GMT -6 hours
Explore the sounds and spirit of the south and stop by the house of the King himself.
Visit Nashville, the capital of country music, and tour the recording studios of Music Row before heading to the Country Music Hall of Fame to record your own track. Memphis is the place for music lovers, bursting with the sounds of country, soul, blues and jazz, it was also the home of the King, Elvis Presley himself. New Orleans is one of America's most unique cities, where the spirit of the Old South still lives on. Explore the French Quarter around Jackson Square, follow in Mark Twain's footsteps and take a river cruise up the Mississippi.
In Nashville, Downtown is where the party is starting. Second Avenue is great for those looking to kick back and enjoy some country music and good southern cooking with opportunities to try your hand at a little line dancing. You can also visit the famed Coyote Ugly Saloon, though females beware, you may get invited up to dance on the bar! Broadway is home to some of Nashville’s favoured eating establishments with barbecue joints being exceedingly popular. There are also juke joints, authentic honky tonk music clubs and an array of shops. For a more upscale experience, 5th Avenue can provide some fine dining delights, classical music in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and you can wander through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Nashville is all about experiencing the music, so make sure you spend at least some time exploring the multitude of clubs and bars including The Basement, Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom or the legendary Exit/Inn. A visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame cannot be missed as it boasts a staggering array of costumes, guitars and memorabilia belonging to some of the biggest country music stars ever to exist. You’ll also have to stop off at the Ryman Auditorium which has played host to some of the genre’s biggest stars including Hank Williams Snr., Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello. For those with a love of art, stop off at The Arts Company and the TAG Art Gallery and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
Memphis has three main tourist areas, not including Graceland, Downtown, Midtown and East Memphis. The Downtown area is home to the blues and boasts plenty of bars and clubs for you to hop between. You’ll also find Mississippi River tours available here as well as museums and parks. Midtown is a great area to visit as its home to the zoo, some more eclectic museums as well as Overton Square, the destination for shopping, trendy bars and entertainment. For nature lovers, East Memphis is perfect with parks, nature centres and botanic gardens; it’s a laidback area awash with fun outdoor activities.
If you want to experience the blues in Memphis, you need to head to Beale Street where you can bar hop to your heart’s content, enjoying live music and innovative beer windows where you can buy cups of beer on the go. For history buffs the city has some rather intriguing museums such as The Pink Palace which has animatronic dinosaurs, shrunken heads an IMAX and Planetarium! There is also the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum. Overton Park is home to the Memphis Zoo and Overton Golf Course whilst Shelby Farms Park offers guests the chance to enjoy walking, fishing, mountain biking, sailing and much more.
The French Quarter is the oldest and most famous part of New Orleans and many tourists will spend the majority of their stay here. It is filled with restaurants, bars, museums and music clubs. Adjacent to this is Downtown, which has a great array of museums, the Arts District and the Old Warehouse District. Downriver from the French Quarter you’ll find some of the worst hit areas in the Katrina disaster, however you’ll also find authentic music, quirky attractions and historic sites. Uptown is ideal for shopping, dining and entertainments whilst Middle District is home to a plethora of historic attractions and popular dining establishments.
New Orleans is still bouncing back from the devastating Hurricane Katrina, but many of the tourist areas are back in full swing. Bourbon Street is especially popular with tourists, with its array of bars and music clubs. Magazine Street is great for those looking to purchase some local art, jewellery or clothing. Visit the Audubon Nature institute and wander round its zoo, aquarium, and insectarium or take in a show in the IMAX. There are also some wonderful museums such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the New Orleans WWII museums. For a laidback afternoon, visit Jackson Square, watch the street performers from the comfort of one of the cafés and gaze up at the beautiful St Louis Cathedral.
Pause for a moment on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and take in the sights and sounds of the unique French quarter – wonderful architecture, diverse colourful happy people, soulfull jazz – traditional and modern – and the delightful smells of Cajun cooking. A unique experience that will stay with you forever.