By: Stephanie Wu, Travel + Leisure
March is when the cold starts to let up and much of the country finally gets signs of warm weather. But if you start planning a trip for the summer months, you’ll hit high season for most destinations. Instead, seek out places you can go now—an ideal combination of warm weather and no crowds.
If you’re looking for a quick jaunt, there are tons of exciting happenings in New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C. All three cities have exciting food scenes, but they each have March-specific attractions as well, from new hotel openings to the famous cherry blossoms.
Wine lovers should head to Portugal, where the Douro River area is in full bloom and you’ll have the vineyards practically to yourself. In Reykjavik, it feels like spring but looks like winter still, due to the snow on the ground—perfect for exploring the beautiful city.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras is over, but that’s perhaps even more of a reason to head to New Orleans now. Stay at the new Roman and Williams-designed Ace Hotel, which opens this month in an Art Deco building dating back to 1928. The hotel will house the first Southern outpost of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, as well as a restaurant from Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. Given that modern cocktail culture was invented in this city (there are tons of cocktail tours you can go on), it’s no surprise that the bar scene is fantastic. The ideal place to recover is Willa Jean bakery, a bread-centric restaurant that serves breakfast all day and incredible sweets.