Why wait until summer to go on vacation? There are plenty of reasons to take some time off before the busy travel season starts. From fabulous festivals to hot new hotels, there's a lot to see and do around the world this spring. From watching the catwalks at New Orleans Fashion Week to celebrating Balinese New Year, you'll find that this season is brimming with great excuses to travel. Here are our top 10 destinations to check out before summer rolls around.
Photo Credit: Douglas Mason
Why Go Now: The catwalks of the Big Easy come alive during New Orleans Fashion Week (March 15-22), while theatrical types gather for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (March 19-23), which has been honoring the playwright for 28 years. The Mardi Gras of music, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell (April 25-May 4), celebrates its 45th year with a stellar lineup that includes everyone from Robin Thicke to Bruce Springsteen.
Where to Stay: The Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Convention Center is freshly renovated, playing up the building's past as a sugar and molasses factory. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans just completed renovations of its club level as well as a full re-do of the Presidential Suite.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's New Orleans Guide
Photo Credit: tastings by Bill Selak Attribution-ShareAlike License
Why Go Now: Hop fans will be happy to know that 200 different beers are brewed in the Mile-High City daily, staking Denver's claim as the "Napa Valley of Beer." A walking brewery tour is the perfect thing to do as the gentle weather sets in. Or, check out the booming distillery culture for local whiskey, gin, vodka, and more. This spring will also see the debut of Salt & Grinder (3609 West 32nd Avenue, Denver), a charcuterie and sandwich shop from acclaimed restaurateur Frank Bonanno.
Where to Stay: The Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel opens in April, within the meticulously restored Colorado National Bank building. The lobby includes sixteen important works from Colorado muralist Allen Tupper True.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Denver Guide
Photo Credit: Rafal Cichawa/Shutterstock
Why Go Now: The vibrant old town of Cartagena is one of the best-preserved ancient enclaves in the Americas, but the coastal city also features crystal-clear waters and thriving coral reefs that make it a year-round diving destination in the outlying islands of Baru, Rosario, and San Bernardo. The Cartagena International Film Festival (March 13-19) is the oldest in Latin America and specializes in Spanish-language films.
Where to Stay: The newly-opened boutique Hotel Casa San Agustín marries old-world charm with modernity. The brand-new InterContinental Cartagena is slated to open its doors this spring.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Cartagena Guide