Top Music Trips in the U.S.

For a true music lover, there are tons of cities throughout the U.S. that can be a perfect road trip destination. Whether you're more interested in the history of the city's music, the current thriving music scenes, or the legendary players that have walked its streets, each destination can hit the right notes for any audiophile. Read on for our picks for top music trips in the U.S.

 

Nashville - Way more than just a country town, Nashville has expanded to include artists of all genres building off the success of the Grand Ole Opry and the musicians who followed. Whether you tour the opry, visit a massive touring show at Ryman Auditorium, or head across the river to East Nashville for an up-and-coming indie band, there's so much history and inspiration packed into each musical experience in this southern town. Stop by Jack White's now infamous record store, Third Man, to record a song of your own inside a phone booth and press a record for just $15. If you're more of a country fan, swing by Bluebird Cafe for an intimate set with artists destined to top the country charts in the coming year -- a spot where artist like Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw got their start.

 

Austin - The weirdest little big town in Texas is no stranger to music, with the nickname "the Live Music Capitol of the World" proudly emblazoned to its reputation. Though its music history is impressive, being home to artists like Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughn, its what's happening right now with Texas' music scene that's so impressive. Festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits are rising above the likes of Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo as being the most-anticipated, and their growth rate isn't expected to stop anytime soon. When the festivals aren't happening, stop by Stubb's BBQ, Emo's, Donn's Depot, the Mean Eyed Cat and any other major city bar for live music any night of the week.

 

New Orleans - This jazz capitol of the world is guaranteed to have music blaring from some street parade or local bar at any point in the day. Known for being a town not afraid to have a good time, New Orleans is definitely the place to be if you want to learn a lot and have tons of fun while doing it. Jazz and blues combine to make Dixieland, a traditional form of music that this city keeps alive and well with its parades and swing parties. Stop by the famous Preservation Hall for some of the greatest jazz in the country playing each night, and head down Bourbon Street for dance parties happening on every corner. If you're lucky, you might get to walk "second line" in a real New Orleans parade -- whether it be celebrating a joyful event like a wedding or birth, or a somber one like a funeral, anyone on the street is welcome to walk in line behind the musicians to pay respects and celebrate life.

 

Memphis - Home of the Blues and famous for Elvis, you'll be amazed at how much more this Midwest town has to offer aside from its great history. Visit the iconic Sun Studios for a tour through the birthplace of music from Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins, or if soul is more your style, Stax Records may be more your speed. Walking down Beale Street is like walking through a neon circus of lights and sounds, and your best bet is to just saunter through until you hear a beat that gets your toes tappin'. Top it off with a good dose of barbecue, and your in for a rock n' roll style good time.

 

Atlanta - If you've got hip hop and r&b burning in your soul, this home to T.I., Ludacris, Outkast, Cee Lo Green and dozens more of the best rappers in the game is bound to be your music destination of choice. This southern city is so notorious for its hip hop reputation, that movies like ATL, Drum Line and Get Low have all been inspired by the thriving music scene. Of course, if hip hop isn't your thing, artists like Zac Brown Band and the Grammy-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra frequent the clubs and venues around town.

 

Seattle - The home of grunge and indie-rock legendary lable Sub-Pop, Seattle is the perfect town for misfits, weirdos, rockers and hip kids. With historic spots like Kurt Cobain's childhood home and Jimi Hendrix's grave, there's a little something for everyone looking to learn more about rock n' roll. Most bands in the vain of thought aim to get signed to labels throughout Seattle, thus frequent all the venues and clubs filling the city's streets. Festivals like Bumbershoot draw national crowds, while smaller spots like the Crocodile draw locals like flies. Don't forget your umbrella!