More than 190 pink and white cherry trees are starting to bloom and are expected to reach peak in the next two weeks, weather permitting
The Chicago Park District is excited to announce that more than 190 cherry trees, located along the Columbia Basin in Jackson Park, near 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., east side of Cornell Ave., located just south of Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), are in the initial stages of the blooming process. The peak bloom period typically happens in late April, early May, and last anywhere from 6 to 14 days, depending on the weather.
Chicago’s cold and wet spring weather will keep 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, allowing for visitors to enjoy blooms for over a two-week period.
The Chicago Park District will encourage the public to experience ‘Hanami’ in Chicago, and provide regular updates on the status of the bloom on the website www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/cherry-blossoms and on the District’s Instagram, Twitter & Facebook accounts. The public is encouraged to follow updates, tag us and share images of their visit using the #CHICherryBlossoms.
In the Japanese tradition, ‘Hanami’ is the word used to describe the celebration of the start of spring, which aligns with the blooming of the cherry blossom trees, and 'Sakura' is the Japanese term used to identify the flower of a cherry tree.
STATUS (April 19, 2023): CURRENT STAGES 2, 3 & 4:
Buds are in varied stages of development on individual trees. Some buds are now swelling, and begin showing signs of opening, and others are opening, and the petals are visible.
• Jackson Park is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• The Wooded Island, which includes the Japanese Garden, is open from dawn until dusk.
Due to ongoing CDOT construction, access to the parking lots at Hayes Drive and Cornell Ave. is limited.
Metered parking is available at the Music Court lot which is located southeast of the Columbian Basin off of Science Drive, and/or in the Museum of Science and Industry’s underground parking (an MSI fee is associated with this parking).
Free street parking is available along Stony Island Dr. and near Midway Plaisance Park, located at 1130 Midway Plaisance.
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. * A map is available at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/cherry-blossoms.
Additional access to the blossoms:
New this year, while the Cherry Blossom trees are in bloom, the Museum of Science and Industry will open its south-facing doors – which overlook Jackson Park – on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the museum’s guests to exit, observe the trees and re-enter the museum. Individuals visiting Jackson Park can also purchase tickets to visit MSI at the museum’s south entrance. The limited time opportunity aims to inspire MSI’s guests to explore the natural scientific processes that occur in our own backyard.
In honor of the Cherry Blossom's bloom, the Park District will host a free Hanami Sakura Celebration at Jackson Park in partnership with cultural partners, including the Japanese Arts Foundation, the Japanese Culture Center, the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago and the Jackson Park Advisory Council. The event will feature drum and dance performances by Tsukasa Taiko and Shubukai, and origami, Yukata dressing, garden tours, and Hanami sketching will also be part of the programming on Saturday, April 22 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. For details, click here, rain or shine.
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The following are the stages involved in the blooming process:
Still closed: Buds are visible, but are still closed.
Stage 1: Buds are swelling but are still closed.
Stage 2: Buds are now beginning to show signs of opening.
Stage 3: Buds are opening and the petals will start to be visible within the next few days!
Stage 4: Buds are opening and the flowers are visible.
Stage 5: Many, if not most, of the buds have opened and now have their white and pink petals exposed!
Stage 6: Full bloom- Nearly all of the buds have opened and the trees are now in their most beautiful state. This won’t last long, 3-8 days depending on the weather, so plan your visit to Jackson Park soon!
Bloom almost finished: Many of the flower petals are beginning to fall off the trees. The ground is covered in white and pink. The last of the flowers will be gone within a few days.
Bloom finished: The trees are done with their spring show for this year. Nearly all of the flower petals have fallen and blown away. Spring is here now in full swing, and the park is bursting to life with green leaves sweeping through the nearby tree canopies. Be sure to plan your return to see the cherry blossoms again next year. Every year is a different show, and every year is beautiful.
Prunus is the genus of trees and shrubs, which include cherry, plum, nectarines, and apricot. Four different varieties of cherry trees adorn Jackson Park.
• 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.
Please note that a cherry tree blossom is distinguished by a tiny notch at the end of each of its five petals that resembles a heart.
Last year, the Park District added a self-guided listening tour of the grove. The tour will resume with additional stations. Guests will use their own phones at four (4) listening stations, where they are encouraged to scan a QR code to access a brief audio vignette about the history of the tree grove, the variety of flowers, and the Japanese springtime traditions.
For best viewing options, we recommend visiting the Cherry Blossom Grove during times with smaller crowds, which include weekday mornings, and early afternoons.
History of the Chicago Park District Cherry Blossom Tree Grove
In 2013, the first batch of trees were completely installed in time to commemorate the 120th Anniversary of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, and another 50 trees were added in the three years to follow by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago in honor of their 50th Anniversary and the relationship between Chicago and Japan.
In the fall of 2022, the Park District planted an additional 34 cherry blossom trees bordering the Museum of Science and Industry steps to bring the total to 190. It may take a season or two for these trees to get acclimated to the space and to start blooming.
Cherry Blossom Tree Merchandise:
Chicago’s Cherry Blossom Tree Grove has its own line of merchandise, which can be purchased at the Chicago Park District’s Store, www.chicagoparkstore.com, and includes t-shirts, mugs, totes and more. A portion of the proceeds helps fund Park District programs.
For more information about the cherry blossoms and the Jackson Park Japanese Garden, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com/cherry-blossoms.
For more information, a map, parking information, and rules to consider during your visit, is available at chicagoparkdistrict.com/cherry-blossoms.
For the protection of these very delicate trees and the historic Wooded Island, the Park District requests that all visitors follow the guidelines below during their visit:
• Do not clip or remove blooms from trees;
• Discard garbage in the designated waste receptacles;
• Avoid walking on and trampling on native plantings.