25 Most Dangerous Cities In the US

The United States is ripe with amazing cities to live in and travel to (in fact, here are some of our favorite cities to visit in the US). Despite ongoing concerns over firearm violence in America, the country as a whole is safer than you might realize. In fact, with a violent crime rate of 369 incidents committed for every 100,000 people in 2018, the U.S. is statistically the safest it’s been in the last three decades. Unfortunately, safety can look quite different at a local level than it does nationally. When it comes to individual cities, there are definitely some that are considered more dangerous than others.

Using the FBI’s most recent crime data from its 2018 Uniform Crime Reporting Program, we’ve ranked the cities with the highest violent crime rates in the country. This population-adjusted statistic measures all violent crimes and is a useful tool for determining how dangerous a city is.

We should note that just because a city is declared dangerous, doesn’t mean it should be avoided altogether. You’ll find there are safe neighborhoods in even the worst cities. Still, we’d recommend exercising caution if you’re thinking of traveling to one of the following 25 cities, which rank as the most dangerous cities in the US.

25. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,048
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,058

Surrounded by mountains and nestled along the Tennessee River, Chattanooga more than lives up to its official nickname of “Scenic City”. However, those looking to explore the great outdoors in Chattanooga should take heed of the city’s high violent crime rate. While homicides were low, the city experienced 783 cases of aggravated assault per 100,000 people in 2018 — more than triple the national average.

The good news is that local authorities are taking steps to address the problem. More than 30 surveillance cameras have been installed across the city over the last three years to help increase public safety in Chattanooga’s most dangerous areas.

Chattanooga, Tennessee view of river and bridges from above
Source: Shutterstock

24. Beaumont, Texas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,059
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,783

With a violent crime rate of 1,059 per 100,000 residents, Beaumont just narrowly tops Houston as the most dangerous major city in the Lone Star state. Much like Chattanooga, Beaumont has an aggravated assault problem, with a whopping 798 reported in 2018. In 2019, Beaumont has also experienced more homicides than the previous year and city officials are desperate to change the narrative.

“Per ca-pita, we are the murder capital of the state of Texas, and we want to change that, we’re not satisfied with that,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham.

The Beaumont Police Department has implemented a high tech tool to help curb firearm violence. Known as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, the tool allows authorities to better track firearms used in different crimes.

Beaumont, Texas cityscape from above
Source: Shutterstock

23. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,065
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,430

While it may not be under attack by masked criminals like in HBO’s hit 2019 series Watchmen, the real-life city of Tulsa is still a dangerous place. In fact, based on its violent crime rate, Tulsa is the most dangerous major city in the state of Oklahoma.

While there’s a lot to love about Tulsa, including a thriving craft beer scene and a world-renowned art museum, its violent crime rate is not one of them. Firearm violence, in particular, has been a major problem for Tulsa, which has prompted police to more than double the number of firearms confiscated since 2011.

Tulsa, Oklahoma cityscape
Source: Shutterstock

22. Hartford, Connecticut

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,066
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,602

The capital city of Connecticut, Hartford is also known as the “Insurance Capital of the World” thanks to the many insurance companies headquartered there. It also holds the distinction of being one of the oldest cities in the United States and a great destination for history buffs. In spite of these distinctions, Hartford is a city currently suffering through a high crime rate and economic woes.

Hartford’s violent crime rate of 1,066 incidents per 100,000 people can be at least partly attributed to the city’s high unemployment and poverty. The unemployment rate (7.0%) and poverty rate (30.5%) are both well above the national average of 3.9% and 14.9%, respectively.

Hartford, Connecticut city view from the river
Source: Shutterstock

21. Lansing, Michigan

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,108
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,030

The capital of Michigan (that’s right, it’s not Detroit!), Lansing is home to Michigan State University — one of the largest universities in the country — and is an important cultural, commercial, and industrial hub. Unfortunately, Lansing is held back by higher than average violent crime and poverty. The city’s main issue is aggravated assault, which accounted for nearly 74% of the 1,301 violent crimes reported in 2018.

The good news is the Department of Justice awarded Michigan more than $122 million earlier this year to help curb violent crime, so the situation stands to get better in Lansing going forward.

Lansing, Michigan downtown view from above
Source: Shutterstock

20. Nashville, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,113
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,011

With its unbeatable live music scene and an amazing selection of bars and restaurants, it’s no surprise Nashville is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US. But what you won’t find on your typical list of the best things to do in Nashville are the city’s crime statistics, which are actually quite alarming.

Believe it or not, Nashville’s violent crime rate is more than triple the national average, with aggravated assaults leading the way. In fact, the city’s Metro Police reported that aggravated assaults were up 23% in 2019, which suggests things may be getting worse in Nashville.

However, this doesn’t mean you should cancel your trip to “Music City, USA”. As long as you take precautions and avoid Nashville’s most dangerous spots, there’s no reason you can’t safely take in the Grand Ole Opry.

Nashville, Tennessee city at night over the river
Source: Shutterstock

19. New Orleans, Louisiana

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,163
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,557

The home of Creole cuisine and Mardi Gras, New Orleans is one of the most unique cities in the United States. But while the city has benefited greatly from redevelopment efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s mass devastation, crime continues to be a major issue in “The Big Easy”.

Homicides are especially high in New Orleans, with the city’s homicide rate (37 per 100,000 people) ranking fifth-highest among mid – to large-size American cities. Fortunately, the 141 homicides New Orleans saw in 2018 were actually the lowest total since 1971 and that downward trend has continued in 2019, so things might be looking up for Louisiana’s most populous city.

New Orleans, Louisiana colorful downtown streets at night
Source: Shutterstock

18. Wichita, Kansas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,179
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,618

Wichita is the largest city in the state of Kansas and a major aeronautical hub, earning it the nickname of “The Air Capital of the World”. While Wichita’s unemployment and poverty rates fall within national averages, the city has experienced a “precipitous increase” in violent crime over the last three years.

The situation has gotten bad enough that earlier this year, Wichita sought federal help. The city is now a participant in the U.S. Department of Justice National Safety Partnership, a national program that aims to drive down crime. The three-year program provides training and technical assistance to the Wichita Police Department at no extra cost.

Wichita, Kansas city view
Source: Shutterstock

17. Indianapolis, Indiana

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,272
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,129

Home to the Pacers and Colts, Indianapolis is also where you’ll find the world’s largest children’s museum and one of the largest privately funded zoos in the country. The city is an economic hub for the state of Indiana and boasts an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Unfortunately, Indianapolis’s violent crime rate makes it the most dangerous city in the state, with hate crimes and firearm violence, in particular, standing out as pain points.

The good news is that Indianapolis has made great strides in tackling its firearm problems in recent years. There are now several intervention programs in place, including firearm buyback events designed to get firearms off the streets.

Indianapolis, Indiana
Source: Shutterstock

16. Oakland, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,273
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,390

For years, Oakland has struggled to break free of its reputation as a dangerous city. Unfortunately, statistics only help support the reality of Oakland being one of the most dangerous places to live in California. While the city’s violent crime rate did go down a bit in 2018, it still sits nearly four times the national average. The robbery rate in Oakland (610 incidents per 100,000 people) is especially concerning, trailing only Baltimore as the highest in the country.

There is reason to be optimistic about crime prevention in Oakland though. The city’s police department now uses a high tech program developed in nearby Silicon Valley called Law Enforcement Analysis Portal to help collect and analyze large amounts of crime data.

Oakland, California
Source: Shutterstock

15. Anchorage, Alaska

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,309
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,927

Home to more than 41% of Alaska’s entire population, Anchorage is an important northern economic center that boasts spectacular views (six different mountain ranges make up its skyline). Sadly, along with being the most northern capital city in the U.S., Anchorage holds the unfortunate distinction of being the country’s sexual assault capital.

With 210 reported sexual assaults for every 100,000 people, Anchorage has the highest rate of any US city with a population of at least 100,000. The reasons for this are complex but it’s not just Anchorage suffering from violent crimes. Alaska as a whole is considered the most dangerous state for women, with 59% of women who live there having experienced violence.

Anchorage, Alaska
Source: Shutterstock

14. Springfield, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,316
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,019

Home to three universities — Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University — Springfield has the look and feel of your average midwestern college town. However, this unassuming city has a surprisingly high violent crime rate, nearly three times that of Missouri as a whole.

In an effort to curb violent crime, Springfield Police recently formed the “Career Criminal Task Force” alongside the FBI to target repeat offenders. “We’re going to go after the bad guys and we’re going to put them in jail. People deserve to feel safe,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt told KSPR.

Springfield, Missouri
Source: Shutterstock

13. San Bernardino, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,333
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,135

Home to the very first McDonald’s restaurant (now a McDonald’s Museum), San Bernardino is an inland California city that lies along the iconic Route 66. Unfortunately, the city has become better known for its struggling economy over the last 25 years. The closing of Norton Air Force Base in 1994 cost San Bernardino 10,000 jobs and the city has never truly recovered.

San Bernardino was declared America’s second poorest city behind Detroit in 2011 and while things have somewhat improved, more than 30% of residents still live below the poverty line. Areas with limited economic opportunities tend to have high crime, so it’s little surprise the violent crime rate in San Bernardino is nearly four times the national average.

