The Best Places Around the World to Travel to In April
April can be an awkward travel month between winter and summer, when you’re restless and still shaking off cabin fever. You know you want to take a trip but don’t necessarily know what kind. It’s a bit too warm to go careening down the side of a mountain, but the full-blown summer lake parties won’t be going down for another two months. The weather is gorgeous one minute, but it is also probably going to rain in 15 minutes.
There are, fortunately, a number of destinations both at home and abroad that are at their prettiest, cheapest, and/or least-crowded during April. And there are those locales with recently opened attractions just waiting for you. Here are this year’s top choices for kicking off spring with a bang.
Toronto, CanadaThe cherry blossoms in D.C. are among the most iconic outside of Japan, but Toronto’s High Park offerings are every bit as impressive. Come late April, which is also a great chance to check out the city’s new Museum of Contemporary Art, a 55,000-square-foot space that opened late last year in an old industrial building within the Junction Triangle neighborhood.
The spring thaw also brings one of the best nonfiction film fests in the world: From April 30 through May 10 the Hot Docs fest -- the largest documentary film festival in North America -- draws more than 20,000 attendees and screens more than 200 films. Add that to four professional sports when the Blue Jays and Toronto FC begin their seasons as the Raptors and Leafs wind theirs down, and this is definitely the month to check out one of the world’s most diverse cities. [Search flights]
SingaporeThere are many reasons Singapore landed a spot among our 20 Best Places for a Big Trip in 2020, including a chance to witness a city at the forefront of sustainability. But for food nerds, it might be the very definition of "travel goals." This city-state in Southeast Asia is one of the greatest food destinations in the world. One of the best way to experience the legendary food scene will be here at the annual World Gourmet Summit, a monthlong gastro-celebration in which dozens of partner restaurants and master chefs from all over the world will showcase special menus including their top dishes -- and while a lot of this is the invite-only level of fancy, there are also a ton of events with available reservations.
The festival also includes dinners hosted by all manner of international vintners, plus a smattering of celebrities and after-parties. And if that’s simply not your scene, Singapore still boasts some of the world’s best street food; you’d actively have to seek out a bad meal. [Search flights]
MORE: How to spend 4 perfect days eating your way around Singapore
Oahu, HawaiiPicking the best time of year to go to Hawaii is kind of like picking your favorite ice cream flavor; it’s all good. That said, April might have Oahu’s best lineup of things to do, beyond napping on the beach and hiking Diamond Head. If your new year’s goal was to run more, there’s really no better place to do that than the Hapalua, Hawaii’s half-marathon on April 14.
If your goal was to consume more Spam, you are in the right place. On April 25, the annual Waikiki Spam Jam attracts tens of thousands of people to Kalakaua Avenue, all sampling Spam made in every way you could possibly imagine. Spam sushi. Spam pizza. Spam pho. Chocolate-covered Spam. It’s an education in both Hawaiian and Spam culture, all at the venerable Outrigger Waikiki Beach. And it’s free to attend! Just bring some cans of Spam to donate. [Search flights]
IdahoIdaho is home to the country’s first gold-tier designated Dark Sky Reserve, which means it is a very, very, very good place from which to stargaze. It sits just outside the Sawtooth Mountains National Recreation Area, in a patch of central Idaho the size of Long Island. December to March, Idaho skews pretty cold. But when spring rolls around, it’s the absolute perfect time to go and check out the best stars in the country without freezing your toes off. (But if you need a warm up, there are plenty of primitive hot springs in which to indulge.)
April is also Idaho Craft Beer Month! Breweries statewide will be holding special events and pub crawls throughout the month to showcase what Gem State beer is all about. It all wraps up at the end of the month in Boise, when a massive beer festival takes over downtown with brewers from all over Idaho and the rest of the beer-crazy West pouring samples in the warm mountain sunshine. [Search flights]
CroatiaWhenever people learn that I backpacked for a long time, they invariably ask which place in the world was my favorite; I have increasingly defaulted to saying Croatia. The coast is breathtaking. The food and wine and natural wonders are all 10/10, and it’s a cheaper European destination than anything you’ll find farther north. And From April 24-26, Dubrovnik hosts Festiwine, which brings more than 100 regional winemakers into the city so that you might sample their goods.
