The USA is the ultimate destination for the lover of all types of modern music, from jazz and blues to roots and rock.

Read on for six essential places that you NEED to visit in the USA and why you should go ASAP.

The  Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle. 

The Museum of Pop Culture is by far the best museum in the USA dedicated to pop culture, with exhibitions paying homage to the local grunge music scene from the likes of  Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and Jimi Hendrix. Trust us when we say you need to check it out and tick this off your bucket list.

Here, you will also find exhibitions of Sci-Fi films and TV, video games and plenty of interactive displays to keep you entertained. Try your hand at playing the guitars, drums, bass and keys inside soundproof music studios just like the rockstar you are!

Amoeba Music, Hollywood. 

This iconic record store may boast three branches on the west coast of California  (San Francisco, Berkley and Hollywood), but it’s their Hollywood store that has the claim to fame as the world’s largest independent record store.

Covering an entire block and two storeys, Amoeba Hollywood has over one million CDs and DVDs, and for the old-school rocker, cassette tapes and vinyl. Regular in-store appearances lend extra cred to this establishment along the likes of  The Roots, Jurassic 5, Queens Of The Stone Age and Elvis Costello.

Buddy Guy’s Legends, Chicago. 

If you want to see one of the last living legends of the blues, get along to Buddy Guy’s in January, when you could quite possibly catch the man himself ripping guitar in his own club. If Guy himself doesn’t make one of his regular appearances at this time of year in the Windy City, you will be blown away by local Chicago blues artists.

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Preservation Hall, New Orleans. 

If you want to hear some authentic Louisiana tunes, head to Preservation Hall. First established in the early 1960’s, this boutique jazz experience, complete with original timber seating and suited up brass band will make you feel like you have stepped back in time to 1940’s New Orleans.

Patrons are encouraged to make requests of the band…just don’t ask them to play ‘When The Saints’!

Third Man Records, Nashville. 

Vinyl records have had a massive resurgence in the last few years, but Jack White (of the White Stripes, The Saboteurs and a host of other bands) was ahead of the pack, establishing Third Man Records in his adopted hometown of Nashville in 2001.

Now just about every release under his label (think The Dead Weather among others) can be purchased from the store in Nashville on beautiful wax. Not content with buying records and want to create your own? Channel your inner Elvis by taking to the Third Man recording booth. Your recording will be spat out on vinyl of course.

Sun Studios, Memphis.

Speaking of Elvis, no trip to the South would be complete without a visit to Sun Studios, where rock n’ roll music as we know it was born. Owner Sam Phillips knew talent when he saw it; he was the first person to record The King. Other legends recorded here include Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf and Roy Orbison.

The tour of the studio includes memorabilia and early sound recordings from these artists and much more and concludes at an “X” marked on the studio floor where Elvis stood during recording, which visitors are encouraged to kiss. A vanilla malt milkshake from the diner-style cafe would provide an equally-thrilling but more hygienic conclusion to the tour for the germ-averse.

Are you ready to explore the USA? Check out our epic trips here.

adam retmock
Adam’s full-time job is making travel dreams come true in the Topdeck HQ in Brisbane. When he’s not at work, you can find Adam more at a gig, the local record store or be cooking up a delicious meal.