Top Places to Visit for Rock and Music History

Music is something that some people can’t live without. It is something that can lift our moods when we are feeling down, or give us inspiration, as well. Since it is the soundtrack to most people’s lives, it can also play a significant part in any travel experience. When you travel to different places, music will always be present most of the time. Whether it’s the fun beat in a nightclub, playing traditional folk songs on the streets, attending indie concerts, and even simple music while walking on the beach. 

If you are a music lover, you’ll likely appreciate visiting places that tell a lot of things about music. Therefore, for your next trip, here are the top places you can visit for rock and music history. 

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is popularly known as the birthplace of the grunge music scene, which was produced back in the early 1990s. In the present time, Seattle still embraces grunge, having a permanent exhibit devoted to Nirvana, which is based at the EMP Museum. This museum was originally named as the Experience Music Project. Aside from Nirvana, it also features exhibits about the legendary rocker, Jimi Hendrix, and the evolution of music videos, as well. 

There’s also a stand-alone Sub Pop Records store at the Sea-Tac Airport, and the popular record label with the same name attributed with launching the movement can still be found in Seattle. It continues to give birth to the great indie rock artists, including The Shins and The Postal Service. Some of the best live music scenes in Seattle can be found at venues like Café Racer, Columbia City Theater, and The Showbox at the Market. 

Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York City

Strawberry Fields covers 2.5 acres in New York City’s Central Park. This was built as a memorial to John Lennon, who was killed outside the Dakota apartment building located on 72nd Street and Central Park West. It was the place where he lived for the latter part of his life. In the center of the Strawberry Fields, you’ll be able to find the “Imagine” mosaic. It is where most people and fans leave mementos or gather together for remembrance, and for sharing music, as well. Therefore, when you visit New York, it is one of the places you shouldn’t miss. 

Liverpool, England

Liverpool is tagged as the world capital of pop because of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. But more than the Beatles, Liverpool also hosts big-name performers at their Echo Arena. There are also lots of special events here like the Liverpool International Music Festival along with the International Beatleweek. There are countless fans of the Beatles who come here to experience the birthplace of the legendary English pop band. Therefore, if you are a fan of the Beatles, you can try the Beatles Fab Four Taxi Tour when you visit Liverpool. It will take you on a historical tour in all places related to the Beatles. 

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee

This place is an obvious choice for rock ‘n’ roll lovers out there. If you ever find yourself in the south, then you must visit Elvis Presley’s stately mansion. This has long been a pilgrimage site for rock and roll fans. You will be given the chance to tour the home and grounds of the mansion year-round. 

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, or the City by the Bay, was the heart of the counterculture movement in the 1960s. Popular names, including Santana, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane played at famous venues like The Filmore, which in the present time, still hosts great musicians of today. 

Many popular concerts were held in San Francisco, including the final live show ever of the Beatles at Candlestick Park, and Led Zeppelin at Kezar Stadium. When you visit San Francisco today, there is an endless number of places you can go to across the region where you can catch great bands. You can also try going to Amoeba Music in the Haight-Ashbury District, and as well as on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, which is a great record store that is also an amazing spot to catch some live shows. 

The Elliot Smith Wall, Los Angeles, California

Since the tragic death of Elliot Smith in 2003, the wall where the cover of Figure 8 was taken has become some sort of unofficial tribute to the late singer. During the time when the cover was photographed, the wall was part of a guitar shop. In the present time, it is a restaurant, and the mural was just restored recently after many years when graffiti took its toll on it. You can find this wall at 4344 W Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. 

Berlin, Germany

Berlin was popular for decadence, but it is also a world city that has been famous for years for its pulsating house music. The majority focuses on rock, jazz, pop, and improvisation music. You can catch live Echtzeitmusick on Monday nights at Madame CLAUDE, which is an underground bar that is set up in a former brothel. If you want to get in, you’ll need to head through a wardrobe, which is located in a disturbing upside-down living room that defies the laws of gravity. 

If you want to experience other kinds of music, then you can go to White Trash Fast Food. It is an all-in-one tattoo parlor, burger joint, tiki shack, and smoking cinema. It is a popular place for the rock ‘n’ roll crowd. You can find here everything from garage and punk to rockabilly. 

