Visit firsthand some U.S. sites that may seem familiar because of their extensive use in hit movies. Cities like Chicago, Memphis, Birmingham, and New Orleans all have their place in representing the history of film and music.
A Free Personalised Road Book is included as standard with our Self Drive itineraries.
Please note: – This is a suggested itinerary only and is intended to give an overview of what is possible. All of our holiday itineraries are fully customisable and can be tailor-made to suit your own individual requirements. If you would like to start in a different destination, use specific hotel accommodation, include an extra night here, a side-trip there and/or include tickets to an event please let your Discover North America travel specialist know. They’ll also book you the best value flights to ensure a seamless holiday experience.
Arrive in Chicago. Pick up your rental car at the airport and proceed to your hotel. Enjoy your evening at leisure.
While exploring this vibrant city located on the shores of Lake Michigan, you will notice many famous landmarks and buildings from films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, While You Were Sleeping, and The Road to Perdition, not to mention The Blues Brothers. Try and locate the Blues Brothers Soul Food restaurant on Maxwell Street, and don’t forget to pay a visit to the original House of Blues jazz club.
“Meet Me in St. Louis” is a summary of today’s journey. Upon arrival, take a tram ride to the top of the famous St. Louis Arch and get a city view from 630 feet. Then take time to view Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West, a movie produced by the National Geographic Soci- ety and viewed on a giant four-story screen at the Gateway Arch.
Memphis offers a multitude of musical and movie moments, and there are two nights to explore your favourites. Start with a visit to Graceland, home of the late Elvis Presley, then choose between the Rock & Soul Museum, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Gibson Guitar Factory, or Sun Studio where musicians such as B. B. King, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded rock’n’roll hits.
During your stay, check for any outdoor concerts at the Mud Island outdoor amphitheater. Located right on the Mississippi River, Mud Island River Park is a historic and scenic outdoor area. Or, dine in B. B. King’s restaurant on famous Beale Street.
Travel from Memphis to Clarksdale, heart of the Delta Blues. Stop to tour the Delta Blues Museum filled with memorabilia from B.B. King and Muddy Waters. Follow the banks of the Mississippi River along Hwy 1, and take the opportunity to roll the dice in one of the many Mississippi casinos; they never close!
On to the Big Easy! New Orleans is a jazz lover’s paradise, and the familiar backdrop in a string of successful movies. The jazz & blues clubs are too numerous to mention, but there are two days in New Orleans to check them out!
Continue to explore this city of riverboats, jazz, and Creole cuisine. Take time to visit the beautiful botanical garden or journey out to the levees to see how they protect the city from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This evening why not board a paddle steamer for a dinner cruise on the mighty Mississippi River.
Sweet Home Alabama! Today, we head to Birmingham, Alabama. For music fans, the highlight would be a visit to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Entrance to this exhibition is free and inside you’ll find a wonderful tribute to jazz greats with ties to Alabama. For movie lovers, try and locate the original Whistle Stop Café, the setting for the novel, and later film, Fried Green Tomatoes. Although scenes in the movie were actually filmed in Atlanta, the original café is located in North Irondale, just outside of Birmingham.
Returning to Tennessee today, set forth to Chattanooga. Summer travelers should check the dates of the annual Chattanooga Riverbend Festival. While in Tennessee, don’t miss the opportunity to try a “moon pie”, a favorite South- ern snack since the early 1900s.
Nashville, “Music City USA”, is the destina- tion today. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, a multimedia music shrine including movie theatres, costumes, instruments and other artifacts detailing country music’s colourful history. Don’t miss a visit to the Ryman Auditorium and a night at the Grand Ole Opry.
From Blue Grass to Brass Bands, Ken- tucky has popular music for every listener. Today’s destination is Louisville, Kentucky,
home of the famous Kentucky Derby which takes place at Churchill Downs the first Saturday each May. Recently featured in the movie Sea Biscuit, Churchill Downs is the mecca of American horse racing and home of the Kentucky Derby Museum. Take a short side trip to Bards town and visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s anthem of the same name which is sung by the crowds every year at the Kentucky Derby. No visit to Kentucky would be complete without a visit to a bourbon distillery, but remember that many Kentucky counties are “dry,” so often there are no tastings. Baseball fans should ensure they fit in a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum, an interactive museum honoring many of baseball’s greats.
Today, your tour returns you to the Windy City, Chicago, having visited seven different states, experienced many popular movie set locations, and heard music ranging from blues to jazz to soul to gospel to country to bluegrass and rock’n’roll.
A final day in Chicago before you return your car at the airport before your departure flight.