San Bernardino, California
Source: Shutterstock

12. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,364
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,179

Although it never had to deal with a drug kingpin named Heisenberg, the real-life Albuquerque, New Mexico has crime problems of its own. Incidents of sexual assault and homicide are more than double the national average, while aggravated assaults are three times as common.

The fact that Albuquerque accounts for half of all crime in New Mexico while only being home to a quarter of the state’s population prompted the city’s mayor Tim Keller to ask for state help. We’ll have to wait until the FBI releases its 2021 data to see if the situation in Albuquerque improves.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Source: Shutterstock

11. Rockford, Illinois

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,386
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,671

Although Chicago is probably the first city that springs to mind when you think of crime in Illinois, the Windy City is actually not the most dangerous place in the state. With a violent crime rate of 1,386 incidents per 100,000 people, Rockford stands as the most dangerous city in Illinois.

Despite economic revitalization efforts creating new jobs in the automotive, aerospace, and healthcare industries over the last few decades, Rockford continues to struggle economically. Both its unemployment rate (6.8%) and poverty rate (22.2%) sit well above national averages.

Rockford, Illinois
Source: Shutterstock

10. Stockton, California

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,399
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,768

With a violent crime rate of 1,399 incidents per 100,000 people, Stockton ranks as California’s most dangerous city and the 10th most dangerous in the country. Home to the oldest university in California — The University of the Pacific — Stockton has a rich history, being one of the hubs of the 19th century Gold Rush.

Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis hit Stockton especially hard and in 2012, it became the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy protection (Detroit would surpass it the following year). Despite exiting bankruptcy in 2013, job opportunities in Stockton remain slim, with 6.9% of the city’s labor force unemployed in 2018.

Stockton, California
Source: Todd A. Merport / Shutterstock.com

9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,413
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,971

Milwaukee is often associated with its proud brewing tradition and cold Midwestern winters; not violent crime. Alas, with 1,413 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, the home of the Bucks is not only the most dangerous city in Wisconsin but the United States as a whole. Researchers have pointed to segregation and the opioid crisis being major factors behind Milwaukee’s violence, though a poverty rate nearly doubles the national average also hasn’t helped matters.

Much like the young Parkland survivors, Milwaukee’s youth have become heavily involved in violence prevention. 414LIFE and other organizations are currently working to establish a youth violence interruption coalition in the city’s school system.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Source: Shutterstock

8. Little Rock, Arkansas

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,446
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,547

Don’t let the name fool you. Despite having a name one would associate with a quaint American town, Little Rock has a shockingly high crime rate. In 2018, the city saw 1,446 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, nearly quadruple the national rate.

Property crime is also a major problem in Little Rock, with non-violent crimes like burglary and larceny leading the way. The city’s property crime rate ranks third among U.S. cities with populations of 100,000 or more. It’s a shame too, as Little Rock does have some decent attractions and boasts great walks down by the Arkansas River.

Little Rock, Arkansas
Source: Shutterstock

7. Cleveland, Ohio

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,449
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,411

Crime is a serious issue in all major Ohio cities with the exception of Columbus, which does not rank on the FBI’s list of the 50 most dangerous U.S. cities. Out of all of them, Cleveland has the unfortunate distinction of being the most dangerous city in Ohio.

Despite thriving healthcare and tech sectors, Cleveland has alarming poverty and unemployment figures. 6.5% of the labor force is out of work, while a staggering 35.2% of the population live below the poverty line. These factors have helped drive a violent crime rate four times the national average.

Cleveland, Ohio
Source: Shutterstock

6. Kansas City, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,590
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,306

The biggest question most people have about Kansas City is, “Why isn’t it in Kansas?” But the question we really should be asking is, “Why is the city so violent?” After all, poverty isn’t a major problem in Kansas City and its unemployment rate is actually lower than the national average.

And yet, violent crime is out of control in Kansas City, with the city on course to see a record number of homicides in 2019. A 4-year wave of firearm violence has left Kansas City grasping for solutions. However, firearm violence is a problem across Missouri as a whole, meaning KC will likely have to wait for a solution to be found at the state level.

Kansas City, Missouri
Source: Shutterstock

5. St. Louis, Missouri

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,800
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,911

Believe it or not, Kansas City is not the most dangerous place in Missouri. That title goes to St. Louis, a major economic hub and home to ten Fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, low unemployment has done little to curb violence in St. Louis, which saw 187 homicides in 2018.

When adjusted for population, St. Louis’s homicide rate of 61 incidents per 100,000 people make it the homicide capital of the U.S. In recent years, fed up residents have been putting pressure on Missouri lawmakers to change the state’s firearm laws. But with no solutions in sight, it may be some time before St. Louis residents see any relief.

St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Shutterstock

4. Baltimore, Maryland

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,833
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,495

Baltimore, Maryland is a city obsessed with preservation. Nearly one-third of the city’s buildings are designated as historic, more than any other U.S. city. Unfortunately, recent history is something the city’s residents likely want to forget, as Baltimore continues to rank as one of the country’s most dangerous places.

With 309 recorded homicides in 2018, Baltimore is easily one of the most violent and dangerous major cities in America. The city’s homicide rate of 51 per 100,000 only trails St. Louis while the robbery rate of 837 incidents per 100,000 people is the highest in the country. According to the New York Times, violent crime has spiked since the infamous passing of Freddie Gray in 2015 and it’s showing no signs of getting better anytime soon.

Baltimore, Maryland
Source: Shutterstock

3. Birmingham, Alabama

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,911
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,313

Once known as “The Magic City”, today Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama and one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Yet for all its economic successes, Birmingham has an alarming crime rate that sits 112% higher than the national average. Aggravated assaults are the primary concern, as they accounted for nearly 70% of all violent crimes reported in 2018.

The homicide rate is also shockingly high. Although the 88 homicides the city saw in 2018 is much lower than other cities on this list, the homicide rate is actually third highest in the country once the population is taken into account.

Birmingham, Alabama
Source: Shutterstock

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,943
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,405

With a violent crime rate of 1,943 incidents per 100,000 people, Memphis, Tennessee ranks as the most dangerous city in America’s south. One could argue that violence is just as much a part of Memphis’s identity as blues music and barbeque. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968 and since the Civil Rights Movement, the city has become ground zero for some of the worst firearm violence in the country.

In fact, the majority of the city’s 186 homicides last year were firearm-related. Recently, U.S. Attorney General William Barr unveiled a new plan to reduce firearm violence in Memphis, Project Guardian, so hopefully, Memphis will start to see some relief in the coming years.

Memphis, Tennessee
Source: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

1. Detroit, Michigan

Violent Crimes Per 100k: 2,007
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,304

The Motor City just can’t seem to catch a break. While most major U.S. cities continue to grow, Detroit has seen one of the steepest population declines over the last half-century. At its peak, the city was home to 1.8 million people in the 1950s. But the decline in manufacturing jobs has driven the population down to less than 700,000 today. The city’s massive unemployment and poverty rates (9% and 37.9%, respectively) amount to a city with the highest violent crime rate in the country.

Today, large swaths of Detroit lie abandoned; a living reminder of the city’s decline. Unfortunately, until Detroit’s public administration gets its act together and starts attracting business and economic growth, its status as America’s most dangerous city will only continue.

Detroit, Michigan
Source: Shutterstock

Blues Highway Itinerary: 10 Best Spots for a Music History Road Trip

If you’ve had enough scenic tours of mountains and fresh air, head out onto the iconic Blues Highway, the famous Route 61 that leads to Nashville, Memphis, and finally to New Orleans, with the sweet and passionate tunes of Soul, R&B, and Jazz in the air. Drive out into the sunset, feel the wind on your face, and follow the same highway that Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and other hopefuls took on their way out of bleak areas of Mississippi and Georgia. With the open road in front of you, pay homage to the same spots that inspired the beloved classics and paved the way for Elvis and the Beatles.

10. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum – Nashville, Tennessee

Starting out in Nashville, get into the mood of Music City at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the headquarters for preserving and collecting artifacts that capture the history and traditions of American country music. At the main exhibit, “Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music”, get ready to take in the rich saga of music history that put Nashville on the map. With recorded sound, vintage film footage, and old photographs, visitors can trace the origins of country music and how it had a lasting influence on American culture. After touring the grounds, hop on a vintage tour bus to Music Row and the cherished RCA Studio B, Nashville’s oldest surviving studio where legends like Dolly Parton and Elvis made music history.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

9. Grand Ole Opry – Nashville, Tennessee

The Grand Ole Opry is a must-see on your Nashville stop. For 90 years and still going strong, the weekly music venue is known for hosting legends that made country music famous. Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and many others got their start at the Opry with legendary performances. Today, you’ll find a mix of newcomers and stars playing their best songs, that way fans can get a sample of several musicians in one concert. The magic started in 1925 when fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson performed a new show called “The WSM Barn Dance,” which later evolved into a live concert known as the Grand Ole Opry. DeFord Bailey, affectionately known as the Harmonica Wizard, was also a regular performer. Over the years, the famous venue has launched countless music careers. Set against the iconic backdrop of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, it is truly an American cultural landmark.

aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

8. The District – Nashville, Tennessee

It’s not just the country music that makes Nashville famous but the rock, jazz, and bluegrass playing at venues in the District, a refurbished area of warehouse-style saloons and bars. Stroll down second avenue with the weeknight party parade and stop by for some authentic bluegrass at Station Inn across the street from the Grand Ole Opry. Then take the party to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge to get your honky tonky on at the iconic country music saloon. But the music tour isn’t over until you stop at BB King’s Blues Club, the world famous hotspot for live blues and Southern comfort food. And don’t forget to try the fried green tomatoes and other down home delicacies at the Opry Backstage Grill on Music Valley Drive.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

7. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music – Memphis, Tennessee

After getting your fill of classic country music in Nashville, head to Memphis and follow the origins of Blues. First stop is The Stax Museum of American Soul Music on East McLemore Ave, which is named after the record label that produced talents like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Wilson Pickett. The Stax sound is passionate and hopeful, giving a voice to the new wave of optimism coming from the Mississippi Delta, a sound as strongly rooted as the old Cyprus trees. In the late 50s and early 60s, something big was happening in music, so epic and transformative that it has its own cherished place in the history of music. In 1960, Stax Records, often considered the birthplace of soul, moved to the old Capitol Theatre and two years later, Otis Redding was discovered and became their biggest star.

