3 Incredible Vacations for Music Lovers

Entertainment, Online Exclusives

Check out these three locations that offer some of the best vacations for music lovers, providing a unique insight into local culture.

Follow this guide to discover the best vacations for music lovers. Below there are helpful tips, tricks, activities and itinerary ideas for three vastly different trips you can take with your group to celebrate the music you love. Each location’s suggested activities make sure to feature some loosely music-related activities, too, to keep itineraries interesting for everyone.

Check out these three locations for your next trip for a jam-packed experience full of music knowledge and artistic experience.

Classic Country Music Lover? Head to Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville vacations for music lovers Photo by Ilse Orsel on Unsplash

Photo by Ilse Orsel on Unsplash

Nashville, Tennessee is known by many as the home of country music. It is the source of inspiration for many country artists first starting out, and is the hub for many recording artists today. Nashville is home to historic locations related to the genre, and it’s easy to plan vacations for music lovers in this city in which country music is so ingrained. Whether you want to listen to singer-songwriters at the famed Bluebird Cafe or immerse yourself in the spectacular history of the Grand Old Opry, Nashville has it all.

If you’re looking for a jam-packed musical trip that has activities planned from dawn to dusk, make sure to start off your day by grabbing breakfast at your hotel or a local diner and heading out to get tickets for the music museums in the area, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Johnny Cash Museum. Both are located in downtown Nashville, a short walk from historic venues like the Music City Center, Bridgestone Arena, Ascend Amphitheater, Ryman Auditorium and more. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, situated directly across from the Music City Walk of Fame, is a great space to explore your love of country music and learn its history. There are plenty of shopping locations and eateries nearby for those who don’t want to spend all day becoming educated on the genre, as well.

Book a tour ahead of time to avoid indecision regarding which spots to visit, with companies like the Old Town Trolley hosting tours including the Soul of Music City Tour that takes you past plenty of the locations listed above, including the Ryman Auditorium, where tour guides will explain the history of the venue and the original Grand Ole Opry radio show.

The Grand Ole Opry today is also a great venue to get tickets for, as plenty of both classic and current country music stars make appearances multiple times a week to put on two-hour live shows for adoring fans who love to dance. The Grand Ole Opry started as a radio show recording space, where its host allowed a live audience to conduct an hour-long “barn dance” once a week.

If this isn’t enough for your music lover vacation, though, check out when the shows are and make a reservation at the famed Bluebird Cafe to listen to up-and-coming singer-songwriters while eating good food and indulging in their beer and wine selections.

Country music day-trips from Nashville include heading west to Graceland or east to Dollywood. Each trip takes about three-and-a-half hours one way, and and can be a welcome itinerary addition if you’re looking to visit Memphis or the ever-popular Pigeon Forge. Some of the most popular vacations for music lovers, Graceland and Dollywood celebrate the lives of these famous performers through a look at Elvis’ home and a world revolving around country diva Dolly Parton.

In terms of nightlife for the 21+ members of your group, Printers Alley, Honky Tonk Highway and Broadway Street are the central locations for listening to music in a bar or club scene. It wouldn’t be Nashville without visiting famous country singers’ bars, like Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean’s country-themed rooftops.

Top locations mentioned:

  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Johnny Cash Museum
  • Music City Walk of Fame
  • Ryman Auditorium & the Grand Ole Opry
  • Bluebird Cafe
  • Graceland
  • Dollywood
  • Broadway Street Bars

Looking for a Little Variety? Check Out Havana, Cuba

Havana vacations for music lovers Photo by Jessica Knowlden on Unsplash

Photo by Jessica Knowlden on Unsplash

Havana is not always the first place travelers think of when they plan a music-themed vacation, but there is plenty to do when it comes to immersing your group in Latin music, culture and, most importantly, street dancing.

If you want to experience everything that Havana has to offer in terms of a musical experience, booking a tour is the best way to go about your travels. Finding a multi-day tour like the Havana Music and Cultural Tour will take you through vinyl music history lessons and listening sessions, salsa dance classes, DJ concerts and festivals, and still leave you time to explore the city on your own or complete other, non-music related activities for those in your group who wish to.

Havana Music School offers curated courses and workshops aimed at anyone who wants to learn the traditions and culture surrounding Cuban music. They offer salsa and music lessons to those of all levels, and invite anyone interested in learning more about Havana’s blend of cultural music to join. It is highly recommended to book your chosen course about two weeks before your trip to Havana so that classes don’t fill up.

