Your favorite music definitely plays a major part in every aspect of your wedding, and it can certainly be a factor in your honeymoon planning, too. If you're looking for a romantic spot that happens to hold great musical history or has a rep for having some of the best live music experiences, look no further. From the city of rock to havens for blues and jazz lovers and everything in between, here are the 11 best honeymoon cities across the U.S. for music-lovers.
As home to South By South West (SXSW), Austin is a great city to visit for music-lovers, both during the festival and year-round. “If you and your beau love live shows, Austin is the place to be. The city is officially known as the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ thanks to its huge festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits and many smaller venues. If you’re looking for a unique honeymoon or romantic getaway, book one of the cozy glamping tents or yurts outside of the city. And don’t leave Austin without trying some traditional barbecue—there are even restaurants that serve vegan BBQ if you need it,” says Alanna Smith, editor at travel deals finders TravelPirates.
The Archer Balcony King Suite at the Archer Hotel Austin features a private outdoor balcony where you can take in sweeping views of the city. The hotel is also located just steps away from Austin’s Rock Rose entertainment district. The Cool Corner Suite at the W Austin features photographs depicting performances at the neighboring Austin City Limits. The hotel also has a Records Room with over 8,000 vinyl records, and the WET Deck offers live music and poolside lounge chairs. The Austin City Limits entertainment venue is right next door to the W Austin. South Congress Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel located in the heart of Austin’s iconic South Congress shopping, dining, and entertainment district. A number of classic live music venues are located on South Congress Avenue, such as The Continental Club, which is known as the "granddaddy of all local music venues." In addition to the endless live music venues, there are many great places for free photo ops for lovebirds, like the "you're my butter half mural," "I love you so much" mural, or the "till death do us part" and "let's band together" murals.
Cleveland rocks! Cleveland earned its place on the rock and roll map in the early ‘50s when local DJ Alan Freed was the first to call the R&B music he was playing on his nightly radio show “rock and roll.” This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s hometown, Cleveland, as one of the best cities to honeymoon for music lovers. “Cleveland is the perfect city for couples who like their music on the harder side. The city hosted the world’s first-ever rock concert back in 1952, which is why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there—a striking glass pyramid on the shore of Lake Erie that is the perfect spot for some music-themed engagement photos. Outside of music, Cleveland has a thriving foodie and brewery scene perfect for dates and evenings out. Scarf down some of the city’s many Polish-inspired eats before checking out the bar scene in the Warehouse District. Take the train out to the suburb of Shaker Heights, which is filled with beautiful parks, historic mansions, and intimate gourmet restaurants,” says Smith.
The birthplace of Elvis Presley can't be beaten for music-lovers. “If you and your honey can’t stop humming 'Walking In Memphis,' you should pop on your blue suede shoes and head on down to the former stomping grounds of 'the King' himself. Memphis wasn’t just home to Elvis, though—it also gave the world Justin Timberlake, Aretha Franklin, and many others, which means the two of you will have fun even if you have different tastes in music. When you’re not touring Graceland, checking out the nightlife on Beale Street, or, watching a free concert, get yourself some Tennessee barbecue. Then walk it off with a romantic stroll along the Mississippi River,” says Smith.
For those wanting a music-inspired destination wedding, one of the most unique and beautiful spots to say “I do” is at Graceland’s very own Chapel in the Woods. A picture-perfect backdrop for a ceremony, the classic chapel is filled with Southern style and charm, a tree-lined walkway up to the doors, authentic wooden pews that hold 75 guests, and stained glass windows. The enchanting, intimate setting, situated just steps away from Graceland Mansion, is ideal for any couple looking to celebrate in a venue as memorable and meaningful as Graceland itself.
Taos, New Mexico
Taos has become a mecca for creative thinkers, attracting artists, mavericks, and innovators. This small mountain town has produced, housed, or inspired countless contributors to arts communities near and far, cementing its status as a cultural capital of the Southwest. It comes as no surprise, then, that musicians are continuously drawn to Taos, meaning that live music is something that can be found in Taos nearly every night of the week, year-round. Quirky and unique as the town itself, venues like the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership and the KTAOS Solar Center can more often than not be found hosting local and regional musical acts at weekly nights like Tuesday Night Blues, Thursday Ladies Night, and Funky Fridays, in between hosting larger acts like The Wallflowers and Los Lonely Boys. Additionally, the town sponsors a weekly Taos Plaza Live in the iconic Taos Plaza, in which performers can showcase their musical skills for locals and tourists wandering through the heart of town. Beyond that, music lovers from near and far flock to Taos for sold-out shows at Kit Carson Park, the main venue in town, that has hosted major acts spanning many genres like Mumford and Sons, Ozomatli, Alabama Shakes, and Dwight Yoakam and the Mavericks. And when the music is over, visitors can catch a breathtaking sunset from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, head to a romantic dinner at The Love Apple and call it a day in one of El Monte Sagrado’s romantic Global Suites. For being such a small town, Taos certainly holds its own against more well-known musical cities. The unparalleled views, long history of artistic influence, and passion for the arts from locals and travelers creates a unique environment and energy that many musicians often note they’ve never encountered before. Taos is well on its way to establishing itself as a music hotspot of the Southwest!