Pierre-Jean Durieu / Shutterstock.com
Pierre-Jean Durieu / Shutterstock.com

6. Wild Bill’s – Memphis, Tennessee

After getting an education in blues history at Stax Museum, stop in for a blues jam at Wild Bill’s, a classic juke joint a few miles north of the tourist area of Beale Street. Locals always say there are two reasons to go—when you’re feeling good and when you’re feeling bad. Whatever your mood, the blues will set you free, if you let it. Locals and aficionados swear by it, often joking that it’s cheaper than therapy. Located in Midtown Memphis, Wild Bill’s is a welcome alternative to the tourist clubs downtown and a more authentic blues, soul, and rock sound. From old bands to aspiring indie groups, Wild Bill’s is the spot where musicians sing their hearts out and when back in the day blues evolved into rock ‘n’ roll and soul. The former gas station is like stepping back in time, even hosting the original trumpet player from Otis Redding’s band.

Photo by: Wild Bill's Memphis
Photo by: Wild Bill’s Memphis

5. Rendezvous – Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis might be world famous because of its blues heritage and Elvis, but it also some of the best barbeque this side of the Delta. With over 100 barbecue joints in the city, the competition is fierce and Rendezvous downtown is no exception with its famous dry ribs. The secret is in the charcoal, which was Charles Vergo’s special cooking method, and of course, the sauce. It is considered by many to be the best barbecue in the Delta. Just ask the several 1,000 people that line up outside on a Saturday to sink their teeth into a slab of ribs, a classic Memphis favorite. The joint is still in the family, with Charlie’s kids running the place. It might be all about the ribs, but you can still order the same ham and cheese sandwiches that Charlie cooked up when he started out in 1948. Their sauces are top secret, but you can take a bottle home for some serious backyard grilling sessions.

Photo by: Charlie Vergos Rendezvous
Photo by: Charlie Vergos Rendezvous

4. Madison Hotel – Memphis, Tennessee

Built in 1905, the 14-story former Tennessee Trust building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in the Delta. Standing out with its ornate classical detailing, the Madison Hotel still regains its former glory with the original façade. After years of neglect, the Unison Hotel Company rescued the deteriorating structure in 2002 and converted the interior into an ultra-modern, sleek boutique hotel with 110 rooms. After long hours in the car, treat yourself to luxuries fit for royalty like Egyptian cotton sheets, an award-winning restaurant, and an enchanting evening on the Twilight Sky Terrace overlooking downtown. It might have a posh, European flair, but Madison Hotel still has a warm, Southern charm. Located on Madison Avenue, the hotel is near the historic Beale Street filled with blues clubs, restaurants, and recording studios.

Photo by: Madison Hotel
Photo by: Madison Hotel

3. Gateway to the Blues Museum -Tunica, Mississippi

A good place to start a Mississippi blues tour is Gateway to the Blues Museum in Tunica, a historical wonderland filled with stories of the very origins of blues that had a lasting influence on American music, especially soul, R&B, and rock n roll. It all started in the fields of the Delta, a place of pain and hope, and blues was just the thing to give a voice to the heartache and suffering of a dark time in US history. You’ll also get a chance to channel your inner rock star with interactive exhibits that teach the blues basics and even lets you record a song in the onsite recording studio. Music history buffs will revel in the guitar display with over 20 guitars of all kinds that were played by the legends themselves. Try out the lap steel guitar or diddley bow and play your heart out.

Photo by: Tunica Travel
Photo by: Tunica Travel

2. Ground Zero Blues Club – Clarksdale, Mississippi

For blues fans and music historians, Clarksdale, Mississippi is considered the “Ground Zero” for blues around the world. Established in 2001, the venue was opened to celebrate the area’s rich blues heritage with roots as strong  and ancient as the Delta. With the help of Morgan Freeman and locals Bill Luckett and Howard Stovall, the blues club has been a hotspot for an authentic blues experience. Although big acts come through from time to time, most musicians come from the Delta and follow in the traditions of legends like John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Located on Blues Alley in the heart of historic Clarksdale, the world’s most beloved musicians play Wednesday through Saturday, keeping the blues tradition alive and well. Ground Zero Blues Club is also a good spot to try some Southern comfort food like crispy catfish and slow-cooked Mississippi barbeque.

Ground Zero Blues Club
Photo by: Ground Zero Blues Club

1. The French Quarter – New Orleans, Louisiana

As people fled the dismal areas from Georgia to Mississippi during the Great Depression, they brought with them the bittersweet blues, a new kind of sound that brought a voice to a newfound passion and hope. Many stopped in New Orleans, Louisiana, a meeting place for musicians, artists, and writers. Among them were the world’s best blues musicians, the cherished legends who led the way for jazz and now take a prominent place in the evolution of American music. With its slightly leaning buildings, old streets, and original cafes and bars, the charm of New Orleans is still going strong. Holding onto its French and Spanish immigrant roots, the historic French Quarter is still the stomping grounds for the best musicians in the world and on any given day an impromptu brass band might joyfully stop traffic. The best time to go is during festival season, which starts in April.

IrinaK / Shutterstock.com
IrinaK / Shutterstock.com

12 Equestrian Places in the US

While Americans have always had a close relationship with our gentle giants, the United States hasn’t always been internationally known for its equestrian culture. After all, the rest of the world had a head start. Once the nation had time to settle down and breed, however, breeders began producing some of the best thoroughbred champions in the world. Whether travelers want to feel the adrenaline of betting on a live race, learn about the history of horse racing, or mount up and go for a ride themselves, they’ll want to check out these 12 equestrian places in the U. S.

12. Rancho Santa Fe, California

In an area just outside of San Diego, America’s Air Conditioned City, Rancho Santa Fe provides an incredible nine or more months of comfortable riding. Daytime temperatures rarely drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and stay in the high 80s or low 90s in the summer, when evenings are still cool. Rancho Santa Fe is the perfect place for a sandy beach ride among other enthusiastic horsemen and women, just a few miles from the bustle of San Diego.

Photo by: Rancho Santa Fe Association
Photo by: Rancho Santa Fe Association

11. Woodstock, Vermont

Not to be confused with the site of one of the nation’s grooviest music festivals in New York, Woodstock, Vermont is a center for equestrian activity. For a beautiful ride among charming settings, horsemen and women can’t go wrong in “The Prettiest Town in America”. Plus, a flurry of horsing events for jumping, driving, and endurance riding provide a platform for showcasing excellence, including Ride for the Cure, the Fall Dressage Show, and a winter sleigh rally.

10. Nashville, Tennessee

While Nashville is more known for its music culture – it is, after all, nicknamed “Music City, USA”—there’s plenty of horse culture here as well. In fact, its equestrian culture includes being the place where United States first asserted itself as a contender for championship horse racing. Here, for the first time, an American born-and-bred horse (an Iroquois) won the English Derby. The breeder was Belle Meade, whose plantation and stables are open for tours today. The city also hosts the annual Iroquois Steeplechase race and attracts more than 25,000 attendees each year.

Nashville Tennessee 1

9. North Salem, New York

North Salem has a long timeline of equestrian history, full of farming and the preservation of a”country” way of life. The perfect distance from New York City, North Salem is close enough to be a quick weekend escape from the city, and far enough to provide a peaceful and charming ride. The area has an incredible 100 miles of protected trails, which is good because nine months of comfortable riding gives horsemen and women plenty of time to explore them with their favorite gentle giant. North Salem also offers world-class equestrian facilities, a high density of horse farms, and equestrian hunts.

Photo by: Chris Burke via Flickr
Photo by: Chris Burke via Flickr

8. Middleburg, Virginia

The small town of Middleburg has only 700 residents, but some of them have some pretty big names. For example, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Onassis, and the DuPonts have all enjoyed horsing in Middleburg over the years. Anyone who has ridden along the English countryside will recognize that country’s twin in the lush fields and stonewalls that wind around Middleburg. Plus, the town hosts the oldest horse show in America – the Upperville Colt and Horse Show. The show was first held in 1853, and was one of the first horse shows in the United States. If attending a horse show isn’t your style, however, then enjoy the mild temperatures in Middleburg, which provide an incredible nine months of comfortable riding.

