Plan your travels with help from our music notes
by Jennifer Mitchell
If you’re never without your headphones and your pen is more often a drumstick than a writing utensil, a music-inspired travel quest might be ideal for you. Check out our top five music-themed travel quest suggestions below. Then let the music move you around the world.
1. Rock out in 20 countries with a music-inspired travel quest
Get exposure to new bands and new styles of music with a world tour of your own. Create a travel quest to visit 20 countries and attend a concert featuring local artists at each stop. You’ll be exposed to new music movements and sounds—and you may find your new favorite band. Though each country is sure to have a unique sound, Mail Travel compiled a list of five global music styles you need to hear live, including Flamenco and Volksmusik. Once you’ve heard those five, keep the tour bus rolling to hear Irish folk music, New Orleans jazz and Cuban son-style music—a few additional highly recommended styles.
If you’re really passionate about a band or singer and they tour globally, you can tweak this quest and see that performer in 10 or 20 countries. You’ll still get exposure to new places with the added bonus of following your favorite artist.
Lollapalooza, Chicago | photo: Kara Walsh
2. Attend a music festival on (almost) every continent
If festivals are your jam, make your travel playlist and set out to attend a music festival on (almost) every continent. (Now that Icestock is no longer running, you probably won’t be able to cross Antarctica off the list.) Just as music festivals are a great way to find new bands, setting a travel quest to attend a music festival on every continent is a great way to meet new people and learn about different cultures. After spending a day or two at the festival, get out and explore the host city with your fellow concert-goers.
Red Rocks Amphitheater, Colorado
3. Create a music-inspired travel quest to visit famous concert venues
As we’ve mentioned, we at No Small Plan are big architecture buffs and love exploring world-famous buildings. While some buildings are known for their beautiful or innovative architecture, others are known for the historic events that have taken place inside them. Which is why we recommend visiting some of the most famous concert venues and music halls in the world. Our top 10 list includes the world’s only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater, the venue Ella Fitzgerald first walked onstage and the home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show.
Accordingly, we recommend starting your quest with Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, The Apollo, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and continue with Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden in NYC, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington state, Paradiso in Amsterdam and The Royal Albert Hall in London. (Tell us if we missed your favorite below in the comments.)
ABBA Museum, Stockholm
4. Plan a travel quest to visit famed music museums
To learn more about your favorite artists or musical styles, consider a quest to visit museums centered around music or museums with music-inspired exhibits. Here, we’ve focused on some of the most renowned museums for music lovers. However, if you’re looking for exhibits that display the history of music, how music is made or museums that are specific to one instrument, artist or style, there are dozens of museums that may appeal to your niche musical interests.
During your quest, be sure to visit the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as Experience Music Project) in Seattle, Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, the Motown Museum in Detroit, the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, the National Music Museum in South Dakota, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum in Memphis and the Museum at Bethel Woods in New York.
Not technically a museum, Sun Studio in Memphis is also a must-do. Known worldwide as “the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll, Sun Studio offers daily tours. For additional ideas, check out these lists of music-inspired museums from Fodor’s and Condé Nast Traveler.
The Spotted Cat, New Orleans | photo: Kara Walsh
5. Follow the evolution of music during a historical music-themed travel quest
Add a pinch of history to your music-themed travel quest and follow the evolution of music by traveling to destinations where different music movements were born. Not only will you be exposed to a variety of musical styles, but you’ll be able to see how each musical style influenced the next.
Because music can be traced back to the start of human civilization, and there are many subgenres of music, this travel quest could last a lifetime. But we created a top 10 list based on popular genres and cities that offer multiple tourist destinations related to that style of music. Our top 10 destinations include Vienna (classical music), Memphis (blues and rock and roll), New York City (musical theater and rap), New Orleans (American jazz), Nashville (country), Detroit (Motown), San Francisco (1970s counterculture/protest songs), Jamaica (reggae), Berlin (techno/electronica) and Seattle (grunge).
Regardless of which music-themed travel quest you choose, there are so many famous sites to see. As you’re planning each leg of your travel quest, scatter in popular music destinations like Graceland, Dollywood, Abbey Road and Jim Morrison’s grave.
After deciding on a plan, create a map with the destinations you plan to visit and print it on a shirt, tank or tote. And be sure to check out additional ideas for travel quests inspired by art, film and food and drink from No Small Plan.
Jennifer Mitchell is a blogger, comedian, freelance copywriter and travel enthusiast.