If you’re the sort of person who is still upright and chipper after that sort of week, you can sweat your way through the city’s famous walled streets in the Dubrovnik half-marathon on the 26th. Not enough of a challenge? Kick off your month with a different run, the 100 Miles of Istria on April 17 -- more than a thousand people will race through Medieval stone towns along the Adriatic. Cool off by heading into Krka National Park, just a short hop from the town of Sibenik -- you can jump off the iconic waterfalls by sneaking around the lifeguards, who don’t especially care too much by the end of the day anyway. [Search flights]
San Antonio, TexasApril 3-5 brings the Poteet Strawberry Festival to San Antonio -- part rodeo, part carnival, part country and tejano music show. And, as the name suggests, strawberries, which San Antonio happens to be famous for. Tickets start at $5. That same weekend, you’ve got Car Fest, a free event that is exactly what it sounds like, with the added bonus of BBQ and chili cookoffs (this IS Texas, after all) and the chance to win a free car.
From April 16-26, the city hosts the annual Fiesta San Antonio, which honors the heroes of the Alamo but has morphed into a citywide event with a Fiesta King and Queen, chicken on a stick, and colorful costumes. Don’t miss A Night In Old San Antonio, where dancers and hundreds of food and drink vendors show out to celebrate the city’s heritage. [Search flights]
Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaThe first week of April brings Philly Wine Week, with wine tastings and events sprinkled all around the city. Moving right along to April 19, we’ve got the Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival, when 50 of the state’s top food trucks and vendors come together along historic Main Street. Or, if you happen to wander farther west across the state, on April 1-5 the borough of Meyersdale hosts the bulk of the Pennsylvania Maple Festival, as it has for more than 70 years. There’s a Grand Parade, plus a Maple Run 5k, a Maple Queen Pageant, plus an ongoing Annual Quilt Show (tickets start at $2). And, of course, there is an iconic pancake shack. Come to Pennsylvania hungry, basically. [Search flights]
Porto, PortugalSpring and fall are the loveliest times of year to visit this dazzling coastal city, which for the past few years has been steadily catching up to Lisbon as a popular destination among Western tourists. But Porto isn’t a tourist trap -- this is a hardscrabble, working-class fishing town that’s coming to its own as a cultural hub. “We used to say that Porto works and Lisbon has fun,” says Mónica Marabutt Nogueira, a tour guide who’s worked all over the country for more than 20 years. “But today it’s completely different. There’s a big, big change in Porto nowadays, it’s becoming so popular. There are more restaurants, more people going out -- more life, more living.” April in Porto might bring a few showers, but it also brings temperate weather and lighter crowds than you’ll find descending on the city come summertime. And from April 22nd through the 26th, the city hosts its annual International Tango Festival -- five days and nights of tango parties and workshops. [Search flights]
MORE: What to do and see in Porto, Portugal
Florence, ItalyIt’s hard to argue for a better month to visit Florence than April. Easter is celebrated fiercely ’round these parts, and Florence is a hub of traditions like Scoppio del Carro, where you’ll find oxen pulling a garland-covered wagon through the streets. April 25th is Liberation Day in Italy, in honor of which the National Museum of the Bargello is free. April 25 -26 also sees the traveling Gelato Festival descend on Florence. And using the city as a jumping-off point, you could also rent a car and explore the mouthwatering culinary specialties that small towns across northern Italy are famous for. Last year, UNESCO named the region’s prosecco heartland a World Heritage Site, and you can wander through legendary prosecco-producing towns like Valdobbiadene while it's in the throes of Primavera del Prosecco Superiore (Spring of Prosecco), one of the biggest events of the year. [Search flights]
MORE: 7 towns to visit for life-changing food in northern Italy
New Orleans, LouisianaThe end of April in the Big Easy means it’s time for the most famous jazz festival in the world -- the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which this year runs April 23 - May 3. The festival is known for eclectic acts that aren’t limited to just jazz, and the 2020 lineup is … unreal. The Who. Stevie Nicks. Lizzo. Erykah Badu. Foo Fighters. Lenny Kravitz. Wu Tang. The Avett Brothers. H.E.R. There’s also a huge craft festival where you can browse (and buy) the wares of local and national artisans, and the food is everything you could wish for. Tickets start at $75. Were that not enough, from April 16-19, New Orleans puts on the French Quarter Festival, featuring more than 20 stages for live entertainment, more than 2,000 artists, and food from beloved local restaurants available at street stalls. Entry is free! [Search flights]
MORE: Check out Thrillist’s ultimate guide to New Orleans
Planning a trip for a different time of year? Check out our monthly travel recommendations for the best places to travel in January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.