Rhythms of the River Minneapolis to New Orleans
- 10 Days
- 10 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 1,500
MODERATE | SELF DRIVE: A trip along a fascinating route down south to New Orleans, full of fabulous landscapes, wonderful local culinary experiences, and plenty of history. But it’s the final layer that makes this trip very special: music. Prince and Elvis figure in Minneapolis and Memphis, respectively, while Nashville and New Orleans are, naturally, prominently featured. But it’s places like Clarksdale, Cleveland, and Natchez along the Mississippi Blues Trail, that will strike a special chord.
This 10-day journey along the Mississippi River takes the adventurer into the centre of America’s musical soul.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, be sure to don some neon and explore the city where Prince’s Purple Rain was recorded; visit his recording studio, a must-see tribute to the artist and see how many Prince street murals you can find. Extend your stay in Minneapolis and head to Duluth to immerse yourself in the world of Noble Prize-winning singer and songwriter, Bob Dylan, at his boyhood home in Hibbing. Stretch your legs along walkable Bob Dylan Way before exploring the Armory Arts & Music Centre.
Expand your horizons over Grandad Bluff along Great River Road and spot three States before discovering the ins and outs of historic Prairie du Chien, a scenic French settlement where you can pose by bronze statues which tell a story of the region in the Mississippi River Sculpture Park or catch the Prairie Dog Blues Festival. Live music fills the air from Iowa’s oldest city, Dubuque and in Hannibal, Missouri where Mark Twain immortalized the Mississippi River, you can play Tom Sawyer and hop on a riverboat for a sunset dinner.
St. Louis may be where the west was expanded during the days of Thomas Jefferson, but today it is a thriving musical wonderland where a trip to the Loop will satisfy all live music tastes and the Beale on Broadway where Chuck Berry played has the Blues, Soul or R&B you crave.
Country is synonymous with Nashville and a grand time the Grand Ole Opry is guaranteed before making your way back along the Great River Road to Memphis and Sun Studio where Elvis crooned, and B.B. King jammed. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music will stir yours and an evening stroll along lively Beale Street where live music thrives will fill you up almost as well as a hearty southern BBQ. The city of Clarksdale, Mississippi and the Delta region is where Blues were born so a trip to The Delta Blues Museum in Cleveland will give you a history of the African American cotton workers who invented this emotive music genre. Multi-coloured antebellum estates and plantations chalked full of history in Natchez and Baton Rouge tell the complete story of the South before journeying to vibrant New Orleans where music, magic (voodoo) and Mardi-Gras set the stage for a perfect send off.
- 10 Days
- 10 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 1,500
Itinerary View Trip Map
Arrive at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival you might have time to explore a little bit of the city. If you like the music of Prince, check out First Avenue, a former Greyhound Bus depot, and now the hub of the city's live music scene (Prince performed here on a regularly basis) while Paisley Park, his main recording studio and residence, offers daily tours.
Minneapolis - Dubuque
Follow the Great River Road to La Crosse, Wisconsin and enjoy majestic views at Grandad Bluff, with its impressive bluff overlooking the Mississippi River Valley offering sweeping views that include Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Enjoy historic and beautiful Prairie du Chien, the second-oldest community in Wisconsin and home to the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in late July. Cross the river to visit Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa, located in one of the most picturesque sections of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, and preserving more than 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans. Travellers will enjoy seeing the mounds, many of which take the form of birds and bears. Continue to Dubuque, Iowa's oldest city, to see how the community has remade its Mississippi Riverwalk area into a lively destination. Experience The Smithsonian-affiliated National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium and, in summer, hear live music at the riverside amphitheater.
Dubuque - Hannibal
Today, continue south to Hannibal, Missouri and discover a historic river town where famous American writer Mark Twain spent his youth. First, explore the world-famous Mark Twain Cave and The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, then catch a show, take a ghost tour, and admire unique art galleries. Embark on a riverboat dinner cruise and experience the mighty Mississippi, just as Twain did.
Hannibal - St. Louis
A two-hour drive takes you to St. Louis, home of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the USA. It commemorates Thomas Jefferson's vision and St. Louis' role in the westward expansion of the United States. St. Louis is also renowned for its diverse music scene. Visit the Soulard neighborhood for stellar live music, enjoy a delicious meal and music at a trendy suburban bistro, or spend an evening exploring the Loop, with its music clubs, ethnic restaurants, and unique boutiques. Take time to visit Blueberry Hill (where Chuck Berry played regularly) or The Beale on Broadway to see live Blues, Soul and R&B, and do not miss the National Blues Museum. It was also the childhood home of famous entertainer Josephine Baker.
