Road Trip Down the Blues Highway, U.S. Route 61

Drive easy to every great blues landmark from Nashville to New Orleans

  • 21
  • 12:59
  • 724 mi
  • $120
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Created by Laia - May 21st 2017

They may call it the Blues, but road tripping through the area where this distinctive musical style was born will likely lift your spirits. In fact, the area is so rich in musical history that U.S. Route 61, which runs right through it, has been dubbed the "Blues Highway". Immerse yourself in the culture by following in the footsteps of the Blues greats, and discover what inspired them to make music so profound that it was dubbed "soul" music. Ready to hit the road? Pop in that Muddy Waters CD, roll down the windows and belt out a tune or two on the road down from Memphis town, along the Blues Highway.

Photo of Union Station Hotel
4.0

1001 Broadway, Nashville, TN, US

Union Station Hotel

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Date: May 22, 2017

The Union Station Hotel is an iconic Nashville establishment, and the perfect place to spend the night. It's a beautifully restored 19th century railroad station. But, even if you don't end up staying, at least poke your head in and gawk at the ornate lobby. It's stunning.

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0mi 00h 02m

152 2nd Ave N, Nashville, TN, US

B.B. Kings Blues Club

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Starting in Nashville, you've got to hit up B.B. Kings Blues Club. As with most places in Nashville, you'll find good music and good BBQ here. It's a big space that can get crowded, but it's got drinks and dancing late into the night.

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0mi 00h 02m

235 Rep John Lewis Way, Nashville, TN, US

Frothy Monkey

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Date: May 23, 2017

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0mi 00h 02m
Photo of Hatch Show Print
4.5

316 Broadway, Nashville, TN, US

Hatch Show Print

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0mi 00h 02m

623 7th Ave S, Nashville, TN, US

Third Man Records

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19mi 00h 24m

8400 Hwy 100, Nashville, TN, US

Loveless Cafe

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200mi 03h 03m
Photo of Beale Street Historic District
4.0

203 Beale St., Ste. 300, Memphis, TN, US

Beale Street Historic District

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8mi 00h 12m
Photo of Graceland
4.5

3734 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN, US

Graceland

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Date: May 24, 2017

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8mi 00h 13m

540 S Main St, Memphis, TN, US

The Arcade Restaurant

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0mi 00h 01m

450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN, US

National Civil Rights Museum

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1mi 00h 04m
Photo of Sun Studio
4.5

706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN, US

Sun Studio

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77mi 01h 25m

387 Delta Ave, Clarksdale, MS, US

Ground Zero Blues Club

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Date: May 25, 2017

About 2 hours south of Memphis and Little Rock is the town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. On the surface, it’s not much different than most small, Southern towns, except you can’t seem to go more than a couple feet without hearing the whine of a harmonica. Here in Clarksdale, they have the blues, and they claim to have had the blues first. Clarksdale, MS’s claim to be the birthplace of the blues can be traced to the blues greats that have called Clarksdale home: Son House, John Lee Hooker, Junior Parker, Ike Turner, Eddie Boyd, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins, Earl Hooker, Lil Green, Big Jack Johnson and the list goes on. A must-visit in Clarksdale is the Ground Zero Blues Club. Co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman, this blues joint screams old-school awesomeness. But it's important to note that Clarksdale goes hard from Wednesday to Saturday night, but come Sunday through Tuesday it's pretty dead. So, plan your road trip accordingly. There's also the Delta Blues Museum in town, which has been honoring the area’s blues heritage for the past 36 years, and if you visit during the right time, you might even catch some blues on their stage. If you're hungry grab a bite at Abe's Bar-b-q, which has been serving up the best BBQ in town since 1924. As for where to spend the night, the Shack Up Inn may be one of the coolest places in America. The former sharecroppers’ quarters-turned-super-cool-cabins for rent, also offer beer and a live blues lounge.

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62mi 01h 11m

400 2nd St, Indianola, MS, US

BB King Museum and Delta Interprative Center

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If you like the music of B.B. King, you have to stop at the B. B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi! It's a wonderful tribute to one of America's most prolific musicians. The museum is also pretty hands-on, and you can mix your own music and even play the guitar, or sit in the same chair at B.B. himself sat in. Admission is $15 per person, or if you have a student ID it's only $10. There are tour guides onsite and a short film to start off your experience. Since there's so much to do and see, budget at least 2 hours. Also, King is buried in the back of the museum, so be sure to pay your respects.

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166mi 02h 59m
Photo of Natchez Grand Hotel
4.0

111 S Broadway Street, Natchez, MS, US

Natchez Grand Hotel

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13

When you're ready to call it a night, head to the Natchez Grand Hotel. The location is phenomenal, on a bluff with a beautiful view of the Mississippi River. The hotel is just a two minute walk from the casino, and a couple miles from Natchez National Historic Park. There's wifi and some suites have balconies and whirlpool tubs. There's also an outdoor pool and a free hot breakfast.

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96mi 01h 42m

4560 Essen Ln, Baton Rouge, LA, US

Rural Life Museum

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Date: May 26, 2017

To learn more about the history of the small towns along the Blues Highway, visit the Rural Life Museum. This is an especially great place to stop if you're a history buff. There are self-guided tours across the 40-acre living history Burden Plantation.

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76mi 01h 16m
Photo of Jackson Square
4.5

701 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA, US

Jackson Square

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Date: May 27, 2017

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1mi 00h 06m

800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA, US

Cafe Du Monde

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0mi 00h 00m

1008 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA, US

French Market

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1mi 00h 05m

613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA, US

Court of Two Sisters

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0mi 00h 04m
Photo of The French Quarter
4.5

711 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA, US

The French Quarter

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Best time to travel down the Blues Highway: Since summer is high season for all of the towns along the route, spring and fall are the best times to travel if you're hoping to avoid high hotel rates, crowds, and the often-sweltering Southern heat.