Photo by: Schuyler Knapp via Upperville Colt & Horse Show
Photo by: Schuyler Knapp via Upperville Colt & Horse Show

7 . Ocala, Florida

There are only five cities in the globe – and only two within the U.S.—permitted to use the term “horse capitol of the world”, to describe themselves, and Ocala is one of them. What makes Ocala so special? To start with, the area has over 1,200 horse farms and counting. It’s also a great place to enjoy comfortable riding, especially in winter months, when the average daytime temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While nearby Wellington has incredible equestrian events, Ocala has a thriving riding culture that can be experienced in a more casual way.

6. Aspen, Colorado

If you’re looking for some rocky, mountainous riding, there’s no place quite like Aspen. As a second home for many international jetsetters, the town is a great place to enjoy spectacular scenery from horseback year round. Temperatures in the winter reach down below freezing, but summer days are often a perfect 77 degrees Fahrenheit. All-in-all, riders have eight comfortable months to enjoy riding, while skiing, snowmobiling, and hiking can entertain them when it’s just a bit too cold to take a horse out. Located between the Colorado cities of Denver and Grand Junction, Aspen itself only has around 6,600 residents, but equestrian enthusiasts who want to buy a horse farm here better start saving. The average ranch price is around $18.9 million!

5. Southern Pines, North Carolina

For riders looking for a great experience year-round, Southern Pines  might be just the place. With a minimum of nine months of comfortable riding (and often 12 months), there’s great riding to be had no matter what time of year. Plus, the terrain is about as ideal as it could be for sandy footing and a smooth ride. The area has been given the name Horse Country for many reasons, a few of them being The Carolina Horse Park, with is steeplechase harness track, and the Sandhills Preserve, which boasts 900 acres and numerous trails.

4. Woodside, California

How long does it take to develop a thriving equestrian culture? Well, the affluent San Francisco community of Woodside, California has been working on it since the 1800’s. Horseback riding can be quite an expensive recreational activity, and Woodside happens to be one of the wealthiest small towns in the nation. The community has worked hard to preserve equine-friendly policies, and horse farms and equestrian facilities are connected to each other by an elaborate riding trail system that weaves throughout the area. Plus, the bay area’s mild climate allows for comfortable riding during all 12 months of the year.

Photo by: William Murphy via Flickr
Photo by: William Murphy via Flickr

3. Wellington, Florida

Coming in at number three on the list is Wellington, Florida. This city is world famous for its equestrian and polo events, such as the U.S. Open, the Gold Cup, and the Whitney Cup. It also hosts both the National Horse Show and the Winter Equestrian Festival which draws more than 250,000 equestrian enthusiasts to the city each year. Visitors who are horsemen and women themselves love the climate which provides more than seven months of comfortable riding, especially in the winter – no surprise since Wellington is the southernmost city on our list.

Photo by: Andy via Flickr
Photo by: Andy via Flickr

2. Lexington, Kentucky

While several cities in the nation claim to be “The Horse Capitol of the World”, Lexington comes closest to earning that title. Just 80 miles from Louisville and the lure of a championship win, Lexington is home to some of the best breeders in the world. Many swear the heart of the Bluegrass Region is the perfect environment for raising and training the world’s best horses. Lexington is also the best place to learn about horsing from a “behind-the-scenes” perspective with the Kentucky Horse Park museum and tours of actual running horse breeding farms – many of which have produced champion thoroughbreds.

Photo by: Anthony via Flickr
Photo by: Anthony via Flickr

1. Louisville, Kentucky

The number one place for equestrian culture in the United States is Louisville, Kentucky. It’s home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby which the Queen of England has attended. The Derby takes place at the Churchill Downs track and is the first event in the Triple Crown (the other two are the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes). The track’s famous town spire grandstand has also hosted the Breeder’s Cup eight times. After watching a race and enjoying one of the track’s signature mint juleps (served since 1875), horse enthusiasts can learn more equestrian history by visiting the Kentucky Derby Museum. For visitors who can’t make it to Louisville during derby season, Churchill Downs also features simulcast racing, where you can watch and bet on live races around the globe.

Photo by: Ken Lund via Flickr
Photo by: Ken Lund via Flickr

10 Awesome Zoos Where You Can Spend the Night

We all know that kids love spending time at the zoo but did you know you can take things one step further and actually spend the night there? And hey, this experience isn’t just for kids. Many zoos all over the world are opening their doors after dark and are giving visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals. From bringing your own tent events to luxury lodges to sleeping beside the sea lions; here are 10 awesome zoos where you can spend the night.

10. Zoo Miami (Miami, FL)

photravel_ru / Shutterstock

Zoo Miami, formerly known as Miami MetroZoo has a tragic past. In 1965 Hurricane Betsy dumped over three feet of water onto the zoo and killed 25 animals. Then in 1992 Hurricane Andrew came in and destroyed 5,000 trees, the 1.5-acre aviary, and all of its inhabitants. The zoo has worked hard over the past decade to restore it and one of the ways they have made themselves unforgettable is their sleepovers they offer. The best they offer is perhaps their Annual Big Cat-Nap Campout. This special once-a-year sleepover invites families to pitch their own tents in the grasslands for a real camping experience, complete with sounds effects provided by the very real zoo animals nearby. A favorite for kids and adults, make sure your kids are at least 6 years old and pre-register as this event is known to sell out fast!

9. Zoo Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)

Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

Zoo Atlanta is one of the best in terms of offering an abundance of overnight programs. Whether you want to bring 10 kids for a birthday party or want to have a family sleepover; this is the zoo for you. For families, there are two options for overnights. The first is to pick one of their theme nights, pack up your sleeping bag and join the fun as you have awesome animal encounters, themed games, a scavenger hunt, breakfast, and a private guided tour of the zoo. The second option is to join one of the deluxe family nights where you will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and actually feed the zoo residents. If you want to leave the kids at home, Zoo Atlanta offers an adult-only group experience where you and 10 of your friends get together for an epic after-hours scavenger hunt that lasts throughout the night.

8. Zoofari Slumber, Nashville Zoo (Nashville, TN)

Stan DaMan / Shutterstock

The Zoofari Slumber at Nashville Zoo allows anyone over the age of 4 to camp out overnight, specifically recommended for families with children aged 4-12. This is a bring your own tent experience that requires families to pack everything they would normally take camping, including camp food, chairs, and musical instruments. A variety of activities awaits families here including hayrides, inflatable castles, animal shows, and crafts. The evening hot dog and marshmallow roast is always a hit for the kids, as is the campfire songs. A full breakfast is served in the mornings. Sleeping under the stars just a short way from the snoozing animals, content in your own tent is something every Nashville family should experience.

7. Overnight Safari at the Bronx Zoo (The Bronx, NY)

littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

The overnight safari series at The Bronx Zoo sells out year after year so if you are planning on snoozing with the snow leopards, we suggest you register early. Children 5 and older are welcome at these fun nights where you will bring your own tents, sleeping bags, and picnic dinners. It is more like a summer camp experience packed all into one night here as the experience starts at 4pm and the zoo fills your night with never-ending activities. From the classroom where animals are brought in to the scavenger hunts and activities that are planned, there is never a dull moment until the 10 pm bedtime. The campsite is located between the Monkey House and the Sea Lion Tank, promising that the barking sea lions will wake you up in the morning. Plenty of snacks are provided, admission to the zoo the next day, and a whole bunch of surprises await you at this overnight safari.

6. Snore and Roar, Smithsonian National Zoological Park (Washington, DC)

melissamn / Shutterstock

It is the best way to see the animals of the Smithsonian Zoological Park after hours and have the entire park to yourself, as well as falling asleep to the sounds of wolves howling. Your tent will be perched on Lion/Tiger Hill and the overnight experience begins with a keeper-led tour of the exhibits. There is a maximum of 12 participants on each of these sleepovers so it’s suggested you book early. Both of the family options and the adults-only nights offer games, activities and breakfast. Each overnight experience is catered to a different area of the zoo, from reptiles to cheetahs to small mammals. Expect wine and cheese on the adults-only nights and more family geared activities on the family nights, perfect for ages 6 to teen. Whatever experience you choose, this is one zoo that lets you get up close and personal with the animals of your choice at one of the best zoos in the world.

5. Adult Overnights at the Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia, PA)

Kate Iniakina / Shutterstock

Leave the kiddos at home on one of these adults-only overnights at the Philadelphia Zoo. You have to 21 and over to attend this event and prepare to indulge in some happy hour drinks starting at 6:30 pm. What you will get on these overnights is a behind-the-scenes experience, up-close encounters with the animals, an after-dark tour of the zoo, meet and greats with the zoo experts, and a light dinner. There are a couple different options for adults overnights, including a throwback to summer camp bring your own tent option and a haunted overnight where you will sleep in the historic treehouse. The next morning breakfast is served and you will experience the opening of the zoo alongside the workers while visiting some adorable baby animals. An awesome night complete with beer, animals and ghost stories; you couldn’t ask for a better zoo experience.

