The Top Things to See and Do in Charleston, South Carolina

Founded as Charles Town in 1670 in honor of England’s King Charles II, Charleston was one of the most important cities in the United States during its early history and colonial era. Today, it is known for its rich and fascinating historical heritage, welcoming locals, fantastic beaches, and beautiful architectural treasures. Charleston has won a long list of accolades from major travel publications as an American must-see gem. Travel + Leisure magazine rated it as the “World’s Best City” in 2016, and Charleston has also earned high praise and accolades from periodicals including Southern Living and Condé Nast Traveler in recent years.

There are tons of amazing things to see and do in Charleston, and these 20 suggestions are great starting points for first-time visitors:

20. Cruise Around Morris Island Lighthouse By Boat

Charleston is a wonderful city but when you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle take a boat cruise to Morris Island. The quaint uninhabited island is only accessible by boat so set sail on the Morris Island Lighthouse Eco Cruise to do some exploring.

The cruise sets sail from Bowens Island and will make its way to Morris Island. Along the way, you may even see marine life such as bottlenose dolphins and sea turtles. Once you make your way onto the island you can explore at your own pace, search for seashells, check out the historic Morris Island Lighthouse, and take in the breathtaking view.

Source: Shutterstock

19. Check Out Charleston’s First Distillery Since Prohibition

High Wire is Charleston’s first distillery since prohibition and would be an excellent site to see during your visit. Conveniently located in downtown Charleston, you can head to High Wire for a tour and tasting Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.

The tours will provide insight into how the distilling process works as well as a glimpse into the mechanics of a small distillery. Keep in mind, guests must be 18 and older to enter the tasting room and guests must be 21 and older (with valid ID) to taste.

Source: High Wire Distilling

18. Go On A Culinary Walking Food Tour

Why waste time researching where to eat when you can hit all the hottest spots on the Downtown Charleston culinary walking food tour! This culinary walking tour will give you a taste of some of Charleston’s best locally run restaurants.

As a bonus, you’ll get to learn about the history of the city along the way. Be sure to skip your lunch because these food samples are going to fill you up!

Source: Shutterstock

17. Explore The City On A Sightseeing Bus Tour

Kick back and relax on the Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour! The comfortable climate-controlled ride allows you to see the city in a whole new way. Plus the minibusses only sit 15 passengers which means you’ll get an intimate experience.

Touring on a bus instead of on foot allows you to see more in a single outing. Additionally, the bus tours feature 5 departure times so you find a time that works best for you and your schedule.

Source: Shutterstock

16. Ghost of Charleston Walking Tour

Looking for a spooky adventure? Enjoy an eerie night tour on the Ghost of Charleston Walking Tour!

A guide will lead you through the dark to explore the spooky tales and locations of Charleston. Among other stops, the tour also gains you after-hour access to a paranormal hot spot, the Unitarian Church Graveyard.

Source: Shutterstock

15. Go Dancing At The Commodore Music Club

The Commodore is a great place to go to if you’re looking for live entertainment and to go dancing. As soon as you walk into the music club you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a vintage jazz club.

The bar features preserved vintage brass and green velvet bar stools, a glossy black tiled floor, chandeliers, and velvet curtains that surround the stage. Whether you’re looking to hit the dance floor or simply looking for a place to grab a drink, a night out at The Commodore will be a night to remember. Just make sure you’re of legal drinking age!

Source: The Commodore

14. Enjoy A Sunset Sail On Charleston Harbor

There’s no better way to watch a sunset than out at sea. The Schooner Sunset Sail on Charleston Harbor excursion features a 2-hour cruise on a quaint sailboat.

The cruise’s maximum capacity is 15 passengers creating an intimate experience for everyone. During the cruise, the captain and crew will point out historical sites along the way. Also, feel free to bring a picnic or snack but forget the drinks because you can purchase beverages aboard.

Source: Shutterstock

13. Visit The Otters At The South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium would be a great interactive experience for you and your family. Here you can check out the 6,000-gallon stingray tank, touch and feel several species in the touch tanks and learn about many animals native to South Carolina.

Also, don’t miss your chance to see the river otters at the South Carolina Aquarium! This is a great opportunity considering it’s very rare to spot them in the wild.

Source: South Carolina Aquarium

12. Explore the French Quarter

Art galleries, boutiques, historic churches, and several of the city’s architectural landmarks are clustered in the French Quarter, which is bounded by Market Street to the north, Meeting Street to the west, Broad Street to the south, and Waterfront Park to the east.

While many architectural and history walking tours will highlight this part of the city, it’s well worth exploring in more detail, particularly if you have a strong interest in Charleston’s rich and storied heritage.

Source: Shutterstock

11. Check out Charleston City Market

While Charleston City Market is characterized by some as a touristy cliché, it’s one of the best places in the city to experience the contemporary character of traditional Old South life. Formerly known as the Slave Market, as slaves would be sent here by their masters to buy food for their households in centuries past, Charleston City Market is an ideal place to go people-watching and find some authentic handicrafts.

One recommended option is to seek out the market’s so-called basket ladies, who perform a time-honored type of traditional basket weaving that was originally practiced in West Africa. Practitioners hand-make beautiful baskets from materials like palmetto leaves and sweetgrass, with the craft’s secrets being carefully passed down from generation to generation.


