If you love going places and think music is more than just a bunch of invisible wavy lines, boy do we have a treat for you! Below is a compilation of some of planet Earth’s most interesting musical hotspots, from museums to mega music stores, there’s just about something for everyone. Except for people that bought and enjoyed Kevin Federline’s Playing with Fire record, in that case, you might want to stick to staying home and reevaluating your life choices.
Abbey Road – London, England
Not many albums can withstand the test of time, especially ones that are creeping up on being 50 or 60 years old. The Beatles’ Abbey Road is one of those iconic records that even kids born after the year 2000 (yikes) can recognize. The famous cover features all four Beatles walking over a striped crosswalk, just outside Abbey Road Studios in London.
While there are plenty of attractions around England where fans can get a taste of Beatles history, Abbey Road offers you and your crew a chance to recreate this photo, only without the cool suits, unless you’re actually wearing cool suits. In that case, your dedication to capturing this moment should be applauded.
Musicians are still rocking out in this studio to this day! If you’re so musically inclined and want to impress people at parties, you can record your next LP in one of the recording rooms with a team or professional sound engineers. They’ll even mix and master your magnum opus til it sounds so good you’ll almost forget that you wrote it.
Those whose musical career consists of acoustic covers of Wonderwall at house parties can still have a great time here by spray painting a message onto the graffiti wall or snapping some pictures of the studio itself.
If you’re a Beatles fan, Abbey Road is a great pit stop to make in London because it’s right in the thick of the city so you won’t need to travel the four hours it takes to get to Liverpool. You can also be assured that throughout the city there are plenty of Beatles souvenirs, bits of history and general fandom to keep you satisfied.
Abbey Road Studios is located at 3 Abbey Rd, London NW8 9AY, UK
Graceland – Memphis, TN
What better way to pay respects to the king of rock n’ roll than to visit his home and final resting place. The Graceland mansion in Memphis was owned by Elvis Presley and was also where he died suddenly of a heart attack in his bathroom in 1977. As the second most visited house in the country besides that big white building in Washington D.C., there’s a lot more to Graceland than a house.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour throughout the property to learn about the man, his work and his impact on culture. Did we mention the guided iPad tour is hosted by John Stamos? Just take my money! There are also several museums and exhibits that feature everything from those iconic white jumpsuits to a fleet of appropriately named airplanes.
If you get worn out from a long day at Graceland, treat yourself to a peanut butter and banana sandwich or a slab of ribs at one of the onsite restaurants. True fans can even stay the night in the luxurious guest house, recognized as one of the best in Memphis.
So, put on your blue suede shoes and head to Tennessee, because you can’t help falling in love with Graceland!
Graceland is located at Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia
You don’t have to own Pavarotti’s greatest hits to have a good time at the Sydney Opera House. In fact, their event calendar is a melting pot of music, art and dance including contemporary artists, cabaret performers, stage shows, films and more. Notable performances and speeches that took place here include Thin Lizzy, Nelson Mandela, Oprah and a program created by Brian Eno. And lastly, if you are unfamiliar with the building, let it be known that the Sydney Opera House is an architectural masterpiece.
Although the Jørn Utzoni designed venue broke ground in the late 1950s, the center didn’t open until October of 1973. With it’s odd and very futuristic look, some may not realize that there are multiple venues, which accommodate over 1,500 performances every year. Millions of people also come each day to take tours of the site, including kid-friendly and backstage tours for those with longer attention spans.
So if a concert or event isn’t up your alley while you visit Sydney, you can at least be floored by the building’s brilliant design or by taking a lavish food and drink tour complete with cocktail making class and raw bar. So again, there’s more to classical music at the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Opera House is located at Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Cleveland, Ohio
What musical tour de force would be complete without a stop in Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? You’ve probably heard about each year’s inductees, but have you heard about the actual hall itself? Yes, it’s in Cleveland, but isn’t it the Rock and Roll Capital of the World or something?
There are so many levels to this place (six, actually) that are jam-packed with relics from award-winning artists, music history, a guitar gallery, special exhibits and your standard gift shop and food. While this is a pretty broad overview, the truth is that there is just SO much in here that you’re bound to find something that interests you. From The Story of Hip Hop to protest music to pinball machines, you can have a good time here no matter which way you sway.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located at 1100 E 9th St, Cleveland, OH 44114
Tower Records – Tokyo, Japan
If you’re still clinging on to physical media, you’re in good company at Tower Records in Shibuya. While you might remember having a local Tower Records in your town, but the store in Japan became independent from the rest of the other international locations, which was a smart move, considering the company went bankrupt a few years later.
Within the walls of this giant building is nine, I repeat NINE floors of CDs, vinyl records, books and even a cafe. Listen to records, find rare gems, check out the latest releases, scope the vintage concert photos, and catch your breath before heading back outside. There are genre-specific floors, so you can truly have your fill of 1920s Alpine yodeling music without any of that pesky rock n’ roll!
Tower Records in Tokyo is located at 1 Chome-22-１４ Jinnan, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0041, Japan
The Museum of Modern Electronic Music – Frankfurt, Germany (Not Opened Yet)
Slated to have opened in Summer 2018, the Museum of Modern Electronic Music (MOMEM) will be dedicated to all the bleeps and bloops of both yesterday and today. Frankfurt, along with Germany, in general, is one of the epicenters of dance music in the world. Techno fans can nerd out over all the various sub-genres that make up the face of modern dance music. Even if you’re not particularly keen on techno itself, there will be other exhibits that demonstrate the massive impact electronic instruments have had on music.
Aspiring producers and music fans will also be able to attend the MOMEM Academy. The current website states that this educational and informative program will include events such as lectures, workshops, panels, performances and more.
You can keep tabs on the museum’s progress through their website and donate to the cause online. If you’re planning a trip to Frankfurt, be forewarned that this might inspire you to dust off that Casio keyboard you left at your mom’s house from third grade.
Musical Instrument Museum – Phoenix, Arizona
You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate some cool instruments and sounds. At the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, you can explore music from all different cultures and time periods. To get the most out of the experience, wear the headphones provided so you can hear the noise each piece makes when you visit the exhibit.
Some of the MIM’s highlights include special events that highlight musical icons and cultural programs that may include live performances, activities and more. There’s really something for everyone at this museum, even that guy who liked Nickelback before it was cool.
Other Great Vacation Spots to be Mentioned
Haus der Musik Museum, Vienna
Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle
Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville
Motown Museum, Detroit
Johnny Cash Museum, Nashville
Hush Hip Hop Tours, NYC
Ragnarock Museum for Pop, Rock and Youth Culture, Denmark
No matter what you listen to in public or behind closed doors, the world is filled with musical landmarks that will be meaningful to you. There’s nothing quite like seeing the relics of an artist that inspired you to pick up guitar or hanging out where your favorite band used to loiter. Just make sure not to actually show up to where your idols go because you’re tracking their GPS through their phone. That’s weird and you should probably not do that, ever.