4. Serengeti Bush Camp, Toronto Zoo (Toronto, Canada)

JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

You won’t have to bring your own tent to sleep here, nor will you be stuck inside a building. The Toronto Zoo offers something really unique at its overnights. Spend the night in an authentic African Tent, complete with cots as you experience the African Savanna. Activities are in abundance during the experience and include a walking tour of the African Savanna and interactive adventure at the African Rainforest Pavilion. Dinner is served at the Simba Safari Restaurant which overlooks the white rhino and zebra exhibits, as the sun sets in the background. There are a number of programs here including an adults-only night and a night for families with kids younger than 5; all planned with age-appropriate activities. This VIP experience is once in a lifetime and you will truly feel as you sleeping in the middle of Africa, amongst the animals.

3. Roar and Snore Safari, San Diego Zoo Safari Park (San Diego, CA)

LMspencer / Shutterstock

It is quite possible you will fall asleep to lions roaring and elephants trumping at this overnight safari experience at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From February to November, you can combine the thrill of camping with the excitement of up-close animal encounters at one of the many themed overnights here. The campground, complete with your choice of canvas tent overlooks the 65 acres East Africa enclosure which features such animals as rhinos, giraffes, wildebeest, and antelope. As with many of the zoos, this one offers a number of different programs for families with young children, school-aged children, or adults only. Dinner, snacks, breakfast, crafts, activities and of course animals encounters are all included in the price. If you do feel like splurging try one of the adults-only experiences where you can get up close and personal with more animals than ever, and stay in the premium tents where wood floors, a queen-sized bed, and electricity await you.

2. Roar and Snore, Taronga Zoo (Sydney, Australia)

Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock

The unique accommodation site sets this overnight experience apart from the rest. Nestled on the clifftop overlooking the stunning Sydney Harbor on one side, and lions, leopards, and meerkats on the other side; Roar and Snore at Taronga Zoo is an extra special overnight experience. In the evening guests are privy to some of the amazing native Australian reptiles as well as the big cats who are most impressive at night. The mornings are when the cute and furry animals come out to play.  The full education experience include close up animal encounters, guided tours of the zoo after dark and behind the scenes experiences. The VIP treatment continues with refreshments, a feast with drinks and beautiful tent accommodations. Think beds, showers and electricity here. The Tarongo Zoo has created an incredible overnight program that should be the envy of many others around the world.

1. Jamala Wildlife Lodge, National Zoo and Aquarium (Canberra, Australia)

Elle Deep-Loumanis / Shutterstock

Australia is at the forefront of delivering exceptional overnight zoo experiences and Jamala Wildlife Lodge at the National Zoo and Aquarium is a prime example of this. This all-inclusive luxury lodge experience includes overnight accommodation, all beverages and food, and a number of animal encounters. Accommodations range from lodge rooms, bungalows, and treehouses, each with its own unique animal encounter. How would you like to stay in a bungalow where you can take a bath and look into the lion’s den, or how about being able to feed the giraffe from your balcony? From an amazing dinner party to personal tours to pre-dinner drinks and an afternoon safari; this feels more like a vacation than just a simple overnight experience at a zoo.

The 10 Best Cities to Use Uber

Uber is a rapidly growing car sharing system all over the world that is taking cities by storm and seemingly putting taxi services out of business. The question becomes, where is the best place to use Uber and what factors come into play when passengers choose to use this service over a regular cab? Cities that offer low fares, reliable rides and quick pickup are often thought of the best cities to use this service. Combine that with friendly locals, inconsistent weather and the legality that surrounds this company and we have found you the 10 best cities in which you should be using Uber.

10. Nashville

It is a city that has truly embraced this ride sharing program and thus is a perfect city to use Uber. It became the first city to allow passengers to be picked up from the airport legally by an Uber driver. The city of Nashville doesn’t make it easy for residents or visitors to get around by public transportation and that is where Uber has really come in handy. The average ETA for an Uber pick up is just four minutes here and the average fare is under $10. Home of many concerts, festivals and late nights; it seems this city and Uber can work perfectly together.

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

9. Sydney, Australia

If you happen to live in the land down under or you are simply visiting and looking for a cheaper way to get around, Uber is the perfect answer. In just one year Uber drivers gave over a million rides to riders in Sydney and the average wait time for pickup was an incredibly short 4.1 minutes. What’s even better; many Uber drivers in Sydney have supercars that they will pick you up in. The main reason this city is great to use Uber; it is far cheaper than using a traditional cab and much more reliable. There are no Uber ‘horror stories’ floating around the internet about Sydney, instead there is praise for the drivers and vehicles. Plus as a visitor to the city it’s great to use this service as the driver can normally recommend restaurants, clubs and other local interests that tourists may miss out on.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

8. Toronto, Canada

Uber is here to stay says the mayor of this city, which is a great relief to many of the users who are already using this ride sharing service. Using Uber in Toronto is a great way to get around the city as it often seems traditional cabs are few and far between. Uber riders also use this service to get to and from the airport as the public transportation that runs to the major airport is unreliable and inefficient. So far, it is not illegal to call for Uber to pick you up from the airport in this city. Toronto has been at the heart of the Uber controversy for the past year and the time to use it is now; just in case it becomes obsolete. Did we mention that it is also normally cheaper than the average taxi ride and these Canadians are just so darn nice?


7. New York City

Although New York City is one of the most expensive places to use Uber, it is also one of the best; mainly because the amount of users is so high. You can expect five star rated drivers here in New York and vehicles equipped with everything from the latest iPhone charger to vomit bags in the backseats; just in case. Using Uber in NY means shortcuts down side streets, avoiding traffic and paying to ride in a nice, clean car rather than a sometimes dirty taxi. It means talking to the friendly locals who give tips on where to eat, what to do and where it’s safe to be at night. Uber has exploded in this city and it’s easy to understand why. Plus with the wicked weather that often hits the city, it is a great way to keep dry instead of fighting for umbrella space while walking down the sidewalk.

New York City, USA

6. San Francisco

The birthplace of Uber makes this list and it’s really no surprise. San Francisco is the original home of this ride sharing service, which started to give the public a different option than cabs and other public transit. This city has one of the highest numbers of drivers which makes catching a ride both fast and easy. The taxi business in this city has dropped about 65% since Uber came in and fewer and fewer cabs can be seen around the city. Due in part to lower costs for rides by Uber and the caliber of vehicles that are picking passengers up. Uber is so present in this city that you won’t even think about calling a cab. Plus due to strict laws, using Uber ensures that you are the only passenger in the vehicle snagging a ride. Expect nice vehicles with plenty of amenities when you call for a ride in this city.

San Francisco bridge

5. Houston

This city is perhaps one of the safest cities to catch an Uber ride as in recent months it started requiring drivers to obtain special licenses. The long time debate Uber has faced is the lack of laws and rules it set forth. In Houston now drivers are required to go through physical tests, drug tests and have their car inspected. As an Uber rider in Houston you can be sure you are riding in a car less than 7 years old, by a driver who has no criminal history and no drug use and who has been licensed as a driver. Something you will not get in other cities currently. Add in the fact that Uber here is cheap and quick and especially reliable and this is definitely one city that has embraced this ride sharing program and made it easy for both riders and drivers to feel safe.


4. Washington, DC

In a recent study this city was rated the best city to be an Uber driver but it also happens to be a great city to be an Uber rider. Washington, DC comes in at number four on this list for a number of factors. Slashed fares often pop up in this city and it becomes incredibly cheap to use Uber. The government on the other hand hasn’t been so quick to hop on board but all that means for other riders is better availability of drivers. Washington is also one of the only cities with Uber Family; an option that allows families to order a car with a car seat.  They have also recently hooked up with Fuhu and are installing two Nabi kids’ tablets into these family cars. Families love that the kids are both safe and entertained.

Washington DC

3. Boston

There is no shortage of drivers to pick you up in Boston and they are constantly fighting for your business. Which makes using Uber even more convenient. Gone are the days when you had three to four taxi drivers hassling you when you hailed a cab. Now it’s simply a few touches on your phone and you have a clean, reliable car to pick you up. This city also sees its fair share of reducing fairs and many studies have shown that it is significantly cheaper to use Uber here than a taxi. It doesn’t hurt matters that the governor is an avid supporter of this ride sharing program and is doing his best to make it safer for both drivers and passengers. Plus you can find some stellar coupons and discounts to score free rides around this city.

Boston Bay

2. Los Angeles

Using Uber in Los Angeles is easy and cheap, much cheaper than using a taxi, and significantly more efficient than using public transit. Plus there always seems to be a number of choices for drivers that are around you. With the promise that Uber will be allowed to pick up passengers from LAX shortly, there is no reason not to use this ride sharing service in this city. Plus it gets awful hot in the summertime here and with all that shopping you do, you will need someone to carry it all home. This city also offers UberEATS; where you can order in your favorite food from their curated menu. It’s as easy as requesting a ride including the cashless pay system.

Los Angeles

1. Chicago

Chicago has long been the cheapest place in the USA to use Uber, although it is not fully understood why. If you’re planning on using Uber in any city; this would be it. Chicago is also the perfect place to use this ride sharing system because of its weather. Wind and rain often pelt the city and waiting for a city bus or hailing a cab just isn’t fun. Uber drivers come up in a big way by being especially quick and reliable. The local drivers also know their way around town, where to eat dinner and how to get you to your destination as fast as possible. UberEATS also recently launched in this city and is currently offering lunch time service only, with a choice of two options, and promised to be delivered in just 10 minutes.

Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com
Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

8 Best Live Music Spots in Nashville

In a place with the nickname Music City, it only makes sense that some of the best live music spots in the world, especially those appealing to country music fans, would be found right in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. Don’t be fooled however, because there are plenty of great hidden hideaways that offer music not just for those who are into the country scene. Whether you’re into pop, rock and even hip-hop, you can find a place somewhere downtown that will have you totally caught up in a live and vibrant atmosphere. If you’re traveling to Nashville and music is the main reason why, then obviously we can’t leave you hanging… EscapeHere is giving you the scoop on the 8 Best Live Music Spots In Nashville. Some of these spots are world-renowned and others are known more to the locals, but thanks to this list, you now know about them too and can enjoy all the best that Music City has to offer.

Exit In

If places like the Station Inn represent the old school in Nashville, Exit In is the new school. Yes they still feature live country music (you’d be hard-pressed to find a venue in all of Nashville that doesn’t feature at least some country music), but they’ve also been known to host comedy shows along with rock and pop bands. The place doesn’t care what you think about its menu as they boast on their website that they do indeed offer the best ‘hot pockets’ in all of Tennessee.

Just by reading into this second paragraph you should know by now that the place is a bit cheekier and edgier than most. Contrary to other venues in the area that host live music 7 days a week, Exit In prides itself on being your place to be during the weekends, which means that if you happen to be stopping by on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you are bound to see acts from all over the South. If you find bars that only play country music a little bit too restrictive, Exit In is the place to be.


12th & Porter

Nashville Scene magazine voted 12th & Porter as the second best place in the city to see live music next to the Ryman Auditorium. Even if you’ve never been there before, it’s easy to see why that’s the case when you look at the past acts that have performed here. Neil Young, Keith Urban, Run-DMC, Kings Of Leon, Bon Jovi and Kesha have all graced the stage, so as you can see there’s a good mix of old and new at 12th & Porter on a regular basis.

It’s considered one of the top places in all of Southeast America in terms of showing off major-label talent and also hosts some of the best indie rock acts in the American music industry. While a lot of Nashville’s classic venues are centered around country music, 12th & Porter offers something for everyone. The list of acts hosted there knows no bounds. The place plays a leading role in Nashville’s downtown music scene and has done so for years. It’s a definite hotspot and totally worth checking out.

12th and porter

The Stage

The Stage On Broadway as promoted in the opening tagline on the website…”the whiskey’s on ice and the music is on fire”. Need we say more? The Stage On Broadway makes no bones about being the most rocking country club in all of Nashville. All you need to do is take a few moments and look at the virtual tour to see what you’re getting yourself into when you visit… a rocking country stage, a rustic country look to the barstools and pictures on the wall, and a heck of a lot of guitars plastered everywhere.

It’s obvious that The Stage isn’t a concert venue in the truest sense of the word, but if you’re looking for a good bar to sit down and have a drink at with awesome country music playing just for you, this is the place to be. Although the place is small compared to some of the larger concert venues in the area, it packs a lot of punch and has played host to many a popular music videos -including a film featuring Gwenyth Paltrow and Tim McGraw. Celebrities have been known to pop in every once in a while and perform too, which is what makes this bar on Broadway a gem.

The Stage on Broadway

The Second Fiddle    

The Second Fiddle like many of these other fine establishments is located on lower Broadway. It’s one of a small handful of places in the city that offer live country music 7 days a week. The building is full of music memorabilia and antique radios, so to say the least as soon as you walk in, you’ll experience exactly what you thought Nashville would be. One of the cool things about the place is that you have to be 21 and over to enter after 6 PM and the bar is open until 3 AM daily. The fun here is never-ending with the party and music going until the wee hours of the morning.

Some of the bands that currently play at the venue include Travis Mobley, Colton Steele, Stone Silo and Smoke N’ Guns. The name of the acts themselves reveals how country this bar really is. Famous southern and country celebrities like Tim McGraw and Larry The Cable Guy have been known to pop by once in a while. If you’re lucky you might even experience a live performance from Trick Pony. Like many of the other most notable spots on Broadway, you never really know what you’re going to get at The Second Fiddle, which is what makes checking it out all the more fun.

The Second Fiddle

Station Inn        

If you want Bluegrass hits, Station Inn is for you. It’s located on 12th Ave. and hosts live music 7 days a week like many of its counterparts. One thing they don’t do here is serve you food and drink directly at your table, you have to go up to order at the bar if you want to eat. While that may be a drawback for some tourists, that’s the whole point of the experience because the reason people come here is for the live music first, and we think that any venue that puts the music first is a place you want to be.

The venue has been at its current location since 1978 and was first born when a group of six bluegrass performers decided to give folks a place where they could enjoy the classic hits where the music would take precedence over everything else. Station Inn received recognition from the Bluegrass Music Association in the form of a Distinguished Achievement Award for his contribution to the genre in particular and the country music scene as a whole back in 2003. Fast forward 12 years and Station Inn is still one of the best places to be for live music today.

The Station Inn

Bluebird Cafe

The style at the Bluebird Cafe is intimate to say the least. It’s a venue that only fits in about 90 seats. It’s not a concert hall, it’s a listening room. What can you listen to when you go there? Well country music of course. Here’s the thing… you’re not just going there to listen to country music from song artists, you’re going there to listen to the original songwriters who created the tune itself. If you’re a big country music fan and you think it would be cool to get a glimpse of what the man behind the music sounds like, the Bluebird Café is definitely for you.

That doesn’t mean the place only plays country music though, you can also get your fill of pop, rock and Christian hits as well. To sum it all up, the Bluebird Cafe is where acts like Garth Brooks performed before they were Garth Brooks. In comparison to other big concert halls, it’s obvious that this one sells itself based on history and a close-knit vibe that might even make you want to take the stage on open mic night. Being as small a venue as it is, it’s definitely worth mentioning that the acoustics in this place are absolutely amazing.

Bluebird Cafe

The Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry was founded way back in 1925 and for many years now has hosted the biggest names in the country music genre. The best up-and-coming country music on the planet gets featured on a live stage every single week. It really is “The Show That Made Country Music Famous” as the venue’s slogan says, so if country music has always been a big part of your life, going to the Grand Ole Opry will be like making a pilgrimage. Old school acts like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline dominated the scene in the 50’s but in more recent decades, more modern acts like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks have played shows.

The Grand Ole Opry was flooded back in 2010, forcing the show to move to the Ryman Auditorium on a temporary basis. The main venue for the show from the 70s to the 90s was built as part of an entire theme park. These days that theme park no longer exists but the Grand Ole Opry is still in tact, next to Opry Mills Mall. It’s a great venue for young up-and-coming stars and country music Hall of Famers, so the bottom line is if you’re into country music, you’ve got to check out this timeless piece of country music history.

aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com


Ryman Auditorium

Located on 5th Avenue North, the Ryman Auditorium was originally built by a prominent local businessman named Thomas Ryman. Ryman sought salvation throughout his life and had a special connection with a reverend by the name of Sam Jones. Due to the fact he believed so much in Jones’ words of wisdom and guidance, Ryman had promised to build an auditorium for him to preach in that would project his voice and spread his message within the local community. It’s been over 100 years since the venue was built and it’s still known as one of the best venues in the world when it comes to acoustics.

Of course these days the Ryman Auditorium is no longer used for preaching sermons… it’s a concert venue. The permanent shift to its present-day use occurred way back in the mid-70s, when the Grand Ole Opry (mentioned above), used the Ryman Auditorium as its home. Superstars from across different genres have performed there, but naturally country music is where the building’s modern day roots lie. The Ryman really is a classic venue and a must visit, and although it’s been around for a very long time, the building received a facelift in the mid-90s, so you will be able to see a lot of its features in their intended form…even 100-plus years later.

Ryman Auditorium

Things to See and Do in Nashville

Also known as “Music City”; Nashville is the home of country music, the creators of hot chicken, and a famous men’s restroom. The capital city of Tennessee offers visitors a chance to dive deep in the country music scene, catch some blues in a hidden ally or whittle the afternoon away at a local winery. Come to Nashville to watch famous performers on the big stage, catch a glimpse of the infamous Bluebird Cafe where songwriters come together and sample Tennessee’s finest whiskey. With its never-ending supply of restaurants, entertainment and people watching; Nashville isn’t just for country music lovers. Spend some time exploring this city and make sure to include these top 10 things to see and do in this wonderful city.

1. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame

4kclips / Shutterstock

In the heart of Downtown Nashville sits an iconic structure, home to country music since 1967. The Country Music Hall of Fame is one of the most visited attractions in Nashville and is the first thing we recommend visiting. The museum is home to interactive touch screen displays, live performances, historic country video clips, photos, and artifacts. Spend a few hours to really discover the history of country music and how far it has come. Take in the Wall of Fame and gold records, listen to the audio tour and explore three floors of an incredible architectural building. Visit the souvenir shop, dine at the attached restaurant or simply spend your entire day immersed in country music. Country music lover or not; the Hall of Fame begs to be explored.

