Itinerary – Rhythms of the River
Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana

Regional Suggestions Chicago | Springfield | St. Louis | Nashville
Memphis | Cleveland | Natchez | New Orleans

About this itinerary

Driving distance: 1287 Miles
Recommended travelling time: 18 Nights
Recommended travel season: Summer
This journey explores the musical history of the beginning of Route 66. Begin in the bustling city of Chicago and travel south seeing some of what America's iconic road offers. Travel through Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri, a hub of American music.

Chicago, Illinois


Chicago has a wealth of sites and sounds to explore. As well as famous attractions such as the Cloud Gate sculpture and the Skydeck Chicago, there is also the annual Chicago Blues Festival or clubs such as Buddy Guy's Legends. With more than 200 live music venues and clubs, visitors are sure to find something that suits them. Be sure to try a deep-dish pizza or hotdog during your stay.
To next stop: 203 miles| Total distance travelled: 0 miles


Springfield, Illinois

Head out of Chicago along the iconic Route 66 which winds through nearly 300 miles of Illinois. Stop off at the cafes, shops and roadside attractions that you will see along the way. Highlights include the towering Railsplitter Covered Wagon in Lincoln or the huge pink elephant near the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston. Arrive in Springfield where there are several museums which explore the life of Abraham Lincoln.
To next stop: 96 miles | Total distance travelled: 203 miles

St. Louis, Missouri

Continue along Route 66 to St. Louis, where you can visit the impressive Gateway Arch. St. Louis also has a diverse music scene. The Soulard neighbourhood is a vibrant area of the city offering a wide variety of restaurants, bars and live music. 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.
To next stop: 309 miles | Total distance travelled: 299 miles


Nashville, Tennessee

Next Nashville, Tennessee - home to Country music. See the history of Country music unravel at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and see the studio where Dolly Parton recorded songs. Before watching some music live at The Grand Ole Opry. Nearby, new art flows regularly into the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Hungry? Find a meat-and-three restaurant to try meat-and-three local side-dish specialities.
To next stop: 212 miles | Total distance travelled: 608 miles

Memphis, Tennessee

Head back to the Great River Road toward Memphis. In this pilgrimage city for music-lovers, tour Sun Studio to stand where legends such as B.B. King and Elvis Presley recorded. At the Stax Museum of American Soul Music view memorabilia from artists like Otis Redding. Beale Street showcases Memphis' contemporary sounds with live music seeming to drift from every door. Ensure to sample local specialities like dry-rubbed ribs and smoked pulled-pork sandwiches.
To next stop: 115 miles | Total distance travelled: 820 miles

Cleveland, Mississippi

Stop off at Clarksdale, known alongside the surrounding delta region, as 'the land where the blues began', 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 was among the African-Americans who worked here; he later contributed to a culture that inspired the Blues. Also not to miss in Cleveland is the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.
To next stop: 180 miles | Total distance travelled: 935 miles


Natchez, Mississippi

On the way to Natchez, visit the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, the oldest settlement in Mississippi, to learn about the man who helped popularize the Blues. The journey will take you past bygone plantations and restored antebellum mansions. Take time to explore some of these incredible homes that tell the stories of the South.
To next stop: 172 miles | Total distance travelled: 1115 miles

New Orleans, Louisiana

Guided tours in New Orleans are an ideal way to learn about this special place. Join a stroll through the historic French Quarter, explore stories of voodoo and ghost lore, and visit Preservation Hall and Frenchmen Street, which offer an array of live Jazz. Make sure to sample local signature dishes like sugar-dusted beignets and aromatic jambalaya and try to time it right for Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest.
Total distance travelled: 1287 miles

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Some map icons by Scott de Jonge, used under CC 3.0 BY  Train vector by Freepik

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