Most people associate springtime travel with crazy parties like spring break, but these five cities are perfect for visiting this season — and will leave you without the boozy side effects. These our some of our top cities to poke around in while the weather warms up.
Mark Twain once said “In America, there is New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” In what’s arguably one of the most culturally unique cities in the country, it’s easy to see what he meant. Of course, it’s the birthplace of Jazz and home of epic Mardi Gras celebrations, but the city itself has much more depth than that, including legendary cuisine, historic architecture, and a buzzing nightlife. Spring is one of the best times to make your way to NoLa, not only so you can avoid the sweltering summer temperatures, but also so you can take advantage of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, French Quarter Festival, and Bayou Boogaloo.
The capital city of the Lone Star State has a youthful, hip reputation that tends to precede it. Sure, there’s the massive SXSW Festival that brings the tech, film, and music industries to the city in droves, but once the crowds have departed, a thriving local community remains. Artists and the creative community are heavily supported, which has led many galleries, live music venues, and art events to spring up all over the city. Avid outdoorsmen appreciate the easily accessible nature, including miles of 193 miles of scenic walking trails. Of course, the city’s awesome restaurant, nightlife, and coffee pub scene fall right in with the locals’ jeans-and-T-shirt mentality. Timing your visit before the city becomes sweltering during the summer months will make it that much more enjoyable.
For a city that spent nearly half a century divided, Berlin has become one of the most vibrant, culturally enriched, and affordable cities on the European continent. Low rents have attracted a white hot art and music scene, and the city’s fantastic public transportation make it easy for anyone to get around the spread-out metropolis. The food, from street carts to fine dining, is arguably the best in Germany. Spring provides visitors with the perfect mild temperatures for exploring Berlin’s shopping lined boulevards such as Kurfurstendamm and its varied neighborhoods like Charlottenburg and Prenzlauer Berg.
Very few cities embrace the return of spring like Montreal. Cafes, restaurants, and bars jump back to life after the deep freeze of winter with locals and visitors alike taking advantage of being able to go outside without fear of frostbite. Montreal is known for hosting festivals year round, but spring marks the beginning of the busiest time of year for the city’s social calendar. One of the most popular spring events is the Grand Prix du Canada Formula 1 race weekend, during which bars and restaurants along Saint Laurent St. have to build large patios out onto the street to accommodate the massive influx of crowds. Anyone who has meandered through the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal agree that it’s one of the most unique cities in North America, no matter when you visit.
Barcelona is Spain’s coolest and most modern city. Tourists pour from every corner of the world to experience the town’s vibrant nightlife, excellent cuisine, beautiful Gothic and one-of-a-kind Modernist architecture, and cutting-edge design scene. This — and the great springtime Mediterranean climate — means you might find crowds wherever you go, but it’ll be worth it for sites like the bizarre Sagrada Familia cathedral, world-class MACBA museum, hopping Barri Gotic neighborhood, and unusual Parc Guell. As if this all wasn’t enough, the massive Primavera Sound Music Festival is taking place from May 30th through June 3rd, hosting huge bands like Wilco, the XX, the Cure, Bjork, M83, and Jeff Mangum. It’s more than enough reason to beat the rush of summer crowds.