10. Hit the Beach

Folly Beach is the most popular of the city’s beaches, which offer a welcome respite of lounging and relaxation after a few busy days of sightseeing. Charleston has a humid subtropical climate, which extends beach season beyond the summer months into the late spring and early fall.

Folly Beach is about 12 miles outside of downtown Charleston, and setting it aside as a day trip during your stay in the area is usually the way to go. Interestingly, Folly Beach is where George & Ira Gershwin wrote their famous opera Porgy and Bess during the summer of 1934.

Source: Shutterstock

9. Discover the City’s Museums

Beyond Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston has many other museums that are sure to interest curious visitors and history buffs. The Aiken-Rhett House Museum offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse into life during the antebellum age, while the Nathaniel Russell House Museum is an architectural masterpiece with a stunning spiral staircase. Charleston Museum, Heyward-Washington House, Confederate Museum, and the Old Slave Mart Museum are other popular options to consider.

All in all, Charleston is home to dozens of museums, so if you’re particularly keen on the city’s history, it’s best to do some research before you arrive so you can learn more about the things that interest you most.

James Kirkikis /

8. Cruise to Sullivan’s Island

Speaking of island ferries, you should also make room in your itinerary for Sullivan’s Island. A relatively compact 3.3 square miles, Sullivan’s Island is one of those often-overlooked hidden gems that vacationers rave about after visiting.

The island is home to a charming and welcoming town, which is brimming with beachfront eateries and one-of-a-kind boutiques. A popular option is to plan your day around having lunch on Sullivan’s Island and giving yourself an hour to explore the shops before heading back to the mainland.

Photo by: Sinopse Stylist

7. Brush Up on Your Civil War History at Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter National Monument is forever enshrined in American history books as the place where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Cannons that were used in the war are still nestled into the fort’s cave network, which is located on an island in Charleston Harbor.

Regular ferry service is available to transport you to Fort Sumter, and once you’re there, it’s also recommended that you spend some time exploring the island’s small but worthwhile museum to learn more about the long list of fascinating treasures still housed there.

Source: Shutterstock

6. Lose Yourself in Beautiful Gardens

Charleston and the surrounding area are home to some of the best-preserved plantations and gardens in the American South. Middleton Place, constructed in 1755, remains one of the city’s most enduring attractions, but there are several others that are definitely not to be missed.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens has spectacular, postcard-worthy scenery, and charming Drayton Hall, which dates to 1738, is one of the oldest intact plantations still standing in the United States.

meunierd /

5. Stroll Along The Battery

Ask a Charleston local, and chances are they’ll tell you there’s no way you can leave the city before you’ve visited The Battery. Once the center of the city’s maritime economy, The Battery is now lined with a stunning collection of charming and colorful Southern mansions. As you make your way through this picturesque and unique neighborhood, it’s worth making a stop in White Point Gardens, which is located close by and contains several interesting Civil War artifacts and memorials.

A visit to The Battery is a perfect companion activity to Waterfront Park, as the park doubles as an entry point to the neighborhood.

Source: Shutterstock

4. Relax in Waterfront Park

Located along the banks of the Cooper River, Waterfront Park is a relative newcomer to the Charleston tourism scene, having been completed in 1990. Its shady trees and breathtaking landscaping make it the ideal place to relax and enjoy some quiet time, and it’s a popular place with the locals as well.

Pack a picnic or bring along a good book—chances are good you’ll want to stay here for a while.

Source: Shutterstock

3. Take a Carriage Ride

Carriage rides offer yet another tour option. Like the city’s walking tours and boat tours, carriage rides also dedicate themselves to specific sections and quarters of the city’s historic center.

Popular options explore the city’s residential architecture, downtown core, and historic areas. As with the walking tours, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. However, these horse-drawn carriage rides add an undeniable mystique to your experience, bringing the classic elegance of the South to life like nothing else.

James Kirkikis /

2. Head to Charleston Harbor

Charleston is also home to a robust selection of boat tours, most of which embark from historic Charleston Harbor. These tours explore the city’s fascinating maritime history, all while cruising past many of the city’s most iconic landmarks. On many tours, the boat’s captain doubles as your tour guide, creating a truly unique experience.

Also, keep your eyes peeled during your boat tour, as dolphins are known to frequent the waters around Charleston. You might just catch a glimpse of one!

Source: Shutterstock

1. Take a Walking Tour

Tour operators offer dozens of choices to visitors, so it’s best to consider your options in terms of what you’d like to see and learn about. We mentioned a few great options earlier but there are many other tours to choose from.

Some walking tours are dedicated to the city’s fascinating Civil War history, while others highlight its architectural gems. Other possibilities include church tours that delve deep into its religious history — there really is something for everyone!

