Want more delicious food & authentic American music? You don’t have to travel far from New Orleans to arrive at the music capitals of Memphis and Nashville. There you’ll find historic studios, music museums, and live music that will inspire you to dance or sing along. You’ll also discover more delicious regional food that known in the South. Discover our 8-day itinerary below:
New Orleans, with its centuries-old cottages and elaborate old cemeteries, is a photographer’s delight, but everything in this city tells a story of history and heritage. Guided tours are an ideal way to savour them. Join a stroll through the historic French Quarter or one tracing New Orleans’ cemeteries, voodoo and ghost lore.
New Orleans is also a musical city. At Preservation Hall, a rotating lineup of fabulous musicians plays traditional New Orleans Jazz in the most intimate, acoustic environment. Queue up early for standing-room only space or plan in advance to purchase one of the venue’s limited seats. Elsewhere in the city, Frenchmen Street is a hub for live music, lined with venues such as The Spotted Cat Music Club. The cozy room packs as many as three bands nightly, spotlighting various forms of Jazz.
Cuisine, and the cocktail culture, are vital to the New Orleans experience. From open-air cafés to fine-dining restaurants, you’ll find countless interpretations of local signature dishes, such as sugar-dusted beignets, aromatic jambalaya, and spiced, smoked Andouille sausage.
Venture outside of the city for unique side trips. In St. Tammany Parish, swamp tours cruise Louisiana’s mystic bayous, where alligator sightings are plentiful. Along the River Road, visit plantations – with names such as Laura, Oak Alley and Whitney – that transport you to a bygone era. Tour preserved homesteads and former slave cabins surrounded by fields of sugarcane.
Memphis is the pilgrimage city for music-lovers, tour Sun Studio to stand where Blues and Rock legends such as B.B. King and Elvis Presley recorded some of their earliest hits. For an intimate look at Presley’s life, tour his Graceland estate. At the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the rhythm shifts to Soul and Gospel. View memorabilia from Stax artists including Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes, whose gold-plated Cadillac is displayed. For a sampling of Memphis’ contemporary sounds, walk Beale Street, where live music seems to drift from every open door. The aroma of barbecue fills the air, too. At about 100 restaurants, savor local specialties that include dry-rubbed ribs and smoky pulled-pork sandwiches.
Tennessee’s music story continues in Nashville. At the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, recordings, touch screens and memorabilia trace Country music from its roots to the present. The museum also offers tours of RCA Studio B, where artists such as Dolly Parton recorded songs. The Grand Ole Opry is the place to see today’s Country music stars perform. For a variety of genres, catch a concert at the Ryman Auditorium, the historic church building that was once the home of the Opry. Nearby, new art flows regularly into the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (its Art Deco-architecture is worth a stop for its own sake). Hungry? Head to Hattie B’s for a spicy Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. Can’t take the heat? Find a ‘meat-and-three’ restaurant, where you’ll select one meat and three side dishes from a list of homespun choices (try golden-fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, corn, and collard greens studded with pork).