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Best Spring Vacation Spots

From chic new hotels to can’t-miss art events, the season’s top destinations are blossoming with fresh experiences. Whether you’d like to revel in the music at Prague’s spring music festival, taste wines near the vines in Paso Robles, or mingle with Tuscan locals before the summer crowds arrive, these trips are sure to brighten your season.


Why Go: Baseball season openers rally Yankees (April 13) and Mets (April 5) fans, cherry blossoms set the Brooklyn Botanic Gardenablaze (April 21–29), and the reels turn at the Tribeca Film Festival(April 18–29). The new Steins’ exhibit Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde at the Met (February 28–June 3) and the Whitney Biennial (March 1–27) lead the season’s exhibition calendar.


denver2. DENVER

Why Go: Catch the only American showing of the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Denver Art Museum (March 25–July 8). The openings of Dale Chihuly Venetians glassworks exhibit at theFoothills Art Center (April 7 to June 30); the experiential, state-history dedicated History Colorado Center (opens April 28); and the 10-acreToyota Elephant Passage at the Denver Zoo (opens June 1), ensure spring 2012 ranks tops in the Mile High City.

2-tuscany3. TUSCANY

Why Go Now: Before summer’s tourist crowds pour in, rub elbows with the Tuscan locals for a slew of quirky, age-old spring festivals dedicated to everything from medieval-style crossbow competitions (several locations, dates vary) to luck-carrying crickets (Festa del Grilloin Florence, May 17) to cart explosions (Scoppio del Carro in Florence, April 8).


6-prague4. PRAGUE

Why Go Now: Springtime sees Prague blossom in everything from its flowering magnolia trees to its cultural offerings. The world-classPrague Spring Music Festival (May 12–June 3) brings three weeks of symphony, opera, and chamber concerts to the city. Peruse the handcrafted goods and traditional foods of the Easter markets (March 24–April 15) in Old Town Square, or hit the stalls of the foodie-and-beer lover’s haven, Czech Beer Festival Prague (May 17–June 2).


4-paso-robles5. PASO ROBLES

Why Go Now: Tour the wine trails of this burgeoning California wine region in mid-May and catch the 30th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival (May 18–20), too, with 70 area wineries pouring in Downtown City Park, and a gaggle of local chefs showcasing their farm-fresh fare. Also worthwhile: the 20th annual Hospice du Rhone (April 26–28), celebrating all things Rhône.



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