Source: Shutterstock

The Best Things to See and Do in Sedona

Sedona has been called the most beautiful place in the United States. Hard to believe this high-altitude desert was once ocean floor. The unique sandstone emerged only after the Pedregosa Sea receded once and for all 265 million years ago. The setting sun seems to ignite the iron oxide in the rock formations to make fiery red sunsets that burn their way into your memory. It makes the Tuscan twilight seem like a pallid pauper by comparison. It is a place full of masterpieces but none hang in galleries and museums. They are all made by nature of rock carved by time and weather into fantastic shapes, like stone cathedrals, they feel inherently spiritual. It is a magical place of geologic jewels, Native American heritage sites and rock art dating back to the tenth century. Their spirit permeates the land. Sedona has become a kind of spiritual mecca for New Age seekers and UFO enthusiasts. The town of barely 15,000 permanent residents is swamped by three million visitors a year. Whether you seek inner peace, outer space, or icy margaritas to escape the punishing southern Arizona heat, Sedona will speak to you.

10. Sedona Heritage Museum

The charming little Heritage Museum is a good place to get your historical bearings. Of particular interest is the exhibit about the many Hollywood movies shot here dating back to 1923. The big studios and big time directors loved the compelling, quintessential American west backdrop. Many A-list stars worked in the area. Even Elvis shot a film here called Stay Away Joe, in which he played a Native American rodeo rider. Jimmy Stewart’s Broken Arrow, Joan Crawford’s Johnny Guitar and Robert De Niro’s Midnight Run are among the favorites. De Niro must have liked the town because he had a massive, controversial home built in Sedona. The Museum curators have also proudly restored a telegraph. Impress your friends with your ability to identify all the sites when you watch the movies back home.

Photo by: City of Sedona
Photo by: City of Sedona

9. Jeep Tours

There are horseback, helicopter or balloon tours to try, but the easiest and best way to survey the area up closely is on guided jeep tour. There is no shortage of guided tour purveyors with endless themes on and off the back roads and trails. There are Ancient Ruins tours, Vortex Tours and wildlife tours. But Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock are considered 1 and 1A on the breathtaking scale and must be seen firsthand. Their effect can be likened to a combination of the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge. There can be some serious off roading over challenging terrain so be prepared to be bounced around. But the drivers are skilled, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Most get rave reviews on travel sites.

Photo by: mroach via Flickr
Photo by: mroach via Flickr

8. Chapel of the Holy Cross

No man made building could ever compete with the magnificent natural beauty of Sedona. Until the Chapel of the Holy Cross opened in 1957. This award-winning piece of architecture seems not to have been actually constructed by humans but rather to have grown right out of the rock face. It is a stunning homage to the organic architecture of the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright under whom the Chapel’s creator, Marguerite Brunswig Staude once studied. A devout Catholic she searched for, the perfect spot to build the church of her dreams. After almost 25 years, she chose the crimson buttes of south Sedona. There’s nothing much inside except the awe-inspiring view. It has been designated one of Arizona’s man-made wonders. Despite the cross design, it is ecumenical and there are no regular services. A sign greets visitors with “Peace to all who enter here.” And you totally should.

The Chapel of Holy Cross Arizona USA

7. Search the Night Sky

Not counting tourists, Sedona is still a small town renowned for many things, but conventional nightlife is not one of them. However, since seemingly inexplicable things lit up the night sky in the spring of 1997, scanning the desert sky at night has become a popular nighttime activity. Not to mention that a recent National Geographic poll found that 36 percent of Americans believe aliens have landed on earth. So lock away your inner skeptic in the hotel safe and find a UFO guide to the extraterrestrial mysteries of Sedona. Locals who swear to be alien abductees are among some of the guides. Even if you don’t subscribe to the theory, the brilliant starlight in the thin mountain air entrances is justification in itself. Just renting night vision goggles that present the heavens 70,000 times more clear than the naked eye is worth it. On a clear night you can see Andromeda. The chances of seeing something that seems excitingly inexplicable and sends shivers down the spine are guaranteed. Who knows? Maybe even the Mother Ship from whence you came.

Photo by: Kenneth Hagemeyer via Flickr
Photo by: Kenneth Hagemeyer via Flickr

6. Slide Rock State Park

After a day spent trekking the sand and rock of the desert, what could be better than a swimming hole with cool mountain water and an ancient all-natural water slide? Actually it might be good for hangovers too. Oak Creek’s slippery bottom offers a gentle gradient into the red sandstone pool at the bottom. Some prefer jumping directly into it off the small cliffs on shore. The scenery is so spectacular, many movies have been shot there. But at this point until the end of this post, unless specifically stated otherwise, wherever it is in Sedona, it goes without saying the scenery is spectacular. Fodor’s Travel Guide calls Slide Rock a “historical little gem” and the eighth best State Park in the Union out of 8,000. On hot summer days, the lineups can be fearsome so don’t even think about trying the midday rush hour.

Photo by: David via Flickr
Photo by: David via Flickr

5. Verde Valley Wine Trail

Possibly a vacation unto itself. Arizona’s burgeoning wine industry has grown a hundred vineyards and counting, thirty of them along the gorgeous Verde River Valley not far from Sedona. Almost every Old and New World varietal from Albarino to Zinfandel grows there and the awards are piling up. Hilton hotels sources wine from Fire Mountain, a vineyard known for delicious product and for its iconic labels featuring Native art which the majority is owned by Native Americans. Fire Mountain is the traditional native term for the magic hour of evening light that seemingly sets the rocks on fire. There are charming little towns worth visiting like Cottonwood. Alcantara Vineyards has been selected by Martha Stewart Weddings as a romantic place to get hitched. Few things work up a thirst like desert trekking and marriage.