When planning vacations for music lovers in Havana, be sure to give special attention to the city’s street dancing traditions. Plenty of outdoor cafe patios and parks offer street dancing and impromptu performances from salsa dancing groups, from young amateurs to seasoned professionals. The Fuego Salsa Dancing company often pops up around the city to put on street dancing performances. Check out their website to see where they will be next. Or, visit the Malecon, a five-mile long wall along the ocean, at sunset to dance with salsa experts for free.

If possible, try to time your trip around different festivals, including the Havana RPM Music Festival in late November/early December or the Boleros de Oro Festival for bolero music in June. These festivals include food, markets, DJs, live music, dancing and more for everyone in your group to enjoy.

In terms of nightlife, Habana Cafe is one of the most highly recommended spots for dancing and music. It is Havana’s version of the Hard Rock Cafe, but set in a 1950s Cuban atmosphere. They offer live music shows every night, and you won’t want to miss out on their food and specialty cocktails. The Cabaret Parisien show at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba is also a staple for those 18+ visiting Cuba. The “Habana de Fiesta” includes dancing, music, colors, history and culture that you just can’t find anywhere else…and a complimentary cocktail. Stay after the show to dance with the locals, but make sure you are dressed in formal attire, as it is required for entrance. Photos and videos are only allowed with purchase.

Top locations mentioned:

  • Havana Music Tours
  • Havana Music School
  • Havana Fuego Street Dancing
  • Boleros de Oro Festival
  • Habana Cafe
  • Cabaret Parisien

Want a Mix of Everything? Go to Liverpool, U.K.

Liverpool vacations for music lovers Photo by Neil Martin on Unsplash

Photo by Neil Martin on Unsplash

Liverpool, often neglected in favor of London, is an integral part of British pop music and was the birthplace of Beatlemania. Today, British pop, rock, EDM and other artists take the many stages across the city to bring their unique sounds to the people, making it one of the best vacations for music lovers.

A great place to start your musical vacation to quintessentially-British Liverpool is by grabbing tickets for the British Music Experience, where the U.K.’s music history from the 60s until now is showcased for patrons to see and listen to. There are plenty of fully immersive exhibits that give you background on artists and bands of the region while playing their music to give you a full experience. So many of the U.K.’s iconic artists are featured, and this is a great first stop on your trip to get you in the mood for more.

Probe Records, along with many other record stores, is a great place to stop by while you’re in Liverpool. The U.K., known for its original record pressing methods and plethora of stores, is a great place to cultivate your taste and vinyl collection. Maybe even try something new!

If your group members are fans of the Beatles, you can’t pass up one of Liverpool’s leading musical attractions, The Beatles Story Museum. The Albert Dock is home to the Beatles Story’s main exhibition, and if you go early enough, you might also have time for one of Liverpool’s many famous Beatles walking tours. On the tours, guides will share with you fascinating stories of the British artists’ rise to fame, stopping by plenty of iconic spots in Liverpool where the Beatles made musical magic. From the bandmates’ childhood homes to Penny Lane to the Cavern Club, you will get a great glimpse of the Beatles’ journey to stardom.

Speaking of the Cavern Club, make sure to reserve tickets to watch British bands and artists take the historic stage today. The club is open seven days a week for customers to listen to live music, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the atmosphere where the Beatles and other artists got their starts.

Other great spots to visit include the Baltic Triangle and Kazimier Garden. The Baltic Triangle is a district of artists, musicians and other creatives where you can listen to live music, enjoy artisanal craft foods and drinks and explore art galleries and markets. The Kazimier Garden is an atmospheric bar where local DJs and musicians put on impressive gigs for sold-out crowds.

If the bar scene is not quite what you’re looking for, book tickets with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic to see a symphony worthy of a multiple-hour flight. The orchestral performances blow audiences away every time. There is no dress code required, but make sure to book tickets ahead of time to get the best seats.

Top locations mentioned:

  • British Music Experience
  • Probe Records
  • The Beatles Story Museum
  • Liverpool Beatles walking tours
  • The Cavern Club
  • Baltic Triangle
  • Kazimier Garden
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

By Taylor Anderson–Chicago, Ill.

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