The United States is the birthplace of a great many popular music genres in the world today. Most of these came from artists in different cities reflecting the sentiments of the times, 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, it’s 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.
The 6 Top vacation destinations in the USA for music lovers are;
1 Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is also well-known for its jazz scene, with the rise of Kansas City jazz emerging in the 1920s and ‘30s. Ever since this Midwestern city has been considered one of the great epicenters of American music. Over the decades, the scene has expanded to include rock, punk and country music. Live music is big here, and you can catch it at places like The Levee, a hit with music lovers of all types for many years with regularly booked local and regional blues, jazz and rock acts.
After developing a deeper appreciation for the genre, head across the street to check out the beautifully restored 500-seat 1912 Gem Theater’s vintage marquee, or the museum’s performance space, the Blue Room, to check out a live show.
2 Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is a hub for a wide array of entertainment styles, including music. In the ‘60s, L.A. was known for bands that performed on Sunset Strip, like Led Zeppelin and The Doors, at clubs like Whiskey a Go-Go and the Roxy. It was the hub of ‘80s rock and metal, including hair bands like Van Halen and Guns ‘n Roses, and in the ‘90s, the music scene in the City of Angels was known for rappers like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre as well as rockers No Doubt, Weezer and Sublime. California’s biggest city is a place with serious rock credentials.
The Rainbow Bar And Grill (rainbowbarandgrill.com), on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, has been a watering hole for a legion of guitar bands, including Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – while Jim Morrison of The Doors used to prop up the bar at the nearby Whisky A Go-Go (whiskyagogo.com). L.A. is also home to some of the most iconic venues in America, like Troubadour and the Hollywood Bowl, along with an endless number of smaller venues featuring local bands.
3 New York
New York City’s music scene is so diverse it’s difficult to summarize. Needless to say, it offers something for every music lover. From underground clubs and mainstream venues to Broadway musicals, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in a city that never sleeps. The Big Apple is credited for being the birthplace of punk and hip hop and served as a launching spot for so many musicians it would be impossible to list them all. Visitors can experience the city’s musical legacy by attending a show at the Knitting Factory, Lincoln Center, Beacon Theatre, Music Hall of Williamsburg and many more. The birthplace of genres like punk, hip-hop, and disco, as well as talents ranging from Sonic Youth and Jay-Z to Burt Bacharach and Wu-Tang Clan, few cities can compete with New York’s impressive musical heritage.
One of the most compelling aspects of New York’s music scene is its variety. You can see indie-rock newcomers at the Mercury Lounge, jazz at the JALC, classical performances at Carnegie Hall, or big-name acts at the Radio City Music Hall. With hole-in-the-wall bars and clubs scattered all over the city, you’ll never find yourself lacking in live music options.
4 Memphis, Tennessee
It was here in Sun Studios in the summer of 1951 that Ike Turner and his band the Delta Cats recorded “Rocket 88,” widely regarded as the first rock and roll song. But, like so many visionary moments, it happened by accident—the guitarist’s amp malfunctioned during the recording, creating a distorted guitar sound that would become a hallmark of the genre. People didn’t know how to classify it, but they knew they loved it. The rest is history. Listen now: “That’s All Right” by Elvis Presley on Spotify. South-east of the center at 926 East McLemore Avenue, the Stax Museum (staxmuseum.com) keeps alive the flame of the soul label that released classics by Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding between 1959 and 1975. Then there is Beale Street, one of the spiritual playgrounds of the blues. Here, B B King’s Blues Club (bbkings.com) hosts nightly shows in tribute to the musical titan who died.
5 New Orleans, Louisiana
From street musicians to funeral bands, music is at the heart of everyday life in New Orleans. The city is the birthplace of jazz, which was cultivated here in the early 20th century before spreading across the country and inspiring the creation of numerous other musical genres.
Whether you’re bar hopping in the French Quarter, attending the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the annual New World Rhythms Festival or Mardi Gras, the city’s music scene definitely won’t disappoint. Check out the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in the spring, explore the big music clubs located on Bourbon Street, or head to venues like Siberia and Tipitina’s to enjoy other genres of live music… Just a few of the musicians who have shaped the region include Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino, as well as more recent greats like Harry Connick, Jr. and Wynton Marsalis.
The slate magazine called Portland “America’s Indie Rock Mecca,” – the genre has had a strong foothold here for years, long before it became a bit skewed by “Portlandia.” .The Dandy Warhols, She & Him, The Decemberists, and Blitzen Trapper among the acts to emerge from the hipster haven of Portland. It’s home to a staggering number of record stores of all sizes, as well as cool music festivals like summer’s PDX Pop Now!, a free event focused on local bands.
The Doug Fir Lounge is one of the top spots in the city to check out indie bands, offering state-of-the-art sound equipment and an intimate atmosphere.