Overnight St. Louis
St. Louis - Nashville
No music tour would be complete without a visit to Nashville, Tennessee, to many the real home of Country music. At the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, recordings, touch screens and memorabilia trace Country music from its roots to the present. The museum also offers tours of RCA Studio B, where artists such as Dolly Parton recorded songs. The Grand Ole Opry is the place to see today's Country music stars perform. For a variety of genres, catch a concert at the Ryman Auditorium, the historic church building that was once the home of the Opry. Nearby, new art flows regularly into the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (its Art Deco architecture is worth a stop for its own sake). Hungry? Find a meat-and-three restaurant, where you'll select one meat and three side dishes from a list of homespun choices (try golden-fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, corn, and collard greens accented with pork).
Nashville - Memphis
Head back to the Great River Road and the Mississippi River toward Memphis, Tennessee. In this pilgrimage city for music-lovers, tour Sun Studio to stand where Blues and Rock legends such as B.B. King and Elvis Presley recorded some of their earliest hits. For an intimate look at Presley's life, tour his Graceland estate. At the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the rhythm shifts to Soul and Gospel. View memorabilia from Stax artists including Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes, whose gold-plated Cadillac is on display. For a sampling of Memphis' contemporary sounds, walk Beale Street, where live music seems to drift from every open door. The aroma of barbecue fills the air, too. Savour local specialties that include dry-rubbed ribs and smoked pulled-pork sandwiches.
Memphis - Cleveland
Follow the Mississippi Blues Trail to Clarksdale, Mississippi, located at the intersection of highways 61 and 49 ('the crossroads'). Clarksdale and the surrounding Delta region are known as 'the land where the blues began', making this the perfect home to the Delta Blues Museum. Continue south to Cleveland, Mississippi, home to Dockery Farms, which was established in 1895 to produce cotton. Charley Patton, considered to be the ‘Father of the Delta Blues’, was among the African Americans who worked here; he later created a formidable body of recordings that inspired numerous other blues musicians in the area. Being somewhat of an elder statesman he mentored among others Son House, Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf.
Cleveland - Natchez
Your first stop today should be at Indianola, Mississippi where you can visit the B.B. King Museum to learn about the map who helped popularize the Blues as a truly American art form. Join the Natchez Trace Parkway as you continue your journey to Natchez, Mississippi, the oldest settlement in Mississippi. Bygone plantations and restored antebellum mansions can be found all along your route and we recommend that you take time to explore some of these incredible homes that tell the stories of the South.
Natchez - New Orleans
The last leg of your road trip takes you to into Louisiana to New Orleans, where the mighty Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, make a stop in Baton Rouge, the state’s capital city and the hub of all things Louisiana. Baton Rouge is the perfect place to explore the eclectic culture of this amazing state. The city has more than 300 years of history, much of which can be seen in distinct architecture, tasted in delectable food, and learned through its unique culture. After visiting Baton Rouge, head to New Orleans. With its centuries-old cottages and elaborate, historic cemeteries, the city is a photographer's delight. Guided tours are an ideal way to learn about this special place. Join a stroll through the historic French Quarter or take a tour of New Orleans' cemeteries, to better understand voodoo and ghost lore. New Orleans is, of course, also a musical city of prime importance. At Preservation Hall, a rotating lineup of fabulous musicians plays traditional New Orleans Jazz in the most intimate, acoustic environment. Queue up early for standing-room-only space or plan to purchase one of the venue's limited seats. Elsewhere in the city, Frenchmen Street is a hub for live music, lined with venues such as The Spotted Cat Music Club. The cozy room packs as many as three bands nightly, spotlighting various forms of Jazz. Cuisine and the cocktail culture are vital to the New Orleans experience, too. From open-air cafes to fine-dining restaurants, you'll find countless interpretations of local signature dishes, such as sugar-dusted beignets, aromatic jambalaya and spiced, smoked Andouille sausage. Home to Jazz fest, Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, a visit to New Orleans is the perfect way to finish your journey.
Overnight New Orleans
Enjoy your last day in New Orleans before making your way to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for your flight home unless you plan to extend your stay in the area.
Daily departures: October 1, 2022 - March 31, 2024
- 10 days Intermediate Car Rental with unlimited mileage (Mazda 3 or similar)
- Detailed day by day itinerary
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Bloomington
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Dubuque
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Hannibal
- 1 night moderate accommodations in St. Louis
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Nashville
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Memphis
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Indianola
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Natchez
- 1 night moderate accommodations in New Orleans
- Car rental insurance
- Travel insurance
- International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
- Entrances fees to sites not explicitly listed as included
- Meals and beverages not mentioned
- Road tolls
- Items of a personal nature
- Visa fees if applicable
- Optional visit Paisley Park, Prince’s recording studio and residence, now offering daily tours where visitors can see his iconic outfits, awards, and other memorabilia.
- Take time to visit Blueberry Hill (where Chuck Berry played regularly) or The Beale on Broadway to see live Blues, Soul and R&B, and do not miss the National Blues Museum All optional).
- Experience The Smithsonian-affiliated National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium and, in summer, hear live music at the riverside amphitheater (all optional).
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request. Additional terms and conditions apply for car rental - please inquire.
1 Oct 2023