2. Visit the Men’s Restroom at the Hermitage Hotel

The men’s washroom at the Hermitage Hotel isn’t strictly for men anymore. Due to popular demand, this washroom has been opened to allow both men and women to have a peek inside. What makes it so special you might ask? Opened in 1910 this art-deco restroom is walled with leaded glass tiles in green and black, authentic terrazzo floors, and lime green fixtures.  To complete the restroom, there is an actual two-seat shoeshine station in gleaming black.  While you are in the historic Hermitage Hotel make sure to pay a visit to the Oak Bar where you can grab a drink from the well-stocked bar and admire the beautiful historic lobby and architecture of the hotel. Make sure to snap some photos of this iconic hotel and restroom.

3. Take in a Show at the Grand Ole Opry

Offering one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences is what the Grand Ole Opry is famous for. You will find everyone from old-timers to big star names to up and coming stars performing here. With a seating capacity of 5,000 and not a bad seat in the house; you will spend two hours singling along to some of the country’s greatest artists. For an extra special experience make sure to book the backstage tour where you’ll get to see the dressing rooms, how the performers enter the Opry, and even get to stand on stage and get your picture taken. Stick around after the performance and grab an autograph from one of many stars. A word to the wise is to book in advance for front row seats and backstage tours. This is one performance you don’t want to miss while you’re in Nashville.

4. Printers Alley

Step out of Nashville’s honky-tonk scene and into a historic district best described as artsy and electric. We suggest visiting at night where the bars come alive with blues and the hipsters come to hideaway from the tourists that often crowd the bar scene in downtown Nashville. You’ll find some interesting architecture and history on this street so make sure to read up on it before you visit to get the most out of it. Visit Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar in Printers Alley to experience some true blues, terrific atmosphere, and fantastic service. This bar fills up quickly so make a reservation or go early, but don’t skip out on this place; it’s well worth the visit. If karaoke is your thing, choose from one of many karaoke bars including “Naked Karaoke” or grab an outdoor table at the end of the alley and listen to the sounds drifting out from the bars. Step back onto a street that was once home to a thriving publishing industry.

5. Blaze the Tennessee Whiskey Trail

Whiskey drinker or not; you cannot go to Tennessee without visiting at least one or two distilleries. With two distilleries located right in the heart of Nashville; Baeachtree Distillery and Consair Artisan; it has never been easier to learn a little about traditional Tennessee Whiskey. If two are not enough for you; head outside the city center where loads more await you. Visit the famous Jack Daniels distillery which is the world’s top-selling whiskey and get your own personal bottle of Jack Daniels engraved at the store. Or, join up with a whiskey tour and let the tour operators take you to multiple distilleries in one day; leaving the driving up to them. Explore the quaint towns that you travel through with picturesque landscapes, antique shops, and excellent dining.  Most importantly don’t forget to sample that amazing Tennessee whiskey!

6. Bluebird Cafe

The legendary Bluebird Cafe is your next stop in Nashville. But don’t leave buying your tickets to the last minute. Tickets go on sale every Monday and sell out within five minutes; so get your computer ready and get them fast. Wondering what’s so special about the Bluebird Cafe? Tucked away in a small strip mall with an even tinier parking lot, sits a legendary venue that has given some of country music’s biggest stars their start. Stars such as Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, and Garth Brooks were first discovered in this very venue. Described as a listening room; the Bluebird provides a space for the “heroes behind the hits” to showcase their music. Songwriters come together to perform their own songs with others accompanying them with instruments and harmony. Raw emotion, deep feelings and a chance to hear the greatest songwriters out of Nashville come together; the Bluebird is a legendary stop in Nashville.

7. Parthenon

Taking a break from all this country music our next stop takes you to something right out of Greece. The only full-size replica of the Parthenon in the world sits right here in Nashville. Included in the Parthenon is a replica gold statue of Athena, an art gallery and the story of how it came to be in Nashville. Take a few hours and self-guide yourself through the Parthenon stopping to admire the enormous bronze doors to the main room and the details of the architecture. Bring your camera along for some photos of the outside grounds and upper level; no photography is permitted on the lower level in the art gallery though. Roam the park outside the Parthenon and you may get lucky and stumble across one of many music festivals that run throughout the year. Learn why Nashville is often called the “Athens of the South” and discover an impressive piece of history.

8. Belle Meade Plantation Tour

What is a trip to the south without a plantation tour?  Head to the historic Belle Meade Plantation to understand what life was like in the 1800s. Home to some of the most affluent families in Tennessee; this mansion and grounds are truly breathtaking. Discover the stables where the most successful breeding programs in the State took place at that time. Stroll through the mansion and admire the preserved artifacts that are in pristine condition.  Hear the history behind the families that lived on these grounds from knowledgeable tour guides that often have a touch of quirky humor. Finish off your tour with a free wine tasting from their vineyards; trust us you don’t want to miss out on this wine. Speaking of wine; our next stop in Nashville just happens to be a vineyard.

9. Arrington Vineyards

Nestled in the rolling hills 25 miles south of Nashville sits a winery so serene and calm you will feel at home as soon as you enter. Log cabin-like buildings set the presence of the vineyard with a roaring fireplace upon entering. Visitors of the vineyard are encouraged to bring a picnic with them to enjoy outside on the picnic tables set amongst the winery. There are many options for wine sampling at Arrington. Sample a multitude of wines with an associate who will tell you more about each one, take a wine sampler “to go” and enjoy the experience outdoors with full tasting notes or sign up for a premier experience that will take you throughout the winery and explain the full process from start to finish. Anything you choose to do, Arrington Vineyards gets an A+ rating from us.

10. Try Hot Chicken

Home to the birthplace of “hot chicken” you best not leave Nashville until you’ve tried this infamous dish. Pan-fried chicken that has been battered in buttermilk and coated in a heavy spiced sauce atop a piece of white bread topped with pickle chips makes this dish fairly unique. If spicy food is what you are after; look no further. The original home of hot chicken is Prince’s Hot Chicken; named after the original establishment serving this dish all the way back to the 1930s from a shack in a Nashville strip mall. Another big contender in the hot chicken race is Hattie B’s; a similar spice lover’s paradise. Whichever location you choose to eat your hot chicken from; be warned the spice level is no joke and the delicious factor is out of this world.

11. Tour United Record Pressing

Pressing vinyl records since 1949, United Record Pressing has included clients such as Motown and Vee-Jay Records (pressing The Beatles 7″). Its current home on Chestnut Street includes a very unique Motown Suite; an apartment that sits above the factory. The Motown Suite was used in the 1960s for African American run companies that were not often welcomed anywhere else. Every Friday United Record Pressing offers a tour of the factory. Arrive early to ensure your space and have a chance to visit the infamous Motown Suite, watch actual records being produced and learn the history behind vinyl. If there is one way to wrap up your time in Nashville it’s visiting this hidden gem and learn more about vinyl than you ever thought possible.

The Grestest Quick and Easy US Weekend Escapes

The United States offers weekend adventures that suit any type of temperament. Relaxing after a busy week at work is best handled by a change of scenery and one of the following quick weekend getaways. Many of these weekend vacation spots also offer some adventurous opportunities for active weekend escapes.

1. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas offers a lot more than one-armed bandits and smoky casinos these days, and many weekend visitors just want to experience the amazing buffets (every casino has a legendary buffet) and the headliner shows along the Strip. All the casinos offer terrific hotel packages for a fun weekend stay, and a great way to spend an evening is to catch one of the city’s Broadway-caliber shows.

Las Vegas Nevada
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com


2. San Antonio, Texas

A lot of people associate Texas with cowboys, horses, and tumbleweeds, but San Antonio doesn’t offer that sort of picture of Texas. Offering a marvelous balance between old fashioned Texas history and entertaining modernity, one of San Antonio’s best features is its famed River Walk for walking and dining relaxation.

San Antonio Texas

3. Nashville, Tennessee

From emerging music stars to down-home honky-tonk bars, Nashville is a friendly and inexpensive way to experience nightlife and harmonious entertainment. The region also has a strong reputation for specialty beers, and a whole culture of microbreweries has sprung up around the town’s live music venues.

Nashville Tennessee 1

4. Sedona, Arizona

Sedona offers visitors views of amazing red rocks and fascinating geologic formations. Spending a weekend hiking around the miles of trails around this desert southwest town offers hours of scenic beauty and photo opportunities. Kitschy stores selling all sorts of Indian jewelry make for some fun shopping excursions, and the hotel prices tend to be affordable for the budget conscious.

Sedona Arizona

5. Catalina Island, California

Just a few hours away by ferry from the Los Angeles coastline, Catalina is an amazing little island that offers a perfect ocean escape for a few hours or a weekend. The locals drive around in golf carts, and there are as many scenic overlooks on the island as there are boats in the harbor. During the ferry ride to Catalina, boaters pass some of the deepest parts of the ocean near the California coastline.

Catalina Island California

6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Long popular with the locals as a weekend destination, Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts is a charming island that will inspire more than one weekend trip. For adventurous travelers, the Aquinnah Cliffs on the far side of the island are stunning and are definitely worth a look. Another spot not to be missed is the Edgartown Lighthouse, the top of which offers a marvelous view of the bay.

