If you’re looking for a summer travel destination that combines music and fun, check out these six spots. From the largest Honky Tonk in the world to the grand ole opry, there’s a travel fit for every music lover.
Music City, USA: Nashville, Tennessee
Host to the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, a.k.a. the “Mother Church of Country Music” has the second best acoustics in the world (after the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Utah). Try to catch a live show here to hear the amazing acoustics in action (see ryman.com/events for concert listings). Diehard country music fans will want to take the backstage tour, where you’ll also have the chance to hit the stage with a guitar for an unforgettable photo op. The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Hotel is Nashville’s largest and best rated hotel: it contains a whopping nine acres of indoor gardens, cascading waterfalls, a 20,000 square foot spa and fitness center and an indoor river with its very own Delta flatboat (be sure to go on a family “river” cruise), making it a great fit for traveling families. Dine to a tune at Bluebird Café, one of the preeminent performance venues in the U.S. and am acclaimed restaurant serving down home southern cooking.
Blues Capital of the World: Chicago
Every summer, Chicago plays host to the FREE Chicago Blues Festival: From June 10-12, self-proclaimed Blues Capital of the World attracts over 500,000 blues fans to beautiful Grant Park three days of musical inspiration await. The famed House of Blues Chicago offers a nightly roster of some of the biggest names in blues, rock and more, and a Chicago blues and jazz bus tour is a must do. If you’re looking to make it a rockstar style weekend in the windy city, check out the Rock Star Experience Package at Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.
Bluegrass and Bourbon in Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is home to some of the country’s best folk acoustic venues, including WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, Tee Dee’s Blues Club and Thursday Night Live!. Visit during the Festival of Bluegrass for Kentucky’s signature Appalachia rhythms or join 40,000 other travelers during the Great American Brass Band Festival. Stay at the boutique Gratz Park Inn in Lexington’s Historic District and plan to explore the distilleries that dot scenic bourbon country.
New Orleans. Louisiana
In early 20th Century, jazz was born giving life and soul to the City of New Orleans, and continues to live throughout the city. Wander a few steps off of the French Quarter to the Polo Lounge at Windsor Court Hotel for live jazz music where you never know when a cameo performance by one of the genre’s legends might accompany the resident performer. With intimate nooks and live music, Hilton New Orleans Riverside‘s Public Belt is a piano cocktail lounge inspired by the city’s iconic jazz scene dating back to the early 1900s. Enjoy an authentic New Orleans-style experience with hand-crafted Storyville-themed cocktails as living legend Joe Krown – influential pianist in the NOLA music scene – performs Thursday through Saturday.
Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Memphis, Tennessee
Known for its barbecue, blues and blue suede shoes, Memphis — hometown to Elvis Presley — makes for a rockin’ family getaway. Graceland, once the home of the King, Elvis Presley, stands as one of the most visited private homes in the U.S. Take the interactive iPad tour, which will give you more insight into the life of Elvis and his family, thanks to music clips and personal narratives from family members. Rock ‘n’ roll was born at Sun Studio, in the summer of 1954, when Scotty Moore, Bill Black and Elvis dreamed up “That’s all Right” in the former Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Services. Stay at the historic Peabody Hotel, where an evening duck parade in the lobby is a time-held tradition.
Honky Tonk Fun in Fort Worth, Texas
Visit the hometown of music superstars, including Leon Bridges and Kelly Clarkson, White Denim and Green River Ordinance and listen to 36 Hours of Music in Fort Worth. Fort Worth has seen an influx of musicians from Austin since Austin has become so oversaturated with singer/songwriters. Visit Billy Bob’s, the world’s largest honky tonk for live music every day. Other musical hot spots include Shipping and Receiving Bar, Lola’s Saloon and Magnolia Motor Lounge . During the day, visit some of Fort Worth’s great venues, vintage record stores and recording studios.