The Best US Cities for Music Lovers | Hostelling International USA

6 U.S Cities that Every Music Lover Should Visit

17 April 2018

Are you the type of person who likes to bond with new friends over favorite songs? Do you have to have the ultimate playlist during your travel adventures? Do you live for the freedom of the open road and life on the festival ground? If you answered yes, you should combine your two loves this summer and make a pilgrimage to your favorite music city. The only question is, which HI USA hostel should you make your tour stop? Pick your favorite genre and find out.  

Hip Hop: New York City

biggie mural

Any hip-hop head knows the Bronx in New York City is the epicenter of it all, though the entire city is pretty much a monument to the history of break beats and b-boys. A good place to start is 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, a street with the honorary title of Hip Hop Boulevard and where the genre was born. Then also check out Notorious B.I.G’s childhood home in Brooklyn, the Graffiti Hall of Fame in Manhattan, and the epic murals all over the city. 

Where to stay: HI New York City hostel is a subway ride from the Appollo Theatre as well as smaller music venues known for live hip hop in Harlem

Pop: Los Angeles

Hollywood sign

Los Angeles is veritable playground for pop-culture enthusiasts. Full of legendary live music venues, recording studios, red carpet events, and the actual homes of some of your favorite performers, the city makes for a dream destination for any music lover. Pop fans will find their meccas at places like the Grammy Museum downtown, Sunset Boulevard, and the Capital Records building in Hollywood to name just a few. 

Where to stay: There are a few great live music venues near HI Los Angeles Santa Monica hostel, and the Venice Strip nearby is the site of many music video shoots. Also keep an eye out for the Summer Twilight Concerts on the pier in the summer. 

Blues: Chicago

Blues club

When you hear those electric guitar melodies and wailing harmonica paired with Delta rhythm, it’s got to be Chicago blues. As home of the legendary Chess Records label, which had signature artists like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Etta James on its bill, the Windy City is a rich historical hub when it comes to this unique brand of blues. You can visit the site of the famous record company, and then catch a show at Buddy Guy’s Legends, a night club with live music seven days a week owned by the man himself. 

Where to stay: HI Chicago hostel is a great place to meet fellow music lovers, and if you’re looking for a mash-up of genres, Lollapalooza is held in nearby Grant Park each summer. 

Country: Nashville

country artists singing on street of Nashville

They don’t call it Music City for nothing! The only question about Nashville’s role in the history of country music is whether it got started at the Grand Ole Opry in the 1920s, or on Music Row in the ‘50s. Make time for both to see performances by local and out-of-town acts and to visit the sites where the likes of Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton recorded some of their biggest hits. There are also a ton of great museums, like the Country Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum, that any music lover will appreciate. 

Where to stay: There’s possibly no better place to stay than HI Nashville Downtown hostel. It’s close to most of the museums, excellent live venues, and the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.   

Jazz: New Orleans

Jazz float at Mardi Gras World

Whether you’re a fan of big band, enjoy getting into a bit of swing, or are more into long improvised saxophone melodies, you’ll find a slice of jazz heaven in the Big Easy. New Orleans is the home of "America's classical music," a creation rooted in blues, ragtime, and military traditions that brought us greats like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Check out Lafayette Square on Wednesdays in summer for free performances by big names, Louis Armstrong Park, Preservation Hall in the French Quarter, and any venue you wish on Frenchman Street for a bit of a boogie. Whatever you do, you’ll leave happy. 

Where to stay: HI New Orleans hostel makes for an excellent launch pad for exploring the French Quarter and beyond.  

A little bit of everything: Austin 

With the official motto of "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin is the perfect destination for anyone who loves a bit of everything and wants to find it all on one trip. There’s festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits, which are both known for their eclectic line-ups showcasing talents and styles from around the world. Plus venues and record stores where you can lose a few happy hours. And for a fun night out, check out the cool spaces on Sixth Street with everything from EDM to blues. 

Where to stay: Stay at HI Austin hostel to be within easy access of the music and nightlife downtown, and ask the helpful staff for recommendations to find your favorite scene.  

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