Calling all music and travel lovers: Does the open road call your name? Do you love camping out to see your favorite artists? Does bass run through your veins?
If you answered yes to those questions, it sounds like you need a festival fix. Here’s your guide for where to stay and where to play in America’s most musical cities:
Austin City Limits. Located in the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin City Limits (or ACL as the locals call it) draws in thousands of people each year. Austin’s picturesque Zilker Metropolitan Park transforms into a giant music venue, equipped with hydration areas, photo stations, interactive booths and more. This festival is so big that it takes up two weekends during the month of October. Previous headliners of the festival include The Cure, Depeche Mode, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West and Coldplay.
- Accommodations. Since the festival is located in downtown Austin, you’ll want to stay close to all of the action. Consider a stay in historic Hyde Park or Tarrytown. Be sure to check out local hotspots like Stubbs BBQ for good food and live music and the Congress Avenue Bridge for a spectacular bat show.
- Dates. Weekend One, October 2-4, 2015; weekend Two, October 9-11, 2015
Lollapalooza. Inaugurated in 1991, this long-running festival has seen performers including Outkast, The Beastie Boys, Erykah Badu, The Black Keys, The Cure and Nine Inch Nails. This eclectic Chicago festival hosts a variety of different sounds from alternative rock to hip-hop and keeps the crowd entertained with festival experiences like tasty eats in Chow Town, the Lolla Farmers Market and Kidzapalooza, for music-lovers under the age of 10. Located in Chicago’s Grant Park, Lollapalooza is committed to keeping the local environment healthy and has established waste diversion, recycling and carbon offset programs to preserve the park.
- Accommodations. Consider lodging near Lakeshore Drive. This area provides a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier and is only a 20-minute walk away from Grant Park. Or, stay even closer and book your stay in the City Center district. This area is only 10 minutes away from the festival.
- Dates. July 31-August 2, 2015
Sasquatch! This music festival is hosted at the award-winning Gorge Amphitheater, an outdoor venue located near the Columbia River in Quincy, Washington. The four-day festival happens annually over Memorial Day weekend and has hosted headliners including Mumford & Sons, Beck, The Shins, Foo Fighters and The Flaming Lips. The panoramic views and the continuously extensive and diverse lineups make this festival a must-see.
- Accommodations. Pack up your sleeping bag and portable speakers and set up camp with your friends at The Gorge Campgrounds. Campers can experience all that the natural surrounding area has to offer, including wine tasting at the family-owned Beaumont Cellars to hiking the scenic Ancient Lakes area.
- Dates. May 23-25, 2015
Looking for more? Check out our favorite outdoor summer music festivals.
Top Musical Cities
Nashville, Tennessee. Undoubtedly one of the most recognized musical cities in the U.S., Nashville has been a country music mecca since the early 1960s. The capitol city is home to The Country Music Hall of Fame, The CMA Music Festival, Opryland theme park and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
New Orleans, Louisiana. Considered by many as the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans is packed full with entertainment and live music. It’s not uncommon to see street performers and marching bands parading down Royal Street in the French Quarter with brass horns and stringed instruments.
Seattle, Washington. Home to a thriving punk scene during the late 1970s-80s and the birthplace of grunge in the ’90s, Seattle’s vibrant culture has been shaped by music since it was founded in 1851. Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix and Washington native Kurt Cobain have certainly left a mark on the ever-evolving music scene in the Emerald City and continue to inspire emerging artists from coast to coast. Today, Seattle is known for its underground hip-hop contributions from artists like the Blue Scholars, Jake One and Common Market. Travelers can visit the EMP Museum and live music venues like The Crocodile and Electric Tea Garden to experience the sounds of the city.
Don’t let the journey end there! Check out our Rock ‘N Roll Road Trip itinerary.