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.

 

Hangzhou, China

This is the spring retreat of choice for many Chinese, and visitors from other parts of the world are just starting to catch on. Visit the former artists’ escape (the city’s West Lake, a UNESCO Heritage Site, is the inspiration behind countless poems and paintings) in early March, when the weather is warm but spring tourists have yet to descend. Slightly later in the month is when you’ll catch the peach flower blossoms as they bloom. Make your home base the new Luxury Collection property, the Pierre-Yves Rochon-designed Azure Qiantang.

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.

Douro Valley, Portugal

This region—which holds the world’s first official wine designation—has its own micro-climate, which explains why the grapes here are so spectacular. Spring comes early to Douro Valley, and in March, there’s the chance to see beautiful white and pink clouds, particularly in the hills. The wellness-focused Six Senses makes for a wonderful spa-cation, where wine permeates every aspect of your stay. Or if you prefer to fully explore the location, hop on one of the Viking Douro River ships (the latest one, Osfrid, launches this month), built specifically to navigate these waters.

Tanzania

Most people don’t realize that Tanzania is practically a year-round destination. There is great wildlife viewing in both the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in March, and the weather is quite optimal: the humidity drops in March, and the rainy season doesn’t start until April. This year sees several openings in the country as well. Asilia opens its Highlandsproperty on the slopes of the Olmoti Volcano this month, with ultra-cool glass geodesic tents. No matter where you go, maximize your wildlife sightings by working with one of our A-list agents.

Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital has become a hot destination for much more than politics and history. There’s now a significant dining scene that’s well worth a visit, including the prix fixe-only Rose’s Luxury (no reservations, so go early to snag a seat) and Filipino-American fare at Purple Patch. But the best reason to go in March? It’s when the city’s famed cherry blossoms, a gift from Japan in 1910, starts to bloom—the annual Cherry Blossom Festival starts on March 20.