Dancing, dining and other delights in Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans
When it comes to road trips, it’s hard to beat the diverse offerings of the South. From the country, blues and rock tunes drifting through the streets of Nashville, to the world-class attractions of Atlanta and the tasty libations in New Orleans, this trio of destinations offers a wealth of adventure for all five senses of taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing.
After arriving at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, you’ll want to stretch your legs in “The City in a Forest,” a nickname Atlanta earned because of its tree canopy. Smell the fresh air and start the day with outdoor play at Piedmont Park, which has more than 81 hectares of lawns, lakes, jogging paths and playgrounds.
Continue on to the Georgia Aquarium, and see more than 100,000 creatures from 500 species swimming, diving and soaring. Walk next door to the World of Coca-Cola to learn about one of the world’s favorite beverages and watch the ‘Search for the Secret Formula’ inside the multisensory 4-D theater. Walk, jog or stroll through Centennial Olympic Park, built for the 1996 Olympic Games, where free concerts and festivals take place throughout the year and you can splash in the Fountain of Rings, a synchronized water and music attraction. Newshounds won’t want to miss listening to tour guides tell how live news is broadcast at the world headquarters of CNN.
Feel the power of the past by heading to the Sweet Auburn District to walk the same streets that Martin Luther King, Jr. roamed as a child; see King’s birth home, visit the King Center for Non-Violent Social Change and see the reverend’s final resting place. Hear live music during a stop at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, a local institution where the aroma of Southern fare wafts through the building. You can’t leave Atlanta without visiting the Buckhead neighborhood and touching fine merchandise in more than 200 upscale stores in Lenox Square.
On the drive to Nashville, tune your radio during to a variety of stations and prime yourself for your experience in Music City. Make a beeline downtown to check out RCA Studio B, where legends like Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson recorded famous hits. The Johnny Cash Museum was voted by both Forbes and National Geographic as a can’t-miss destination. Walk the Music City Walk of Fame, the Music Mile connecting Downtown to Music Row to touch sidewalk stars honoring famous musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Vince Gill and Wynonna Judd. Next, head to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum to hear rare recordings of country’s legendary performers and see the collection of instruments and costumes.
A Nashville visit isn’t complete without a stop at the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest running live radio show. Add a treat for your sense of taste by rounding out your visit at B.B. King’s Blues Club, where you can drink, eat, dance and enjoy live music with a soulful sound. Before you leave town for New Orleans, buy yourself a pair of authentic cowboy boots to serve as a reminder of your time in Music City.
After driving from Nashville, you’ll be rewarded in New Orleans with great food, festive music and fun. Enjoy the sights on a walking tour through two of New Orleans’ most distinctive neighborhoods, the rollicking French Quarter and the elegant Garden District. At lunchtime, get ready to taste a flavorful fried oyster po’ boy or a belly-busting muffuletta. Follow up with a sweet, buttery pecan praline.
Hear the city sounds as you ride the Saint Charles Avenue streetcar, the oldest continuously operating one in the world, and take in views of stately mansions, towering live oaks, Tulane University and the Audubon Zoo. At night, sip on a hurricane, a rum-based favorite, and wander the Quarter, listening to wandering street musicians, or stopping by landmarks such as Preservation Hall for live jazz music. For the bravest souls, there are plenty of ghost, voodoo and vampire stories to hear on tours through the city’s haunted streets and spooky cemeteries.
As you begin the trip home with a flight out of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, think about all of the stories you’ll have to tell about your jaunt through Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans.
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