America's great music destinations

From the outside world, the United States often gets a bit of a bad name when it comes to culture and arts. People often feel as though the country is entirely concerned with producing cookie cutter artists and stars.

However, what many don't see is that below the service America is stocked full of artistic wealth. Off the radio, America breathes a music culture unlike anywhere else on the planet. Depending on what part of the country you find yourself you can end up in a small bar listenting to live blues, bluegrass, country, jazz, or really any type of music under the sun.

Below I have listed my favourite music destinations in the United States.

5. Nashville/Memphis, Tennessee
It might not be fair to lump these two destinations together since the type of music concentrated in each city is quite different. However, their geographical proximity lets me put them together. Nashville is the country music capital of the world and nearly anyone trying to make it in country music heads directly to Nashville. Famous artists and up and coming performers can be heard throughout the city. Memphis, on the other hand, is more famous for it's soul music. This is the home of Elvis, and thousands of his adoring fans still stream to nearby Graceland each week.

4. Chicago, Illinois
Although many people might argue that New York City should have this place on the list, and I went back forth myself, I feel that the music in Chicago is more “American”. From the famous soul music that spread through the '80s and '90s to the more recent rise of a number of punk and rock bands from Chicago, the city has always been a music hotspot. Chicago is one of my favourite places in the world to take the subway because at nearly every station you are welcomed by the sweet sounds of a very talented busker.

3. Seattle, Washington
Unlike the other music destinations in the United States, Seattle doesn't often draw massive amounts of tourism due to its music. The city, however, is home to some of the largest bands in the world. Most notably, Nirvana and Pearl Jam both came from the area, making it the birthplace of grunge music.

2. Austin, Texas
Foreigners might not think of Texas when they dream of great music.  However, anyone who has ever been to Austin, Texas will tell you it is one of the best music cities in the world. The tourist district of 5th Street comes alive ever single night of week with an assortment of music. Unlike the other regions of America, Austin attracts not one particular genre, but all of them. In fact, the biggest music festival in all of the United States takes place here each summer when South by South West takes over town.

1. New Orleans, Louisiana
For those who have travelled the United States, New Orleans is almost an obvious number one. The soulful southern music streams from bars up and down Bourbon Street, which is the most visited district of the city for tourists. However, those who want a little bit more authentic experience would do themselves a huge favour to head down to Frenchman's Street where they will be treated to some amazing music in some really intimate venues. The big band vibe of the N'Orleans music scene is infectious and will have you bouncing to the music still stuck in your head long after you're gone.

Which part of the United States gets your toes tapping? Tell us about it in the comments section below, or share your thoughts over at twitter and Facebook.

If you're ready to lose yourself in some rhythm and blues, why not check out all our trips to North America. The Deep South and Delta Blues trip is sure to inspire many music lovers!

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