Travel: 3 places to visit this spring

The streets of Tallinn, Estonia.
The streets of Tallinn, Estonia. | Dennis Lennox

It’s not too late to book a trip this spring, especially during the shoulder season after Easter.

Your columnist recommends the following three places, which appear in no particular order.

Even if you decide to go elsewhere, these recommendations at least offer inspiration.

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Tallinn, Estonia

Estonia’s capital city may be one of the smallest and least-known capitals in Europe, but Tallinn has plenty to offer.

Despite having been occupied in the last century by the Soviet Union, Tallinn and, frankly, Estonia writ large feels more like the West — especially nearby Finland — than Russia. Of course, some of that has been intentional in the years after communism as some have ditched Eastern Europe by embracing a Nordic or Baltic cultural identity.

Tallinn’s rich history is on full display in the picture-perfect, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, which is encircled by a medieval wall dating to the 14th century. At the heart of Old Town is the Town Hall (Tallinna raekoda), which dates to the 13th century when the city was part of the Hanseatic League.

Beyond fairy tale charm, one also finds a modern city with a strong economy rooted in the tech sector. Estonia’s government has not only embraced the digital economy but truly led the way on embracing digital technology in the delivery of services and programs.

Book a room at Hotel Telegraaf, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand of independent and boutique hotels.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. | Dennis Lennox

Compared to Chicago or fellow Rust Belt cities Detroit and Cleveland, Milwaukee flies somewhat under the radar.

That should change in July, when Wisconsin’s biggest city (population 577,222 souls at the last census) hosts the 2024 Republican National Convention.

Milwaukee is truly an all-American city that has more to offer than its beer culture.

Downtown has a range of architecture from edifices built using the city’s distinctive cream-colored bricks to the Art Museum designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava — a postmodern interpretation of a Gothic cathedral.

Like Tallinn, Milwaukee’s City Hall is a landmark. The late 19th century building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While the Flemish Renaissance Revival design by architect Henry Koch is notable, its defining feature is the spectacular bell tower with a clock that reminds me of London’s Big Ben.

Stay at the Saint Kate. The art-focused boutique hotel, located by City Hall in the Theater District, takes its name from St. Catherine of Bologna. Catherine is the Roman Catholic church’s patron saint for art.

Daytona Beach, Florida

The Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida. | Dennis Lennox

It’s possible to visit Daytona Beach and not see a car race or set foot on the world-famous beach.

As covered by this column back in 2022, the beach itself runs through three separate cities and one town along 23 miles of coast in Florida’s Volusia County.

Downtown Daytona Beach has seen tremendous redevelopment in recent years, thanks to a 22-acre riverfront esplanade that has quickly become a destination for residents and visitors to gather.

The real gem in Daytona Beach’s crown is the Museum of Arts & Sciences, which includes the standalone Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art. Unlike museums elsewhere, the collection is entirely Florida art. Works range from early depictions of centuries-old St. Augustine to impressionist landscapes. You just wouldn’t expect something of this caliber in what is, after all, a smallish city in Central Florida.

For those who want to also do the beach thing, the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort is the place to stay.

Dennis Lennox writes a travel column for The Christian Post

Dennis Lennox writes about travel, politics and religious affairs. He has been published in the Financial Times, Independent, The Detroit News, Toronto Sun and other publications. Follow @dennislennox on Twitter.

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