Red Wine Grapes

4. Take a Hike

There is one commodity that might be in short supply in Sedona. Solitude. With its annual influx of three million visitors, some sites at times can be clogged as shopping malls at Christmas. Sedona boasts hundreds of hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty and lengths. To call some of them trails is an overstatement. Seriously is a 0.25 mile trail really a hike? Usain Bolt can run it in 46 seconds. In any case, the less well known, more remote places can be worth their weight in sandstone. Just seventeen miles west of town is Mooney Trail. It doesn’t take you to the Super Sites but it is still ungodly beautiful, descending into Spring Creek Canyon with bald eagles soaring above sheer canyon walls. There is abundant plant and wildlife, and so few people it’s possible to complete the eight mile return trip without seeing another human being. A steep ascent to the ridge of the rim provides exceptional views and a good look at Robber’s Roost which local lore says was once a hideout for bandits and bootleggers. A relaxing, energizing day trip.

Hiking with poles

3. Crescent Moon Picnic Area

The view of Cathedral Rock and its reflection in Oak Creek in the foreground is one of Sedona’s most iconic images and most often splashed on postcards and tourism promotions. And it’s taken from a lovely forested recreation area called Crescent Moon Picnic Area. Aside from the peerless view it has picnic tables, BBQ’s, a short hiking trail up to Cathedral Rock, and another of those rare commodities in Sedona otherwise known as shade. Plus, one of the great selfies the world has to offer. With a bottle of something from your wine tour, one could spend the entire day here sipping, cooking, eating, swimming, and hiking. The late afternoon ‘Fire Mountain’ is unforgettable and makes for the happiest of Happy Hours. A sight to bring a lump to the throat and cause the  soul to soar.

Sedona Arizona

2. The Vortexes

Yes, grammatically it should be ‘vortices’, but Sedona’s locals say otherwise. The town has become a mecca for New Agers of all ages seeking spiritual growth and wellness. It has become a large high-end business with spas offering services like psychic messages that may cleanse your soul and wallet. The more economical holistic way is to hike your way to the Sedona’s four vortexes. Many believe the vortexes are special places that emit subtle forms of positive energy that soothes your Inner Self as an alternative form of healing. There isn’t much scientific proof, but millions absolutely swear by it. If your soul ends up channeling a deep seated need of tacos and prickly pear margaritas, not to worry. You’ve had a healthy hike through breathtaking scenery and trod through what has been called The Spiritual Disneyland.

Sedona, Arizona meditation

1. Montezuma’s Castle and Petroglyphs

This awe-inspiring cliff dwelling is less than an hour south of town. Like an ancient version of the high-rise condo tower, it was built a millennium ago by the Sinagua (without water) people, farmers mostly but also with the engineering expertise to carve a five-story, fifty room pueblo out of a sheer limestone cliff 90 feet above ground. President Teddy Roosevelt designated it a historic site in 1906. It has nothing to do with the Aztec king after whom it was named by European Americans who mistakenly thought he helped build it. The Sinagua have disappeared, but their monument still holds a commanding presence over the valley, proclaiming the legacy and spirit of the people who built it. Rounding out a memorable day the nearby V-Bar-V Heritage site has a huge, miraculously preserved Sinaguan rock art site with over 1300 petroglyphs featuring human, animal and geometric shapes.

Photo by: Greg Clarke via Flickr
Photo by: Greg Clarke via Flickr

Things to See and Do in Arizona

Located in southwestern United States, the state of Arizona is the sixth largest and 15th most populous state in the country. Being one of the four-corner states, it borders on New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California and Mexico. It is most notable for its desert climate with very hot summers and mild winters. The northern half of the state is alive with Pine, Douglas Fir and Spruce forests, mountain ranges and canyons. It has much more mild temperatures in the summer than the southern part and significant snowfall amounts in the winter making it a great place for ski resorts. With such diverse landscape and climate, Arizona is a great destination for your vacation.

12. Big Surf

Located in Tempe, Big Surf is a waterpark that opened in 1969 and is reputed to have had the first wave pool in the United States. The Waikiki Beach Wave Pool was recognized for being “the first inland surfing facility in North America” and became the first waterpark to receive status as an ASME Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Big Surf is the perfect destination for the entire family with the wave pool where you can surf, boogie board or raft. They even have surf boards, boogie boards and rafts on hand for your use. Bora Bora Bay is great for the kids who love to climb but adults must be accompanied by children to enter. The slides are incredible…with Otter Slides, Hurricane Slides, The Black Hole, Tornado Twisters and more. The park even has the Mauna Kea Zip Line which sends you zipping over the wave pool from one side to the other. Thrilling, safe and fun times will be had by all.

Photo by: Big Surf
Photo by: Big Surf

11. Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped portion of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona. A hike of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip off U.S. Route 89 will take you there, but there is also an access road available because it is part of a state park. You can also view the bend from the cliff above.

Venture out to Horseshoe Bend on foot or in your vehicle or you can see it via other means. There are helicopter tours where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the bend from above, showing you the full expanse and beautiful colors of the waters and land below. There is also the Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon Tour where you can be picked up from your hotel in Flagstaff or Sedona, go north to Antelope Canyon after a walk through a slot canyon and then over to Horseshoe Bend for a hike to the rim overlook. Though there is some hiking involved, this trip is suitable for just about anyone.