In Nashville, country music is king. If the Country Music Hall of Fame wasn’t enough to convince you, then head straight to Broadway where the bright lights and packed stages of Tootsies, Orchid Lounge and Honky Tonk (to name a few) show off the city’s best live talent. Book the In Love In Nashville package for a romantic reprieve in the heart of Music City with distinctive Southern hospitality and spirit. While Union Station Hotel is steps from the city’s honky-tonks, Music Row, Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and other famous attractions, you can also catch free, live performances in the hotel’s grand lobby as part of the hotel’s Riffs on the Rails series, which showcases both up-and-coming artists like The Young Fables and legendary performers such as Rodney Crowell and Billy Bragg.
Boasting the only double-deck rooftop on Broadway, Nashville Underground delivers an intimate experience where you can "Drink, Taste, and Hear Nashville." The 40,000-square foot live music venue, restaurant, bar, and event space, owned by brothers Joey and Gavin DeGraw, showcases Nashville’s world-famous music, cuisine, and spirits. In the heart of downtown on historic Broadway, Nashville Underground has four large levels. With three stages, a fireplace, a DJ booth, and an LED video dance floor, multi-genre music is featured seven days a week. The décor, designed by Anderson Design Group, reflects a vintage industrial ambiance, paying homage to the historic transfer warehouse the building originated as and celebrates the long history of Music City. Combining all the elements which make Nashville so unique, Nashville Underground fully encompasses the city. “It’s common knowledge that if you love country music, you need to go on a pilgrimage to Nashville. There’s something for every country lover: shows at the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and just the knowledge that you’re following the footsteps of Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton as you walk hand-in-hand with your darling down Music Row. During your stay, be sure to grab a few helpings of Southern comfort food, and book a stay at one of the largest hotels in the country—the Gaylord Opryland Resort. The hotel itself is perfect for a honeymoon: it has 15 restaurants and an atrium with an actual river flowing through it. At only three hours from Memphis, you may want to hit up both cities in one trip,” says Smith.
At the Fairlane Hotel, a boutique hotel bringing back the style and personality of the 1960s, couples can select the two-night Let the Good Times Roll package, which provides an in-room, high-fidelity system with an assortment of vinyl records, an in-room bar cart stocked with local whiskeys and bourbons, and a $50 Lyft Luxe credit.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is made of its own kind of magic. Deemed long ago the “soul of America,” New Orleans is a cultural mecca, one of the last of its kind, whose spirit is made palpable by histories laced with as much sparkle as tragedy, as much trial as jazz. “The birthplace of jazz, New Orleans has a live music scene that puts other cities to shame. You’ll find musicians performing in your choice of bar, restaurant, or hotel, or even playing on the street. Be sure to check out the jazz clubs on Frenchmen Street, or head down this spring for the NOLA Jazz & Heritage Festival. The city is filled with romantic boutique hotels that capture both French and modern influences, as well as a wealth of awesome Airbnb rentals if you and your partner are on a budget. Just don’t leave without trying the jewels of Creole and Cajun cooking: étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya,” says Smith. To reconnect after lively days, Le Pavillon Hotel, with an extensive art collection, rooftop pool, and creole-infused French cuisine, is a romantic retreat from reality. Ace Hotel New Orleans is only a 15-minute walk to Bourbon Street and a mile from Jackson Square, assuring that visitors can be in the heart of it all.
New York, New York
In Manhattan, there is Broadway, with its ever-evolving musical diversity (Dear Evan Hansen’s pop-esque music is written by Pasek and Paul, the duo behind "La La Land"). Brooklyn boasts reggae, soca, dancehall, and afro beats vibe in the streets, bodegas burst with the aroma of burnt coffee while employees greet neighbors with a friendly smile, and Arabic music mingles with the buzz of commuters on their way to and from work. Then there’s Carole King, one of the most prolific songwriters and singers of all time, who grew up in Sheepshead Bay (three of her works have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame: "Tapestry," "You've Got A Friend," and "It's Too Late."). There’s now a show on Broadway documenting her rise to success, and all of the artists whose careers she touched along the way (including the Shirelles, the Drifters, Little Eva, and more). “If you love music of any kind, then you have to make it to New York City. The Big Apple is a pilgrimage spot for aficionados of every genre. Love opera? Get dressed up and spend an evening at the Met. Can’t stop humming Hamilton? Go on a date on Broadway. Want to check out the birthplace of East Coast hip hop? Take a walk around the Bronx,” says Smith.
