America’s contribution to music cannot be overstated. The USA is the birthplace of some of the world’s most popular music genres, from Rock’n’Roll to Hip hop, creating iconic artists like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift... we could go on!
With such an enviable musical pedigree, its unsurprising that some of America’s hottest destinations are steeped in musical heritage. Read on to find out the best destinations across the USA that are perfect for music lovers.
Nashville, Tennessee – Best for Country
Nashville is synonymous with country-music and the city is a pilgrimage site for anyone who is serious about the genre. We’d recommend visiting its epicentre, where you can immerse yourself in the history of country-music with a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame – home to memorabilia such as Carl Perkins’ very own blue suede shoes!
Follow-up with a trip to the Grand Ole Opry, widely considered the ‘home of American music’. The theatre has hosted weekly live radio broadcasts since 1925 and continues to welcome the biggest stars of country music onto its stage. You can visit in the daytime on a backstage guided tour or buy evening tickets to one of its hit shows.
Visit Nashville on the Deep South and Delta Blues tour
Memphis, Tennessee - Best for Rock’n’Roll and Blues
Sticking with Tennessee, we move 200-odd miles down the road to Memphis, where music lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to attractions. The first stop on your tour must be Graceland – the home of the King of Rock’n’Roll himself, Elvis Presley. Once you’ve paid your respects to the king, head down to the legendary Sun Studio, the alleged birthplace of Rock’n’Roll.
The Sun Studio was the recording studio for Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and other musical legends. Today, you can have a guided tour of the studio, exploring memorabilia and old recordings from the studio’s history.
Don’t leave Memphis without walking ten feet off Beale Street. The colourful, neon-lit street in Downtown Memphis are lined with blues bars and filled with crowds soaking up the electric atmosphere.
Explore Memphis on the Deep South and Delta Blues tour
Seattle – Best for Grunge
Come as you are to Seattle, the home of Grunge. The West Coast city’s contribution to music is huge. Famous bands that have their roots firmly grounded in Seattle include Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and, of course, Nirvana. To this day, avid fans of Nirvana’s lead-singer, Kurt Cobain come in their flocks to visit the city and pay homage to his favourite bars and old haunts.
One of the best ways to get a real feel for Seattle is on our Northwest Parks and Wildlife tour, where you’ll witness the famous fishmongers of Pike Place Market and even have the opportunity to buy a coffee from the world’s first Starbucks.
Find out more about the Northwest Parks and Wildlife tour.
New Orleans – Best for Jazz
New Orleans pulsates to the smooth sound of Jazz. It’s unsurprising that such a creative and fluid artform would develop out of this cultural melting pot of African, French and American cultures. Jazz and the ethos of the genre is deeply rooted in the Big Easy’s DNA. You’ll find the hub of New Orleans Jazz culture in its French Quarter, particularly along Frenchmen Street which is jam-packed with Jazz clubs.
You can explore New Orleans as part of the Deep South and Delta Blues tour
New York – Best for Punk
You could say punk rock evolved simultaneously in both New York and London’s music scenes. Back in the late 1970s, the then-grimy streets of NYC were the perfect breeding ground for alternative, anti-establishment bands and artists. Graduates of the Big Apple’s punk rock scene include the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie and the aptly-named New York Dolls.
Today, the streets of New York have a far less gritty feel, but iconic landmarks from the punk-rock era – such as the Chelsea Hotel and the space that housed the infamous CBGB music club (now an upmarket clothing store) – have stood the test of time, beckoning music lovers and travellers from across the globe.
Experience the thrill of New York on the Northeastern Explorer