Horseshoe Bend

10. Bird Cage Theater

Tombstone’s Bird Cage Theater was a theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that operated from 1881 to 1889. The name actually referred to the fourteen cages or boxes that were situated on the two balconies on either side of the main central hall. The boxes were equipped with drapes that could be drawn while the ladies of the brothel entertained their customers. The main hall contained a stage and orchestra pit where live performances took place. It is now a tourist attraction preserving the old west.

It has a reputation for being one of the wildest and wickedest places in Tombstone during its eight year stint in the 1880s where it is said that 26 people were killed there. Over one hundred and twenty bullet holes remain as evidence of the wild and dangerous past of the building. The theater is full of authentic memorabilia from back then with photographs adorning the walls. I would take several days to really see and experience everything housed in this theater.

Bird Cage Theater

9. O.K. Corral

The O.K. Corral is located in Tombstone and was originally a livery and horse corral. Though best known for the infamous ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’, the shootout actually took place in a lot six door west of the rear entrance to the corral. The 1957 movie, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was responsible for making this particular shootout a classic movie moment engrained in the public’s memories.

The actual gunfight at the O.K. Corral lasted only about 30 seconds between outlaw cowboys and lawmen and is touted as the most famous gunfight in the history of the American Wild West. It was the result of a long-time feud involving Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury and the opposing lawmen of the town – Marshall Virgil Earp, Assistant Town Marshall Morgan Earp and temporary deputy Marshalls Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. Though Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne walked away unharmed, Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers were not so fortunate and were killed. Virgil, Morgan and Doc Holiday were injured but Wyatt Earp walked away unscathed. You can experience this famous gunfight with entertaining re-enactments in an Old West setting.

Atomazul /
Atomazul /

8. Reid Park Zoo

The Reid Park Zoo is a 24 acre (97 hectare) non-profit city-owned zoo located in Tucson. With over 500 animals it consists of four zones organized by habitats and the animals housed there. The Adaptation Zone houses animals including grizzly bears and the Aldabra giant tortoise, the South America Zone houses animals like the jaguar and spectacled bear, the Asian Zone houses such animals as tigers and Malayan sun bear and the African Animals Zone is home to animals such as lions and giraffes. An expansion to the African Animals Zone is Expedition Tanzania which houses a herd of 6 African elephants. Flight Connection is a large aviary which serves as home to dozens of bird species from Australia, Africa and Asia.

The Zoo hosts summer camps, free workshops for teachers and even hosts a tour of South Africa. This very interactive Zoo is not only fun but also educational and exciting because of the many programs and activities always going on.


7. Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon, often referred to as the little cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its breathtaking scenery, is a river gorge located between Flagstaff and Sedona. You can enter the canyon via many hairpin turns on Route 89A and continue down until it reaches the bottom in Sedona. It’s about 12 miles (19 km) long, ranges in width from about 0.8 to 2.5 miles (1.3 to 4.0 km) and ranges in depth from 800 to 2,000 feet (240 to 610 m). Oak Creek runs through the bottom of the canyon.

Touted as one of the top 5 most scenic drives in America, the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive is about 14 miles (22.5 km) long. You can ascend the canyon from Sedona or descend from Flagstaff since either route is equally beautiful. The red-faced cliffs, massive oak trees and evergreen pine trees make for a stunning vibrant panorama. A popular stop along the drive is Slide Rock where you can enjoy some aquatic recreation. Passengers have the advantage during the drive, since the driver’s full attention is needed for the hairpin turns, but there are many places to pull off and enjoy the view along the way.

Oak Creek Canyon

6. Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam, formerly known as Boulder Dam, is located on the Colorado River between the borders of Arizona and Nevada. Constructed during the great depression, the dam was built at the cost of over one hundred lives. The concrete arch-gravity dam holds back Lake Mead and produces hydroelectric power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona and California.

The view from the dam is awe-inspiring and no trip to Arizona would be complete without stopping there. Even if you have time constraints, driving over the dam just to experience its massive size and amazing view is well worth the trip. There are many viewpoints around the dam too where you can just stop for a few moments to take it all in and snap some pictures. If you have more time, there are power plant tours which offer presentations and exhibits on how the dam operates and will allow you to see some of the lesser known areas of the dam. There are many accommodations close to the dam including hotels and campgrounds if you want to stay in the area a little longer.

Hoover Dam

5. Phoenix Zoo

Opened in 1962, the Phoenix Zoo is a privately owned non-profit zoo and has been designated a Phoenix Point of Pride. There are over 1,400 animals who call the zoo home and has 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of walking trails. The trails are divided into four distinct theme areas: The Arizona Trail, the Africa Trail, the Tropics Trail and the Children’s Trail.

