The Trips You Need to Take This Spring

Visitors to these five destinations can take full advantage of all the season has to offer, from flowers to festivals.

by Brooke Porter Katz

You won't want to miss sakura (cherry blossom) season in Kyoto.

It’s the season of new beginnings – which makes it a prime time to visit a place you’ve never been before, or to rediscover an old favourite. Around the world, you’ll find flowers in bloom, exciting events and other ways to breathe in the fresh air. Here are five Four Seasons destinations that call for exploration this spring.

Long Walks and Football Matches in London

There’s nothing like springtime in London. “It’s the best time to explore the popular sights and the city’s many green spaces, from public gardens, parks and commons to hidden terraces,” says Head Concierge Daniel Griffiths of Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.

Griffiths’ top picks include a walking tour of the City of London, the oldest part of the capital, to explore its winding alleys and historic gems like the church of St. Dunstan-in-the-East. He also recommends strolling over Tower Bridge and making your way to Borough Market for lunch. “This time of year is perfect for checking out the food markets and picking up some of the best seasonal produce,” he says.

If you happen to be visiting on April 21 – the Queen’s true birthday – you’ll likely hear gun salutes during the day in Hyde Park, Windsor Great Park and near the Tower of London. And soccer fans will want to snag tickets to watch pro teams from England compete in the FA Cup, taking place at Wembley Stadium in May. Or, grab a seat and a pint at a pub to cheer on the players. Finally, the Chelsea Flower Show takes place May 21-25 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea; it’s been a seasonal highlight since the first event more than 100 years ago.

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

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Blooms, Baseball, and Culture in Los Angeles

“Average temperatures in the 70s and tons of activities – including stunning botanical gardens, outdoor concerts and al fresco dining – make Los Angeles an ideal place to be in the spring,” says Chef Concierge Jeanne Mills of Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. Among her top picks: Taking a tour (by appointment only) of the Virginia Robinson Gardens, part of a 6.5-acre estate that also includes a 1911 mansion and a pool pavilion; catching a baseball game at Dodger Stadium; and visiting the Griffith Park Observatory. “This time of year is when we tend to have the clearest and most crisp blue skies, which are perfect for stargazing,” she says.

There are also not one, but two great photography exhibits that shouldn’t be missed. At Hauser & Wirth gallery, Annie Leibovitz The Early Years, 1970–1983: Archive Project No. 1 is on view through April 14 and features more than 4,000 works by the prolific photographer. And April 26-28 and May 2-5, the Annenberg Space for Photography is hosting Photoville LA. The weekend-long event includes photography displays by local and international artists, as well as workshops, family-friendly activities and even a beer garden.

Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel)

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Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

In Japan’s garden- and temple-filled city of Kyoto, spring is synonymous with sakura (cherry blossom) season, when the city is awash in shades of pale pink. One particularly famous spot for admiring the blooms is the tree-lined road along the Kamogawa River. “It’s always enjoyable to view the flowers by riding a bike, or even from a car window,” says Chief Concierge Tomo Shinya of Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the crowds. “Viewing the sakura at night is called yozakura,” Tomo says. “And at midnight in the Shirakawa entertainment district – after all of the tourists are gone – is certainly beautiful.” He also recommends visiting the temples of Komyoin and Myokenji for some quiet moments in nature.

The Hotel itself has 22 cherry blossom trees in its pond garden, so you can get a view without ever leaving the property. There are also a number of seasonal offerings, such as a Sakura Afternoon Tea and special pink-hued cocktails like the Hanami Martini, infused with the scent of cherry blossoms.

Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

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A Garden Getaway in India

Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru will welcome its first guests in May – just in time to witness the vibrantly colored flowers that give India’s Silicon Valley its other nickname: the Garden City. You’ll see purple bauhinia, which have beautiful, asymmetrical mauve and pink blossoms, as well as the Indian laburnum, or Golden Shower Trees, with their bright yellow branches of flowers.

“A morning walk in Lalbagh Botanical Garden is always wondrous. Just strolling through the trees – some of which are very interesting and ancient – brings joy,” says Assistant Chef Concierge Rachita Bhargava.

She also recommends Cubbon Park, a large public park that’s home to various statues, including one of Queen Victoria, and the State Archeological Museum. “It becomes even more ethereal when the trees are in full bloom,” Bhargava says.

Theater and St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago

To hear Kristen Klus, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, tell it, the Windy City is completely transformed when winter ends. “I love that Chicago embraces warm weather like no other city because we have such a limited amount of it,” she says. “You see this resurgence of vitality – people are biking, walking and kayaking on the lake.”

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations jump-start the festive spring vibe on March 17 with a parade and celebrations around the river, dyed a vibrant kelly green for the occasion. Since the weather can be a little unpredictable, it’s also a good idea to have a few indoor activities on your itinerary. Klus recommends visiting the Lincoln Park Conservatory, featuring ancient ferns and towering palms inside a beautiful Victorian glass house. “You can go any time of year,” she says, “but it’s particularly pretty in the spring because of the tulips and other flowers.” Or, try to snag tickets to Broadway’s beloved Dear Evan Hanson, which runs at the James M. Nederlander Theatre through March 10.

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

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