Bring your dancing shoes and jazz hands because we’re getting bluesy. This adventure from Atlanta to New Orleans takes you through the musical meccas of Nashville and Memphis with all the sights, food and tunes you could ever ask for. Drip sauce down your fingers at a Memphis-style barbecue, learn to line dance in Nashville, visit the Jungle Room in Graceland, let your hair down on Bourbon Street and finish it all off with two days at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Start: Atlanta, USA | Finish: New Orleans, USA
Departure Date: 19 April 2020
Welcome to the South! Touch down in Atlanta, Georgia, and meet your fellow travellers at 6pm this evening. Join them for an optional group dinner or head out on your own to explore. Atlanta is a popular tourist city with a fascinating history and a booming music and arts scene. If you arrive early, why not visit the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and learn more about Atlanta and the United States' turbulent past.
Drive approximately four hours to Nashville, Tennessee, with an optional tour of the Jack Daniels Distillery on the way. On arrival, take an orientation walk around Broadway in the centre of town and then free time for the rest of the afternoon. There's a reason Nashville is known as Music City: check out some of iconic music venues like Grand Ole Opry House or the Ryman Auditorium. In the evening, you can visit the famous Wild Horse Saloon to try line dancing or enjoy a night out on the Honky Tonk Highway, a road packed with live music venues and bars playing country music and partying all day, every day.
Today's free for you to continue exploring Nashville. You're in the home of country music, so why not visit the Country Music Hall of Fame or take a tour of RCA Studio B. This historic studio was instrumental in the development of Nashville's musical reputation and artists like Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers and Willie Nelson have recorded music here. The King himself, Elvis Presley, is also said to have recorded over two hundred songs in its hallowed halls. Take a break, grab and beer and treat yourself to some hot fried chicken. Later, for a small door cover perhaps check out a show at The Listening Room Cafe.
Say farewell to Nashville but don't get the blues. Or do, because the next stop is Memphis and there aren't many better places to feel a little bluesy. Visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, on an optional tour to pay your respects to the King and see the famous Jungle Room, then eat like a king at an Memphis-style BBQ dinner. Memphis is home to the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and dinner is included in your trip, so all you need to bring is good attitude and an empty stomach.
Visit Sun Studio this morning, yet another legendary studio and the scene of THAT photo. You know, the one with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins standing around the piano during a jam session. There are several optional activities to choose from following the tour including a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum, the Gibson Guitar Factory or the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Be sure to try the fried chicken and discover the fascinating history of Gus' World Famous Fried Chicken then, in the evening, hit up iconic Beale St for all your musical and nightlife needs.
Today involves a long drive through Mississippi to reach The Big Easy – New Orleans. Check into the hotel on arrival, then it's out for dinner and a walk around the buzzing French Quarter and its world-famous strip of hedonism: Bourbon Street. It's a never-ending party here and like any party destination, it can be equal parts entertaining and terrifying, but with bars, restaurants and serious people-watching opportunities, there's no denying it's a damn good time.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is finally here. With over ten stages and a diverse range of musical styles, Jazzfest has been called the country's best festival and was named Festival of the Year several times in the past. It's an inseparable part of the city and since its inception it has hosted a huge variety of local and international musicians, from small local acts to worldwide superstars. Beyond the music, there’s sizzling Cajun food and southern delicacies aplenty (smoked brisket anyone?), cultural exhibitions and a palpable buzz in the air. Make sure you’ve got your schedule sorted and dive on in!
Cruise the food stalls and the stages catching old favourites and discovering new ones, then hit Bourbon Street or choose to take a jazz dinner cruise on a steamboat down the Mississippi River. If the festival has got you all fired up with the spirit of jazz, make sure you check out an act in Preservation Hall, a historic venue dedicated to intimate acts and keeping legacy alive. Don't forget to organise a farewell dinner or dance with your group on the final night!
Stick on some Billie Holiday and play a sad trombone – your Jazz adventure comes to an end today and there are no activities planned. You’re free to depart at any time after check out.