Fly to Chicago
Arrive in Chicago and 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 film. 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.
Chicago – St. Louis (290 miles)
Today you will... “Meet Me in St. Louis” - 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 Society and viewed on a giant four-story screen at the Gateway Arch River front.
St. Louis – Memphis (280 miles)
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 amphitheatre. Located right on the Mississippi River. Mud Island River Park is a historical and scenic outdoor area. Or, dine in B.B. King’s restaurant on famous Beale Street, where you can enjoy some amazing live music with traditional fried chicken or BBQ ribs.
Memphis – Vicksburg (146 miles)
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 many Mississippi casinos; they never close!
Vicksburg – New Orleans (294 miles)
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!
You’ll even have enough time to create your own self-guided movie tour around the city. Wander down 1018 Royal to see where Elvis sang and wiggled his hips in King Creole, and where Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt shot Interview with the Vampire. Just around the corner, you’ll find more King Creole filming locations, whilst Chartres Street was the location for the jazz funeral in the opening scene of the James Bond film Live and Let Die. Meanwhile, you’ll also find plenty of filming locations for Ray, the 2004 biopic featuring Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles.
Continue to explore this city of riverboats, jazz, and Creole cuisine. Take time to visit the beautiful Garden Ructer or perhaps take a ride on the mighty Mississippi River. Or take one of the specialist tours - there are ghost and cemetery tours, cocktail and cuisine tours, voodoo and historic tours.
New Orleans – Birmingham (340 miles)
Sweet Home Alabama! Today, head for 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.
Birmingham – Chattanooga (148 miles)
Returning to Tennessee today, set forth to Chattanooga, located in the foothills of the Appalacian Mountains. You could also visit the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum or the Aquarium. While in Tennessee, don’t miss the opportunity to try a ‘moon pie’, a favourite Southern snack since the early 1900s.
Chattanooga – Nashville (133 miles)
Nashville, ‘Music City USA’ is the destination today. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, a multimedia music shrine including live performances, movie theatres, costumes, instruments and other artifacts detailing country music’s colorful history. Don’t miss a visit to the Ryman Auditorium and a night at the Grand Ole Opry.
Nashville – Louisville (175 miles)
From Blue Grass to Brass Bands, Kentucky 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 Bardstown 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.
Louisville – Chicago (300 miles)
Today return 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 the car at the airport and fly home