What: Cherry blossoms in Japan
Where: From Tokyo to Fukushima
When: Until early May
Why you must go now: With first blooms taking place as early as March in Tokyo, the arrival of the pink flower is celebrated throughout Japan with national festivals and a flurry of rose-coloured selfies online. Your best bet for photo-ops in mid-to-late April is central Sendai at Mikamine Park, a sprawling lawn dotted with hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom.
What: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
When: April 22 to May 1
Why you must go now: Since the first festival took place in 1970, this swinging jazz fest has tapped into the city’s rich musical heritage and vibrant cultural scene — served with traditional Cajun fare. This year’s lineup is no exception, as headliners Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers make New Orleans an early stop on your summer musical festival tour.
What: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Where: Indio, California
When: Friday April 15 and 22
Why you must go now: Speaking of music festivals, this desert-set musical oasis kicks off the global summer concert tour with international artists like Sia and Calvin Harris and some Canadian acts too (hey, Alessia Cara!). Plus it may be the only summer music fest where you will find Vietnamese fish sauce wings and Peruvian burgers at on-site pop-up restaurants.
What: The 120th Boston Marathon
Where: Boston, U.S.
When: Monday April 18, start times range from 9:17 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Why you must go now: One of the biggest events in Boston all year, this 42km marathon stretches from Hopkinton to Boston, Mass., with runners generally crossing the iconic finish line at Boylston Street in just over two hours — and supporters stationed throughout the Boston Marathon Route cheering them on. Then follow the amped-up crowd to Fenway Park for a Red Sox home game.
What: The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death
Where: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
When: Various celebrations taking place all month
Why you must go now: The Bard may have passed away in April 1616, but his life and legacy is celebrated throughout the world, and especially in his quaint English hometown. Apart from requisite visits to his birthplace and family home, stop by his old school room, which has just been opened to the public this year. To mark this spectacular anniversary, The Royal Shakespeare Company is presenting new exhibits, restoring the 19th-century Swan Theatre and hosting productions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.