The Arizona Trail features the wildlife and plants native to the state of Arizona which include coyotes, the collared peccary, mountain lion and bobcat to name a few, as well as plants including the saguaro cactus. The Africa Trail showcases animals like African wild dogs, mandrills, ostriches, white rhinos, meerkats, giraffes, African lions, Sumatran tigers and more. The Tropics Trail has two parts with the inner trail following the lake and home to Tropical Flights aviary as well as ring-tailed lemurs, and Monkey Village. The outer trail runs by the Land of the Dragons exhibit, Asian elephants, anteaters and many different kinds of tropical birds. The Children’s Trail features a petting zoo at the Harmony Farm and lets children get up close and personal with small mammals from around the world.


4. River Rafting

If you are the adventuresome type, there are opportunities for river rafting all over the state of Arizona. The natural beauty and rivers all over this state are abundant just about everywhere you go. You can go to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Flagstaff or Marble Canyon for rafting adventure with one of the many river rafting adventure companies.

You can contact Arizona River Runners for a Grand Canyon adventure of a lifetime. You will see the soaring canyon walls, Indian ruins, wildlife and of course the amazing white water guided by knowledgeable professionals. Salt River Rafting runs guided white water rafting trips through Salt River Canyon and is family-friendly…a safe and fun adventure for everyone. You can take half-day, one-day or multi-day and camp-out raft trips which include wetsuits and great guides. Arizona Raft Adventures specialize in 6 to 16 day raft trips through the Grand Canyon if you are a die-hard rafter. No matter what your skill/fear level, the professionals can assure that you enjoy a safe and amazing experience.

rafting grand canyon

3. Saguaro National Park

The Saguaro National Park is divided in two districts with Rincon Mountain District lying approximately 20 miles (32 km) east and the Tucson Mountain District lying 15 miles (24 km) west of the center of Tucson, Arizona. There are two visitors’ centers, one in each district and are both easily accessible by car but there is no public transportation available into the park. The name Saguaro comes from the name of a cactus native to the area though there are many other kinds of cacti abundant in the park as well.

In 1933 the Saguaro National Monument was erected. If you travel in the heat of summer, you can find some great deals at local resorts but in the winter months when the weather is milder, prices tend to rise significantly. The park has some amazing trails like the narrow, rocky and steep Tanque Verde Ridge Trail in the east district featuring a spectacular view of the Tucson Basin and King Canyon Trail in the west which leads to the summit of Wasson Peak, the highest point in the park.

Saguaro National Park

2. Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140 acres (57 hectares) botanical garden in Phoenix, Arizona. The garden houses more than 21,000 plants, of which one third is native to the area and 139 are endangered or threatened and very rare. It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride.

You can tour the Botanical Gardens independently on their scenic trails or take a tour and join in on some of the special family-friendly activities hosted there. There is an Ask a Gardener held on weekends where you can get hints and advice from professionals for your own garden. The Garden Flashlight Tours are Thursday and Saturday evening events where you get to see, hear and feel the desert night. It’s a self-paced tour and perfect for all ages. Other activities include Garden Discovery Stations, Talks in the Garden, Birds in the Garden, audio tours and activities specially designed for children. The Music in the Garden Concert Series is held from October to June and allows you to stroll through the garden to the Ullman Terrace where you can sit and listen to the Valley’s premier musicians.

Sue Stokes /
Sue Stokes /

1. Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. The central feature consists of the Grand Canyon and is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The park covers 1,217,262 acres (492,608 hectares) in two counties. Though the landmark was well known long before, it wasn’t declared a National Park until 1919.

You can visit the South Rim which has close to two dozen vantage points giving you the most common views over the canyon as seen on TV and movies. Grand Canyon West is a little harder to get to so requires some prior planning but is well worth the effort with its three blue-green waterfalls. Grand Canyon East is home to two of the canyon’s hidden treasures, the Little Colorado River Tribal Park and Horseshoe Bend where you can have your photo taken with the Colorado River in the background and The North Rim, though part of the same canyon, feels like a totally different area where you can hear the echoes of canyon wren in the peace and tranquility all around you.

Grand Canyon South Rim

12 Things to See and Do in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona, doesn’t usually rank very high on most people’s list of “Places to Visit Before I Die.” Despite being the most populous state capital in the U.S., the desert metropolis is continually passed over for destinations like New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In fact, many people would likely scoff if someone suggested Phoenix as a great destination for their next vacation.

Phoenix is as good a vacation locale as any, though—and possibly better than some. With a subtropical desert climate, the weather is almost always good in the Valley of the Sun and Phoenix serves as a jumping-off point to most other attractions in the area, including the Grand Canyon. Not only that, but Phoenix deftly mixes its Old West heritage with modern cosmopolitan fare, making it a true oasis of culture in the American west. There’s no shortage of things to see and do in the city; here are just 12 of the activities that Phoenix has to offer.

12. Golf

Heading out to find lush greens in the middle of the Sonoran Desert might seem a little crazy at first, until you realize that playing golf might very well be the most stereotypical thing to do in Phoenix, as plenty of travelers from the northern latitudes head south to hit the greens during the winter months.

Despite its arid climate, Phoenix is home to over 200 golf courses, though, which means you have your pick of greens. Whether you prefer a secluded desert canyon or a ritzy resort-owned golf course, Phoenix has many to choose from. As a host city for various LPGA and PGA tournaments, Phoenix also boasts championship courses that will challenge even seasoned golfers. If you’re up for it, head over to TPC Scottsdale and try out the Stadium Course, which was designed by Jay Moorish and Tom Weiskopf for the PGA Tour’s largest and most popular event, the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open, held in February each year.

