is unique to cherry trees.

 

Audio Recordings

Learn more about the Cherry Blossoms, and their history in Jackson Park through the following recordings.

 

 

Additional Information

Click on the following links to learn more about these topics:

Cherry Blossom Video & Photos

2020 VIDEO 

2020 PHOTOS 

5/13/20 Jackson Park Cherry Blossoms 1

 

5/13/20 Jackson Park Cherry Blossoms 2

 

5/13/20 Jackson Park Cherry Blossoms 3

5/13/20 Jackson Park Cherry Blossoms 4

 

 

If you come out to see the cherry blossoms, share your photos on social media with this hashtag: #CHICherryBlossoms.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Jackson Park.

 

Cherry Blossoms Product Collection on www.chicagoparkstore.com