Good old fashioned Southern hospitality, charm and big smiles from locals will welcome you to 'Music City', otherwise known as Nashville. A place of pilgrimage for country music enthusiasts, Nashville has been attracting musicians, song writers as well as starlets since the 1920's and whilst country music wasn't born here, this city is certainly responsible for the evolution and popularity of the genre we know and love. The careers of some of the biggest names in the music industry started right here in the basement studios of Music Row or on stage at the famous Grand Ole Opry, and you'll notice this legacy is apparent all across town. Settle into your hotel and meet up with your Travel Director this afternoon, then retire to your room to enjoy a relaxing evening at your leisure.
Get your bearings this morning on a tour that will take you to Riverfront Park, Tennessee State Capitol and the 132 acre Centennial State Park, where you'll be transported straight to Athens as you admire the Parthenon, a jaw-dropping exact replica of the original. Icons visited, you'll then delve into the incredible musical history of the city with a visit to Music Row, stopping off at Studio B where industry legends like Dolly Parton and the Everly Brothers have all recorded albums. No Nashville musical tour would be complete without a snoop around the Country Music Hall of Fame, which traces the history of country music and proudly displays priceless memorabilia from Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn. Scout out the tastiest hot chicken and biscuits on your own this afternoon, then this evening you're off to the Grand Ole Opry to listen to a live recording of America's longest running live radio program.
Ready to continue your country music education today? If so there's no better place to head to than the Ryman Auditorium, where you can take a self-guided tour and watch music magic come to life through the 'Soul of Nashville' theatre Optional Experience. Jonny Cash fans will likely make a beeline to the museum that delves into the personal story of one of the best-selling music artists of all time, while those interested in the history of the South could opt for a visit to the Belle Meade Plantation. Here you’ll get an in-depth look into the history of the 1853 Greek Revival mansion, its grounds, and the lives of the people who once lived there, leaving you with an understanding of historical life in the South through the eyes of one of the plantations expert guides. Back in Nashville, the night is young! If you’re feeling in the mood, get out into the action and experience a good old-fashioned honky tonk under the neon lights of Lower Broadway!
From one music obsessed city to another, you'll leave Nashville this morning and travel to Memphis. Home to "The King" who needs little introduction, music is the life blood of this toe tapping city with bluesy Beale St. a fine example of this. Arriving here you'll dive straight in with an orientation tour viewing the impressive Memphis Pyramid and the historic Peabody Hotel. Next, see the Lorraine Motel, perhaps the most significant place of the entire civil rights movement, the very place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. With an evening free, you might want to check out our Optional Experiences. You could visit the Rock N' Soul Museum, which displays wonderfully curated exhibits telling the story of the birth of rock and soul music and groove on over to Beale Street for dinner at a lively joint that serves up Southern treats accompanied by live music, naturally.
Prepare to start your morning with a taste of the local Memphis cuisine that is sure to have your mouth watering. We hope you didn't peak too soon on last night's dinner, because this morning's Iconic Breakfast is Southern food, served with the same hospitality you'll find all throughout this charming city. You'll likely find yourself rolling out of the classic 'greasy spoon' restaurant, full of good eats and ready for all the excitement your next stop has to offer. Today will be a special one for Elvis fans as you have the chance to make the pilgrimage to Graceland. Later, arrive at Sun Studio, where Elvis was first discovered back in 1954 and where you'll experience the legacy left behind by the 'King of Rock n' Roll' himself.
It's your final day in Memphis today so be sure to make the most of it before bidding a fond farewell to the Home of the Blues. You’ll find it hard to pass up today’s Optional Experience, a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum. This museum is a complex of two historic buildings and houses extensive cultural exhibits that trace five centuries of history, including the Civil Rights Movement which will leave you nothing less than inspired by those that fought tirelessly for equality at this fascinating tribute and in-depth into American history and its troubled past.
Follow the path of the famous Natchez Trace today. Under the guidance of your passionate Travel Director, you’ll soon understand how, and why, this important thoroughfare was originally established as a footpath by Native Americans and was later used by explorers, traders and travelers, including the Ohio River Valley boatmen who were known as 'kaintucks'. We’ll arrive on the banks of the Mississippi as we pull into Natchez, where the unique architecture of the South could be further brought to life as you explore the antebellum homes that are scattered here on our Optional Experience. These large and elegant mansions were originally built as plantation homes and remained untouched throughout the plight of the South. If you feel like taking a closer look, you’ll have the chance to visit perhaps the finest standing example of an Antebellum Classical Revival mansion. The grand and palatial Stanton Hall offers a glimpse into the life of a wealthy cotton merchant.
Heading south today, travel over the world's longest overwater bridge as you journey towards 'The Big Easy'. Famed for its Mardi Gras celebrations and diverse culture, everything in New Orleans is a little larger than life. The weddings are bigger, the funerals are louder, the food is richer, and every single day is a cause for celebration. Meeting up with a Local Specialist on arrival you'll head out on a city tour. You'll also visit one of the city's many unique cemeteries, taking a peek around the elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums. Tonight, we recommend you sample some good old fashioned Creole cooking, and in our opinion there's only one place to go for the best food in town - the New Orleans institution, Dooky Chase.
Waking up with an extra NOLA induced spring in your step, today is entirely free for you to explore and perhaps try an Optional Experience. For those that are ready to get right into it, there’s no chance you’ll miss joining our Optional Experience this morning. Hit the streets on a locally led walking tour of the lively and ever so beautiful French Quarter, learning the history of this charming neighborhood before finishing off at the iconic Court of Two Sisters restaurant for their famous Creole inspired Jazz Brunch. With the rest of the day ahead of you, there’s no shortage of ways to spend your time. Head back to the cute cafes and decadent mansions of the Garden District, have your fortune told in Jackson Square or eat your way around the many incredible restaurants and café’s that dot around the city as you refuel from your adventures. If the swamps and bayous of the Mississippi are on your list, there’s the option to get out on the water with a boat trip through the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Led by a local guide who’ll share their in-depth knowledge of the region they’ll keep a keen eye out so you can, spot 'gators, eagles, snakes and egrets as you cruise these wild wetlands on this afternoon adventure.
It's your final full day in NOLA and the final day of your trip, so make sure you go out in style. Why not join an Optional Experience cooking demonstration to learn how you can recreate some of the city's tastiest dishes once you return home. The classes at The New Orleans School of Cooking are hosted by local chefs who share tips and stories, plus there are plenty of samples to keep appetites at bay. Jazz fans can opt into a Jazz Dinner Cruise on the Mississippi River, accompanied by the songs originally played by the Grammy nominated band Dukes of Dixieland.
With the bluesy beats of Beale Street and the smiles of Nashville still fresh in your mind, your trip will come to an end today. Delicious Southern food still fresh in your thoughts and undoubtedly richer in memories, you'll say goodbye to your new friends as you head your separate ways. If you can't bear to leave NOLA just yet, you can also choose to extend your stay at the La Quinta New Orleans Downtown.