They say April showers bring May flowers. And with May just around the corner, why not welcome spring by enjoying some beautiful blooms? There are thousands of flower festivals across the United States. Whether you’re looking to see some petals now or want to plan a future road trip (hello, cherry blossoms!), check out these 11 flower festivals around the country.
Many tulip festivals take place in cities with Dutch influences or backgrounds — like Tulip Time in Holland, MI. Named “Best Small Town Festival” by Reader’s Digest, the celebration is actually 8 days of eventsm including traditional Dutch dance, a Kinder Carnival, a quilt show, and tulip painting party. The 2018 festival takes place May 5 through May 13.
Some festivals are purely for the beauty of the flowers themselves, even smack in the middle of a city, like February’s Tulipmania in San Francisco, CA. Take a free, self- guided tour along Pier 39, where, between the gorgeous planter boxes of tulips, you’ll catch glimpses of Alcatraz.
If you find yourself hankering for the sight of tulips outside of springtime, head to RoozenGaarde Farm in Mount Vernon, WA, which is open 362 days a year.
When you hear someone mention the Rose Bowl, the first thing that comes to mind may be college football. But the game is actually part of Pasadena, CA’s Tournament of Roses (or “America’s New Year Celebration”), which has been going on for more than 100 years. The Rose Parade is enormously popular and even nationally televised, so if you can’t get tickets to the real thing, you can watch from the comfort of your couch every New Year’s Day.
Another party for roses that has been celebrated for more than a century is the Portland Rose Festival. This summertime celebration not only includes the Grand Floral Parade, but also fireworks, dragon boat races, a rose festival half marathon, and a starlight parade, where illuminated floats light up downtown.
You’ve probably heard of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC — “The Nation’s Greatest Springtime Celebration.” But did you know that over 1.5 million people come to our nation’s capital over 4 weekends each spring to enjoy the stunning trees? Book your reservations early if this is one experience you want to check off your bucket list. It may be crowded, but the views are worth it.
If battling the throngs in Washington, DC isn’t your style, but you’re still on the hunt for the sight of cherry blossoms, try the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, GA (the “Cherry Blossom Capitol of the World”), where more than 350,000 Yoshino Cherry Trees bloom each spring.
For a more traditional Japanese experience, check out Sakura Matsuri in New York’s Brooklyn Botanical Garden in April. This festival embodies the Japanese cultural tradition of savoring every moment of the blossom’s season. Sakura Matsuri does just that with performances and events that honor modern and traditional Japanese culture such as samurai sword performance, a J-Pop dance party, tea ceremonies, Manga drawing workshops, and a giant origami demonstration.
There may not be any signs of spring this season yet in Chicago, IL, so a perfect antidote to the Windy City’s brutal winter weather is The Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Be transported to “Asia in Bloom,” with events including morning music with orchids in the greenhouse and orchids after hours.
Of course, if you’ve ever had an orchid of your own, you know that there are times when it might not bloom at all. If you’ve ever wondered if you should throw in the towel, or if your once-blossoming plant will come alive again, now you have an opportunity to have a professional give you a diagnosis. The Naples Orchid Society Clinic at the Naples Botanical Garden allows home enthusiasts to bring in their beloved plants for growing tips.
For a fresh take on the flower festival event itself, take a look at the Azalea Festival in Muskogee, OK every April. This party — which began 50 years ago this spring — has a little something for everyone: arts and crafts displays, antique car shows, and even a chili cook-off.
Whether it’s riding a cable car to hunt for tulips, spotting the Lincoln Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms, experiencing Portland lit up after dark, or sampling some spicy Muskogee chili flanked by dazzling azaleas, these festivals not only showcase the flowers, but the cities themselves.