Washington, D.C. 

Washington has a thriving underground music scene for years now, that’s why it is also a great place to visit for music lovers. Aside from that, it is also an excellent place to visit museums, including the National Museum of American History. There, you’ll be able to see old cassettes and a plethora of pop culture items. There are also many places in Washington where you can see live music, such as the 9:30 club, which had hosted almost everyone, from Rob Zombie to Arcade Fire.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is popular for having rich, eclectic, and ever-changing music scene. Some of the popular recording artists who birthed here include Aerosmith, James Taylor, Boston, Pixies, and The Cars. Boston is a great place for the college crowd. So, if you are a student of music, or simply a student who loves music, then Boston will offer you a cutting-edge scene that can give you a chance to rock to great local bands at intimate venues, such as Harpers Ferry and the House of Blues. 

When you visit Boston in the summer, you’ll be able to watch an outdoor concert or festival along the Charles River at the Hatch Shell. Aside from rock music, classical music is also a thing in Boston, and it’s a part of their cultural heritage. Classical music here is driven by its colleges of music and conservatories like Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory. Therefore, whether you like rock, punk, metal, classical, electronica, or hip hop, you will surely find an energizing experience in the live music scene of Boston. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is indeed a must-visit for rock ‘n’ roll lovers and music enthusiasts. It is located on the shores of Lake Erie and was designed by a well-known architect named I.M. Pei. This is home to some of the most iconic rock memorabilia in the world. You can find here instruments played by your favorite bands and artists, and as well as the original handwritten lyrics of your favorite songs. 

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit or Motor City is the birthplace of Motown Music. It is also home to the Motown Museum, where you can listen to the music of the Temptations, Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and more. It also houses artifacts and even has a stand-in studio where artists laid down tracks. Detroit was dubbed by Kiss as “Detroit Rock City”. Other acts that had their roots here include Eminem, Alice Cooper, Insane Clown Posse, and the White Stripes. Even the fans of hip hop, the blues, and soul will love to experience the current music scene in Detroit. 

Abbey Road, London

Abbey Road Studios is billed as the most famous recording studio in the world. It is located at 3 Abbey Road in London. This place is also popular due to the Beatles album with the same name, which was recorded there in 1969. Aside from the Beatles, some of the other popular artists who recorded here were Pink Floyd, Paul Robeson, Badfinger, and The Hollies. In the present time, Abbey Road is an English Heritage site. But it is still a working studio. That’s why it’s challenging for fans to peek inside. But you can certainly take a photo on the street outside to match the iconic album cover of the Beatles. 

Austin, Texas

Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, that’s why it should definitely be on your list of places to visit if you’re a music lover. There might not be a lot of musicians that spawned here, but Austin has a lot of live music venues compared to famous music spots like Nashville, L.A., and New York City. Some of the must-experience venues in Nashville include Antone’s, the Continental Club, and the Broken Spoke. 

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is tagged as the City of Music, and it is a must-visit place for those who love classical music, or who are looking into knowing a lot of music history. Many of the giants of classical music have lived or made music in Vienna, including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Haydn, Mahler, and Brahms. The city celebrates their legacy with a yearly performance season that lasts from September to June. This also includes nine festivals that happen every year, as well. When you visit Vienna, try to see the Vienna Philharmonic as much as possible. It is your chance to experience a world-class recital. 

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is popularly known as “Music City”. It’s because this place is home to hundreds of great live music spots. Aside from that, you can also visit here one of the most historic music venues, which is the Ryman Auditorium, where you can also attend a live recording. The city also has a flourishing rock scene that you can find at a number of venues, including The Basement, which is located below Grime’s New & Preloved Music store. This is an intimate venue, but it has hosted everything from acoustic shows to metal shows. This place also sometimes hosts secret shows. In fact, Metallica played here in front of just 175 people back in 2008, while they were on their way to Bonnaroo. You can also check these cool things to do in Nashville.

These are the top places to visit for rock and music history. It is indeed great to travel, not just for the sceneries, but as well as to appreciate the music in each place, which also has been part of their heritage. So, which of these places do you plan to visit on your next trip?