18 Attractions Every Music Lover Should Visit!

by author David Jones
18 Attractions Every Music Lover Should Visit

Studies have shown music to ease pain, combat depression, and lower stress levels – let’s not forget they offer a great beat to dance to! The USA has nurtured the ascents of many stars over the years such as musical greats like BB King, Bob Dylan, Louis Armstrong, and more recently, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and bands like Nirvana.

So, where are the best places for a journey into America’s musical history? We’ve found several cities across the nation that have a musical tale to tell!

Atlanta

Today, Atlanta is renowned in the music industry as a hub for contemporary hip-hop like crunk and neo-soul R&B. Artistic greats like Jermaine Dupri, T.I., Andre 3000, and Ludacris put the Georgia capital on the map and created a thriving music industry for future artists to use as a stepping stone. What many may not know is that the city was a major center for country music from the 1920s to the 1950s and that it was where the careers of country’s earliest recording artists such as Fiddlin’ John Carson launched; present-day country artists like Jason Aldean and members of the Zac Brown Band are proudly from Atlanta as well. Even classical music and opera play a role there as Metro Atlanta is home to the Grammy Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Key musical attractions and events in Atlanta include:

  • Cobb Energy Performing Arts Theatre
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Theatre

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Theatre

Address: 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339 | Phone: (770) 916-2800 Home of The Atlanta Opera and hosts several live music performances throughout the year with headliners like Alice Cooper and The Temptations.

  • Atlanta Symphony Hall
Atlanta Symphony Hall

Atlanta Symphony Hall

Address: 1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 | Phone: (404) 733-5000

Take in a performance by the award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Andrea Bocelli, and Robert Spano.

  • Piedmont Park
The Atlanta Jazz Festival

The Atlanta Jazz Festival

Address: 400 Park Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

The Atlanta Jazz Festival comprises small shows throughout the city for a month before ending in a huge, free event at Piedmont Park on Memorial Day weekend. Piedmont Park is also the location of the annual two-day Music Midtown festival every September, which includes performances by major headliners and mainstream musical acts.

  • Smith’s Olde Bar
Smith’s Olde Bar

Smith’s Olde Bar

Address: 1578 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324 | Phone: (404) 875-1522

Downstairs, you can spend time in the restaurant/ bar/ game area complete with a pool table, but the two in-house concert venues are where all the musical magic goes down.

Memphis

Memphis is a town that lives and breathes music – after all, it did produce the ‘King of Rock and Roll’, Elvis Presley himself. Memphis musicians have made a huge impact on early rock and roll, R&B, blues, and soul music, rightfully giving the city nicknames like “Birthplace of Rock and Roll” and “Home of the Blues”. Famous musicians and bands that hail from Memphis include Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Three 6 Mafia, Isaac Hayes, Juicy J, Anita Ward, and Willie Mitchell. Here are some of the attractions where you can see the musicians of the past and present come to life:

  • Graceland
The home of ‘The King’, Graceland

The home of ‘The King’, Graceland

Address: Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116

The home of ‘The King’ himself, no trip to Memphis is complete without visiting Graceland. Here, you’ll be able to see the beautiful mansion where the legend lived, walk the gardens where he spent a lot of his time, and even tour the aircraft that took him from show to show.

Beale Street

Beale Street

Recognized on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Beale Street was once a pivotal point lined with clubs, bars, and restaurants that started the blues blast. The Beale Street Music Festival kicks off festivities city-wide for Memphis in May and includes major music acts from varying genres. Other attractions on Beale Street you shouldn’t miss include B.B. King’s Blues Club, Miss Polly’s Soul City Cafe, and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

  • Sun Studios
Sun Studios

Sun Studios

Address: 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

Founded by Sam Phillips in 1952, Sun Studios is where it all began. In the beginning, it was home to an impressive variety of talent because Phillips was willing to give anyone who wanted the opportunity to sing a chance. Legends who have recorded there include Johnny Cash, BB King, Roy Orbison, Gene Simmons, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Go on a behind-the-scenes tour and learn little-known facts that will blow you away.

Chicago

The blues were, no doubt, born in the Deep South, but it was revived in Chicago between the ‘30s and ‘60s with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, and Muddy Waters. While the Windy City continues to remain a mainstay for blues and jazz musicians, it’s also produced several hip-hop and rock performers over the years. The Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy, and Kanye West all call Chicago home. Additionally, Chi-Town attracts thousands of people to the many music festivals held there every year. Check them out below.

  • Reckless Records
Reckless Records

Reckless Records

Address: 26 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60602 | Phone: (312) 795-0878

A legendary music store in Chicago, Reckless Records soared to fame when it appeared in the 2000 Hollywood hit, High Fidelity starring John Cusack. It’s a great place to browse vinyls and update your music library.

  • Chicago Symphony Center
Chicago Symphony Center

Chicago Symphony Center

Address: 220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604 | Phone: (312) 294-3000

Home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, this wondrous music complex was constructed in 1904. Get a ticket to one of their shows, many of which offer complimentary ‘Preconcert Conversations’ that lets you have a chat with leading musical experts who will provide history and context for the music you’re about to experience.

  • Miller’s Pub
Miller’s Pub

Miller’s Pub

Address: 134 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 | Phone: (312) 263-4988

Miller’s Pub has been one of Chicago’s most favored watering holes since 1935. It has been frequented by former music and movie greats like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Jay Leno. No better way to end your day of exploration in Chi-Town than with a drink at Miller’s Pub.

  • Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Grant Park – Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601| Phone: (312) 742-3918

The annual festival that attracts music lovers from across the nation is based in Chicago’s large urban green space, Grant Park. The four-day festival is one of the largest and most iconic music events in the US and includes performances by popular artists from different genres like hip hop, alternative rock, punk rock, heavy metal, and electronic music.

New Orleans

When you think New Orleans, there’s no doubt that among thoughts of Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, and mouth-watering Creole cuisine, you’ll also think of lively, moving jazz music.  No city epitomizes blues and jazz as Crescent City does. New Orleans is universally recognized as the birthplace of jazz music, specifically its earliest form – Dixieland, also known as, traditional jazz. It emerged in the late 19th century as a catchy concoction of rhythms and beats invented by the local African-American community. New Orleans-born musicians such as Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, and Louis Armstrong all contributed greatly to the evolution of jazz music, as did cornetist Buddy Bolden. Walk in the steps of jazz greats at the following sites:

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

The heart and soul of the French Quarter, the party never stops on Bourbon Street. It’s thirteen blocks of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues – many of which offer live music performance. The party spills out onto the streets what with the open-container laws on the Quarter’s streets.

  • Louisiana State Museum
Louisiana State Museum

Louisiana State Museum

Address: 751 Place John Paul Deaux, New Orleans, LA 70116 | Phone: (504) 568-6968

The New Orleans Jazz Club Collections at the Louisiana State Museum has the largest collection of instruments that were used by prominent jazz artists in the nation. Some of the things you’ll see are Jack Laine’s bass drum, Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet, and Louis Armstrong’s horns. Additional features include over 20,000 photographs and recordings of these leading figures.

  • Backstreet Museum
Backstreet Museum

Backstreet Museum

Address: 1116 Henriette Delille St, New Orleans, LA 70116 | Phone: (504) 606-4809

Learn about one of New Orleans’ most cherished traditions, their jazz funeral procession, at the Backstreet Museum. They have the largest video library of jazz funerals and a permanent display of jazz funeral memorabilia.

  • Frenchmen Street
Frenchmen Street

Frenchmen Street

One of the best places to experience live blues and jazz music in New Orleans is on Frenchmen Street. Alongside some of the area’s most legendary performance venues, you’ll see several up-and-coming musicians singing and playing right on the street. It’s one of the most authentic experiences you can have and shouldn’t be missed.

New York

The Big Apple has launched the careers of many musicians and continues to be a hub for aspiring artists to this day. Wu-Tang Clan, KISS, Madonna, Beastie Boys, and The Velvet Underground are just a few examples of the talent that has thrived in the city. No matter what genre of music you prefer, you’ll find that New York has a myriad of events and hotspots you can enjoy. You’ll pretty much run into live music in almost any of the clubs and bars in the city, but some of the more prominent attractions include:

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

Address: 2 Pennsylvania Plz, New York, NY 10121 | Phone: (212) 465-6741

This multi-purpose arena is used for many things throughout the year but has been famed as a concert space since it opened in the late 1800s. They have hosted more high-profile concerts than any other venue in the state such as Elvis Presley, who gave four sold-out performances there in 1972, and The Concert for New York City following the horrific September 11 attacks. Choose to buy tickets to one of their many events or go on an all-access tour of the venue which will take you behind the scenes of one of the most famous venues in the world.

  • Cafe Wha
Cafe Wha

Cafe Wha

Address: 115 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 | Phone: (212) 254-3706

Many music legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen have graced the stage at Cafe Wha. The live music club and restaurant continues to host some of the best up and coming artists over the years – and anybody with a talent to share can get on their stage on open-mic nights.

  • Apollo Theater
Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater

Address: 253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027 | Phone: (212) 531-5305

Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Apollo Theater is a music hall that is mostly recognized as the home of Showtime at the Apollo. The amateur night allowed musicians, comedians, and anyone else who wanted to showcase their talent to get on stage at the mercy of the audience; if they liked them, they’d be applauded, but if they didn’t, they’d be booed off the stage. Performers whose careers launched at the Apollo include Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and Aretha Franklin.

These are just a few cities across our great nation that have rich musical histories, but they’re not the only ones. For example, Seattle produced Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam and continues to create some top-notch acts like Death Cab for Cutie and Macklemore. There are tons of clubs and bars that showcase bands regularly, especially in Belltown and Capitol Hill, where you can catch future stars.

Minneapolis was the hometown of rock-soul legend Prince. His studio complex, Paisley Park, is now open to tours and you can experience first-hand the thought process behind how The Artist Formerly Known as Prince created, produced, and performed his songs. The city is now home to a robust rap, hip-hop, and indie rock scene and you can catch performances all year round at venues like Northrop Auditorium or Target Center.

Austin, Miami, Detroit, Nashville, Los Angeles – all these cities continue to play an integral role in the music industry. Austin lives up to its nickname as the “Live Music Capital of the World”, Miami has been dominated by EDM, Motown still lives larger than ever in Detroit, Nashville has all things country, and Los Angeles continues to add to its list of rock credentials. No matter where you decide to go across our great nation, you’ll find a city nearby that’s made an unbreakable connection with music. Make music the soundtrack to your travel journey by visiting these attractions for music lovers today.