Golfing Phoenix

11. Visit Camelback Mountain

Phoenix’s climate might be hot and dry, but the desert is also home to gorgeous mountain vistas. One of the more popular areas is Camelback Mountain, a peak rising 2,704 feet above sea level. Camelback is part of Echo Canyon Recreation Area, and 2 trails will take you to the summit of Camelback. The climb rises about 1,200 feet and is popular with intermediate-to-advanced athletes. Particularly popular with hikers is the 1.4 mile long Cholla Trail, as is mountain biking in the area. The Echo Canyon Trail is slightly shorter, at 1.14 miles. Both hikes have steep grades and are considered strenuous. Also popular is rock climbing; the 100-foot tall Praying Monk formation is one of the better-known attractions for climbers.

Camelback can get quite busy, especially during peak season in April; luckily, there are alternatives in the Echo Canyon Recreation Area, including the North and South Mountains. All provide wonderful views of the Sonoran Desert. Need some post-hike fuel? Stop off at El Chorro Lodge at the mountain’s base for a bite to eat.

Camelback Mountain Phoenix

10. Try Authentic Mexican Cuisine

For many of us, Mexican cuisine starts and ends with something out of a box or a meal at a big chain restaurant. Some of us might not even be aware that some of our favorite dishes aren’t really Mexican. In Phoenix, you don’t need to search far and wide to get a taste of authenticity with your meal. For those who maybe aren’t quite as adventurous—or have many palettes to please—fusion restaurants are abundant, with blends of Spanish, Mexican and American cuisines ready to serve up.

Many restaurants, like Mi Amigo’s in downtown Phoenix, are owned and operated by families with Mexican roots. Some of them, like Aunt Chilada’s, are institutions that have been in the city for ages. Serving up enchiladas, tamales, fajitas, chimchangas and tacos, Mi Amigo’s is popular with locals. Aunt Chilada’s is located in a converted 19th-century building, which gives the restaurant a hacienda feel. Both offer fiesta fare on important Mexican holidays and both have happy hour.


9. Visit the Heard Museum

The Heard Museum, which was founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard, houses a large collection of Native American artifacts and art. The Heard has over 40,000 items, and not only is it a historic museum, it’s a living museum. It showcases contemporary Native cultures and art, as well as historical pieces, such as the Barry Goldwater Collection of 437 Hopi kachina dolls. The Heard is internationally recognized for the quality of its collections, including its library and archives.

The museum sponsors festivals and competitions as part of its mandate to educate the public about the heritage, arts and cultures of Native Americans, with a particular focus on the Southwest tribes, such as the Hopi and the Zuni, whose descendants still live in the area and keep their culture alive. One such event is the annual Holidays at the Heard celebration, which allows visitors to enjoy Native American music and dancing via live performances. The museum’s exhibits often have hands-on components, which make them kid-friendly.

Heard Museum Phoenix

8. Check out the Architecture

This might come as a surprise to some, but Phoenix has long hosted a community of architects, which means that Phoenix is home to some unique and beautiful buildings. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright lived in Phoenix, building Taliesen West, his winter home, along with the main campus for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and the Gammage Auditorium in nearby Tempe, which was the last public building he designed.

Other architects who have left their mark on Phoenix include Al N. Beadle and Will Bruder. Bruder has designed many public buildings, including the Agave Library and the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, his largest work to date. Beadle is most famous for the Case Study Apartment #1, a 3-unit building in downtown Phoenix that is now known as the Triad. Beadle’s work shows influence from modernists such as Mies van der Rohe and Richard Neutra. A number of renowned architectural firms are headquartered in and around Phoenix.

Photo by: Ellen Forsyth
Photo by: Ellen Forsyth

7. Visit Papago Park

Papago Park in east Phoenix is home to some of Phoenix’s greatest attractions. First up, there’s the Desert Botanical Gardens, inaugurated in 1939, and one of the few gardens dedicated to desert plants in the U.S. It has 21,000 plants, with an especially rich collection of agave and cacti. The garden houses plants from various types of ecosystems around the world, including Australia, South America and Baja California in Mexico.

Nearby is the famed Phoenix Zoo, the largest privately owned non-profit zoo in America. The zoo is home to 1,400 animals and has a special focus on conservation, stemming from its contribution to Operation Oryx, which reintroduced the Arabian oryx into the wild. There are also several golf courses and the Hole-in-the-Rock formation, a small sandstone hill that has been eroded over time and now has several openings in its face. The hill had significance for the Hohokam people as they used the sunlight shining through the openings to mark equinoxes and solstices. A smooth path climbs up to the openings and the main chamber, which will provide a scenic view of Phoenix to the west.

Sue Stokes /
Sue Stokes /

6. View the Her Secret Is Patience Sculpture

Although people were skeptical when this art installation first opened in 2009, artist Janet Echelman’s sculpture has since become a source of pride for the city of Phoenix. The 100-foot high sculpture, which is made of netting and suspended 38 feet above Civic Space Park in the downtown, was meant to resemble a cumulus cloud formation. In the daytime, it casts shadows and sways with the wind, creating “shadow drawings” and at night, hundreds of multi-colored lights illuminate the netting, casting a glow that changes hues with the season.