Edgartown Lighthouse

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

Known for an exceptionally artistic and musical populace, New Orleans has been rebuilt in the wake of a devastating hurricane and has retained much of its long-favored charisma. From classy southern music venues, such as the Davenport Lounge, to the raucousness of the French Quarter, New Orleans offers an experience for travelers of any disposition.

New Orleans Louisiana
pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com

8. Savannah, Georgia

The history of the South is alive and well in Savannah, and this beautiful Georgia town is popular for walking tours. A number of centuries-old homes offer tours, such as the Davenport House Museum, where visitors can see the elegance and grace of 19th century southern living.

Savannah Georgia

9. Napa Valley, California

Taking a tour of California’s amazing Napa Valley is a must for anyone who enjoys wine tasting and the amazing Mediterranean-like climate of this picturesque area. There’s no better way to relax than taking a tour of the area’s local wineries. The Napa Valley Wine Train is a tranquil way to take in the sights.

Each of these fantastic locations around the United States offers unique charm and a chance to experience the local history and culture of the region. Whether a relaxing weekend or an adventurous few days are on the menu, these weekend getaways will satisfy any type of traveler.

Napa Valley California

The Most Popular Family Vacation Destinations

Once summer arrives, it’s a great time to take a family vacation. These trips can create memories that will last a lifetime that both you and your children will remember. Whether that time off is a yearly event or a special occasion, here are ten of the most popular family vacation destinations.

1. Orlando, Florida

Great Florida weather combines with Universal Studios, Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando to present one of the best vacation packages anywhere. Add water parks, numerous resort hotels and discounted tickets to create the right list of activities to please your family.

Orlando Florida

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

What will you find in Myrtle Beach? Start with sixty miles of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, historic lighthouses, NASCAR SpeedPark, mini-golf courses, and roller coasters. End at the boardwalk with dozens of friendly resort hotels and you have an ideal location to relax and enjoy.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina

3. Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi

Biloxi-Gulfport provides the perfect combination of recreation and kid happy leisure time. Centered on the Gulf, this resort town showcases sugar-white sand on miles of beaches. When you need a beach break, check out the NASA Stennis Space Center, ocean cruises and miniature golf. A perfect mix of leisure time and activities will entertain every member of the family.

Biloxi-Gulfport Mississippi

4. Arizona

Get spooked in a ghost town, see the London Bridge and travel to the Navajo Reservation to see Monument Valley. Enjoy a day trip to the Grand Canyon or raft the Colorado River. See the O. K. Corral in Tombstone. Pick a dude ranch for your stay and absorb authentic Wild West history. This state delivers a memorable vacation.

Vacclav / Shutterstock.com

5. Southern California

San Diego and Los Angeles offer families a busy trip with Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland and the Hollywood Blvd. Step back to other less famous sites with the California Science Center or hit the beaches at Santa Monica and Malibu. This might be more expensive than other venues, but plan ahead and shop for deals.

San Diego Zoo

6. Oahu, Hawaii

Explore Hawaii with boat trips, dolphin shows, surf lessons, Pearl Harbor and sunny beaches. Great together time for the family comes from a visit to the Diamond Head Crater and hiking a tropical rainforest to see Manoa Falls. Include a visit to the Iolani Palace, the Dole Pineapple Plantation and the Waikiki Aquarium. If you want a once in a lifetime vacation, this is your destination.

Diamondhead Crater Oahu Hawaii

7. Nashville, Tennessee

This music city offers water parks, museums, children’s theater and live music. Combine your trip with kid friendly resorts and stellar restaurants. Plan trips to the Adventure Science Center, the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville’s electric atmosphere has something for every family.

Nashville Tennessee

8. Washington, D. C.

Washington, D. C. is an endless list of free attractions steeped in American history. Your favorite museum or monument list should have these favorites: The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum, National Children’s Museum, Bureau of Engraving & Printing and the Washington Monument. Add great hotels and restaurants and bring your camera.

Washington DC

9. Vancouver, British Columbia Canada

For those families that want a foreign trip, Canada is the place to go. Family-friendly with no language hassle, that’s Vancouver. Stanley Park and Granville Island deserve a visit for their abundance of kid-friendly activities. Make the trip to Grouse Mountain to hike or choose Science World for a fun day exploring. Water activities include kayaking, windsurfing, and rafting. You’ll go home tired but rested.

Grouse Mountain Vancouver
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

10. Southern Texas and Matamoros, Mexico

Water activities prevail in South Padre Island. This resort community on the Gulf delivers surfing, snorkeling, parasailing, dolphin watching, beach tanning, and sandcastle building. Across the Rio Grande thirty miles away, pass over into Matamoros, Mexico for unique shops with handmade goods and delicious food served with history and culture. If that isn’t enough, venture back to San Antonio to visit the historic Alamo, Six Flags Over Texas and SeaWorld San Antonio.

Alamo Texas

Best Places to Vacation at Christmas Time

While there’s a particular sentiment to the statement “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” many of us would rather be anywhere else.  That’s why Christmas time can be the very best time for a quick vacation.

So regardless of whether your holiday enhances that yuletide feeling with snow, and lights, and tree-lined streets; or whisks you off to a tropical beachfront hideaway—we’ve got a few splendid recommendations for the best places to vacation come Christmas time…

1. Manhattan, New York

New York City is synonymous with the holidays—with bustling winter shopping, the lighting of the famous tree at Rockefeller Center, the city-wide Christmas displays in every department store window, horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park and leisurely strolls with hot cocoa in hand through classic brownstone-lined neighborhoods—Christmas is definitely in the air in Manhattan.

rockerfeller Centre, NY

2. Quebec City, Canada

The Québécois serve up a traditional French Canadian Christmas—or rather Noël—with twinkling century stone homes perched along narrow cobblestone streets; tons of good cheer; great food that could include delicacies such as meat pies, giant scallops au gratin, and grilled pheasant breast; and of course loads and loads of snow ripe for sledding, skiing, and skating.

quebec city

3. Trømso, Norway

Norway is one country that doesn’t let its natural, fairytale Christmas atmosphere—complete with snowy mountains, reindeer, and dog sledding—go to waste. No, in such close proximity to the actual North Pole (or Arctic Circle) the people of Trømso will help you revel in the spirit of the holiday.

Trømso, Norway

4. Kaikoura, New Zealand

If you’re eager for something a little different—completely opposite in fact, a vacation in Kaikoura ought to do the trick! While North American’s bundle up for snow; New Zealanders get ready for summer. That’s right Christmas here is celebrated outdoors with backyard barbecues, cool dips in Kaikoura Bay, sperm whales watching excursions, swimming with dolphins, and kayaking adventures.

Kaikoura Bay, sperm whales

5. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Christmas is not only embraced in Old San Juan; the city gets in the spirit of the season starting 2 weeks ahead of time. You’ll find this balmy locale teeming with traditional holiday treats (such as pastels, which are meat and spice-filled pastries), celebrations where guests are gifted offerings of coquito (an egg-nogg type cocktail made with rum and coconut milk), and salsa bands playing your favorite holiday carols.  And instead of sledding on snow banks, you can ride another type of board at Rincon (Puerto Rico’s surfer’s paradise).

Old San Juan

6. Paraty, Brazil

For a true off-the-beaten-track escape at Christmas time, the colonial towns of Brazil are places where you can bask in the sun and forget about the stress of the holidays. In Paraty, located 140-miles south of Rio, you’ll find a real holiday gift—packed with friendly locals, unspoiled beaches, exotic wildlife, lush jungles, and azure waters that’ll you forget about any holiday other than your own.

Paraty, Brazil

7.  Bali, Indonesia

Instead of rounds of bells this Christmas, how about a deep gamelan gong to usher in the holiday? In Bali you will be surrounded by ancient temples, wafts of incense, wreaths of rice plants and flowers, holiday meals of Indonesian green-tea noodles with seafood in bonito broth, and sunsets that will remind you that divine acts are at work every day.

Bali, Indonesia
deamles / Shutterstock.com

8. Reykjavík, Iceland

With Yule Lads, Iceland’s version of Santa Claus, perched in every shop window; multiple outdoor adventures on hand like sledding, skating, and skiing; and a brief 4-hours of daylight ending with a heavenly sky show by Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) and a hearty shot of Brennivín (or schnapps) to warm your laurels, Reykjavik, Iceland is the perfect Christmas away from home.


9. Nashville, USA

If you’re after an unabashed “ya’ll to the holidays” look no further than Nashville, Tennessee with is twangy, honky-tonk renditions of “Oh Christmas Tree” and downright kitschy outdoor light displays—after all, the saying down south is “go big or go home!” And you can do just that by slicing into a big ol’ juicy beef tenderloin on Christmas day!

nashville, christmas

10. Provence, France

A Christmas holiday in Provençal is something out of a winter fairy tale. Imagine small, quaint villages and country farm homes with smoke trails from each chimney, the echoes of caroling and bells from impressive medieval churches, cobblestone streets teeming with shoppers hunting for the perfect foie gras. Settle in for the quintessential Christmas escape in an old, refurbished farmhouse with a cozy hearth to warm your toes as you dig into a Christmas Eve dinner of traditional grilled sea bass, vegetable gratin, black truffles, and mincemeat pies.

Provence, France