Spring showers are the least of anyone’s worries in places like Casablanca, Morocco; or Brussels, Belgium, where April drops the least amount of rain all year. However, if it’s the budget you’re worried about, places like Chicago and Copenhagen—two of the most affordable places to travel this month—offer endless opportunities to experience architecture, culture, and art.
Los Angeles, California
L.A. is beautiful to visit in April, but this year offers even more reasons to make California your next stopover. A significant exhibit on acclaimed American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe opens in LACMA, titled “The Perfect Medium,” while the Getty spotlights his portraits and still lifes. After your culture fix, the next place to head is Koreatown, which has steadily become a culinary destination for much more than Korean food. Try cult favorites like Cassell’s Hamburgers and inspired mixology at the Walker Inn from the team at New York’s Death & Co.
Rain falls often in Bogotá during the summer, and April is no exception. But this Colombian capital offers more than enough shelter in way of its culinary scene, which is currently experiencing something of a renaissance. An increasing food hot spot, Bogotá has everything one needs to embark on a cultural culinary adventure, from empanada stands to ramen bars to burgers to Middle Eastern comfort food at Israeli-born chef Nimi Molad’s Baita. Make your base the Four Seasons Casa Medina, housed in a storied 1940s mansion—and don’t miss the tapas at its glass-roofed courtyard restaurant, Castanyoles.
US. Virgin Islands
Hurricane season aside, there’s no bad time to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands—a Caribbean paradise of white-sand beaches, world-class water sports, beautiful oceanfront hotels, and restaurants doling out all the conch fritters and mojitos you can handle. Peak season is over by April, but that doesn’t mean the party has ended. Carnival takes over the streets of St. Thomas for the month, bringing with it a fun-filled roster of food fairs, boat races, and rollicking parades featuring eye-popping costumes and music. Escape the commotion at Caneel Bay, a blissful wellness retreat tucked away in Virgin Islands National Park. The best part? You don’t even need to bring your passport.
A 1,000-year-old history. Countless shrines and temples. Geishas strolling down ryokan-lined streets. Kyoto’s romance peaks in April, when the country’s famed cherry blossoms blanket the landscape in pink. The place to stay is Hoshinoya Kyoto, a century-old riverside villa opening this month with not one but two landscaped gardens where one can take in the foliage after a traditional kaiseki meal. For a further retreat into nature, head two hours southeast to the Mie Prefecture, where the minimalist Amanemu, Aman’s new hotel inspired by the classic Japanese onsen experience, looks out over tranquil Ago Bay.
The allure of Hans Christian Andersen town is irresistible from May through October. April, in contrast, marks the tail end of Scandinavia’s brisk spring, making Copenhagen one of the world’s cheapest places to travel this month. Those that take advantage of low-season rates are in for another treat: the seasonal reopening of Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest and most charming amusement parks. After a spin on the wooden roller coaster or the Star Flyer, the world’s second-tallest carousel, stop by Kähler i Tivoli for a traditional open-faced sandwich snack.
Even as its winter gusts wind down, Chicago remains one of the most affordable places to travel this month—and the hotel scene couldn’t be hotter, what with newcomers like the Art Deco-spun Chicago Athletic Association and the renovated Peninsula Chicago becoming destinations in their own right. Outside your digs, all signs point to warmer weather, and in Chicago, there’s plenty to keep you busy: world-class museums, hot-hot-hot restaurants, a nightlife scene that continuously raises the bar, and—finally—baseball, as both the Cubs and White Sox home openers kick off the season to roaring crowds.
For a long time, Martinique remained a sleepy, rainforested isle often overlooked among the rest of the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles islands. But this year has brought new energy into downtown Fort-de-France. Its active military base, housed in a 17th-century fort, is reopening to visitors, not to mention the contemporary Simon Hotel, the first hotel to open on the island in more than a decade. Already one of the best Caribbean islands for foodies, Martinique is experiencing an upsurge in creative cuisine beyond its Creole influences, from Brazilian to bagel sandwiches to an inspired cocktail program at the rooftop bar, Le Cloud. The weather here is beautiful year-round—best to catch the dry season before it ends in May.
Spring has arrived in the Netherlands, and with it the riotous colors of fresh-bloomed bulbs, which canvas its flat landscape in every direction. April is peak tulip season, depicted by generations of painters from Claude Monet to Jan van Goyen, and there’s no better way to see them then on a road trip through the countryside. A highlight: Keukenhof, a garden in Lisse open from late March to mid-May and a sight to be seen with 70 acres of parkland blanketed in some 7 million flowers. For solo travelers, few destinations beat the Netherlands for safety, friendliness, and navigability. Try not to miss King’s Day, a national holiday in April honoring the monarchy, when everywhere from Amsterdam to the Hague celebrates with open flea markets, street performances, and everything oranj.
Before the unbearable desert heat of summer shrouds the West African coast, Morocco breathes easy from pleasant temperatures all day (and all night) during April and May. While Casablanca may not have the glamorous reputation of sister cities Fez and Marrakesh, it retains a charm all its own, thanks to its colonial architecture, grand Hassan II Mosque, and an unbeatable location along the coast, providing a link between Africa and Europe as well as a convenient base for deeper exploration of the country. After much anticipation, Four Seasons has opened a sprawling beachfront hotel on the Corniche, complete with shops, cafés, and restaurants spotlighting a unique blend of Provençal, Mediterranean, and Moroccan cuisine.