W New York - Times Square hosts weekly live music in their Live in The Living Room series. There is also a plethora of unassuming yet quality jazz bars and cocktail lounges that host live music daily, such as The Rum House, an oasis in the middle of Times Square that serves up a mean cocktail, smooth jazz, and serenity amongst the bright lights.
St. Louis, Missouri
Known as one of the world’s top five indigenous blues music cities, the Gateway City is now also home to the National Blues Museum, which explores the Blues and celebrates the genre as the foundation of all modern American music. The blues genre alone accounts for nearly 50 acts a week performing at public and private functions. Stop into BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups and Broadway Oyster Bar to catch award-winning live music seven nights a week with local and national acts. Not-to-miss annual blues-fueled events include the Whitaker Jazz Festival every June through August at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and the Big Muddy Blues Festival at Laclede’s Landing in September. A trip to the Delmar Loop is also a must—grab a burger and a show at the famed Blueberry Hill Restaurant & Music Club. This longtime pop-culture-themed diner is where the father of rock and roll himself, Chuck Berry, was known to perform regularly up until his death. A statue of the father of rock and roll can now be found in The Loop.
Los Angeles, California
A new Grammy Museum, music attractions at Skyspace and some of the nation’s best vinyl shopping makes L.A. a perfect destination for music lovers. Before "La La Land" established it as a symphonious city for languid lovers, tinsel town was the training ground for many a musical talent. Visit OUE Skyspace L.A., the tallest observation deck in California, where a newly opened multimedia exhibit showcases KCRW’s Music Director, Jason Bentley, who shares intel on some of L.A.’s most historic music venues and cultural centers—all viewable from the deck. What’s more, a private helicopter ride and terrace-top dinner make it an ideal spot to pop the question when taken by the moment! Hollywood Bowl has been an icon since 1922—hear anything from live musical scores from John Williams to alternative electronic bands like Passion Pit. Best part: you can BYOB! The Greek is great for an intimate night under the stars, and The Echoplex and Echo is a massive multi-floor dance hall for every type of music fan. Lastly, the landmark Capitol Records building serves as a testament to L.A.’s musical past and future, housing Capitol Records’ west coast operations.
Jeffersonville, Ind., just across the river from Louisville, Ky., hosts Abbey Road on the River, the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival. It became a music destination last year when the festival moved from Louisville to Big Four Station, a park at the base of the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge. All you need is love. Fans of the festival really take this seriously. The “peace and love” vibe is everywhere during the festival. It has been the site of couples getting together. One of the festival’s veteran stage managers met his wife there several years ago. Josh “Hawk” Hawkins met his wife Juliana when she was playing in one of the tribute bands, Classicstone. She’s originally from Bogota, Colombia. They live in the area, and she continues to play at the festival. Hawk and Juliana now play in a band together. During Abbey Road on the River, fans stay at the host hotel and jam with the musicians, who also stay there. They stay awake into the night, partying and having sing-alongs with the musicians. Last year during the festival, several people got hitched or renewed their vows at a popup wedding booth. Aside from Abbey Road on the River, Jeffersonville has a concert series each summer. Every Friday night, honeymooners can watch the free concerts on the terraced lawn. The concerts are held on a converted barge that floats in the Ohio River.
An under-the-radar Southern getaway without the crowds of neighboring destinations, Lexington features a thriving music scene that is engrained in Bluegrass and American roots music. Tee Dee’s Blues Club is home to Lexington native and world-famous blues patriarch Tee Dee Young and is ideal for a date night with live soul music. The Burl is Lexington’s newest entertainment destination and hosts local and national talent across all genres. Located in the historic Lexington Distillery District, the restored train depot holds nearly 300 people and features original wood framing and an open layout, offering live music Thursday through Sunday. A local hot spot, Tin Roof is about giving musicians a place to play and a place to hang when they aren’t on stage, and features live music every Tuesday through Saturday. The Festival of the Bluegrass, a four-day event held at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground, is the oldest Bluegrass festival in Kentucky. At ArtsPlace, Red Barn Radio tapes live Bluegrass Music for broadcast Wednesday nights throughout most of the year.