The sculpture is part and parcel of Phoenix’s growing art scene, much of which has been centered in the downtown area in the past decade. Although the art scene in Phoenix has traditionally been small and is often dwarfed compared to other U.S. cities, the city’s successful launch of First Friday events, organized by Artlink and several galleries (including the Phoenix Art Museum), have helped reinvigorate the arts scene in Phoenix.

Photo by: stuinaz
Photo by: stuinaz

5. Get Cultured!

Phoenix has an array of arts and culture houses, so whether you fancy the opera, the ballet or a play, Phoenix has you covered. Both the Phoenix Opera and the Arizona Opera have shows in the city, with the Arizona Opera even offering intimate performances. Ballet Arizona regularly performs at 3 different theaters. At the Herberger Theater Center, you’ll find the Arizona Theatre Company and the Centre Dance Ensemble, along with Valley Youth Theatre and Actors Theater. The Phoenix Symphony Hall is home to the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, and also hosts performances by Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona. Smaller theaters, such as the Crescent Ballroom, Modified Arts and the Celebrity Theatre also have regular theater and musical performances, usually by independents.

For more contemporary culture, concerts are abundant, with several venues of varying size: from the gigantic arena venues, such as the US Airways Center, to the smaller, independent clubs.

Photo by: Nick Bastian
Photo by: Nick Bastian

4. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum is a relative newcomer to the Phoenix landscape, opening its doors in 2010. With a mess of other museums to compete with in Phoenix, the museum might have had its work cut out for it if it wasn’t for a secret weapon: the largest collection of musical instruments in the world. It houses over 15,000 instruments and artifacts from over 200 countries, often divided into subsections for different types of ethnic and tribal music from various nations and cultures. Each exhibit has a video component, which shows local musicians performing on native instruments. Visitors can listen via wireless headphones.

Another great attraction at the museum is the Artist Gallery, which houses paraphernalia such as photographs and instruments associated with musical icons and innovators, including John Lennon and Elvis Presley. The MIM also has a concert theater with seating for approximately 300 people and has hosted musicians such as Jordin Sparks and Lyle Lovett. The Experience Gallery allows guests to interact with various musical instruments.

Photo by: MIM
Photo by: MIM

3. Root for the Home Team

All of them, to be exact. There are only 12 cities in the U.S. that are home to a franchise from all of the 4 major professional leagues and Phoenix is one of those cities. Whether you’re a basketball fan (the NBA’s Suns and the WNBA’s Mercury), a football fanatic (the NFL’s Cardinals), a baseball aficionado (the MLB’s Diamondbacks) or a hockey enthusiast (the NHL’s Coyotes), it’s more than likely that you’ll find a game that piques your interest, whether you’re watching from the arena or from one of Phoenix’s bars or lounges. Phoenix is also home to the Phoenix International Raceway, a 1.5 mile-course that hosts motorsports events, including 2 annual NASCAR races, as well as events from IndyCar and other organizations. The MLB’s Cactus League, 1 of 2 spring training leagues, is centered entirely in and around Phoenix.

There are also semi-pro sports, including the Arizona Scorpions of the ABA, a roller-derby league, an arena football team, a soccer team, and Arizona State University’s Sun Devils athletics programs.

Mark Skalny /
Mark Skalny /

2. Hit a Casino

We probably shouldn’t endorse gambling, but for any high-rollers reading this article, you should know that Vegas isn’t the only American desert city with world-class casinos. With 8 gaming venues in the area, you definitely don’t need to leave the Valley to experience some of the glitz and glamor that Vegas has become renowned for.

When the sun goes down and the stars dot the desert sky, make tracks to Talking Stick Resort’s Orange Sky restaurant before hitting the casino floor. With blackjack, poker, slots and more, may the odds be ever in your favor here. Feeling lucky? Strike out for the AAA four-diamond Fort McDowell Resort & Casino, tucked away in a scenic desert landscape between Phoenix and Scottsdale. This venue boasts true Las Vegas-style gaming, with 850 machines, 20 blackjack tables and 27 poker tables. If you’re in it for the long haul, Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino and its 2 sister properties, Lone Butte and Vie Quiva casinos, will keep you rollin’ all night long.

Casino gaming

1. Relax at a Desert Spa

Sure, you might be able to relax at a spa just about anywhere in the world, but Phoenix brings the world to you. The Joya Spa offers up an authentic Moroccan spa experience, including a Hammam, while the Alvadora Spa takes its cues from the luxury of old world Europe.

For something truly unique though, you’ll want to take a trip to one of the spas that are inspired by the Arizona landscape and desert clime itself. The Willow Stream Spa draws its inspiration from the blue waters of the Grand Canyon’s Havasupai Falls. At the Agave Spa in the Westin Kierland Resort, you’ll find any number of luxurious spa treatments incorporating the spa’s namesake plant. The Aji Spa, located at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, draws on the rituals and traditions of Arizona’s Native American peoples to create their spa treatments, such as the Pima Medicine Massage. Many of the spa’s treatments use locally sourced ingredients, such as red clay from the Gila River and Cholla cactus bud.

Photo by: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
Photo by: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

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.