If you love good blues music, great food, and historical sightseeing, then a trip along the Mississippi Blues trail is for you.
In 2006 the Mississippi Blues Commission placed commemorative signs at key sites to mark the birthplace, history, and influence of blues music. There are 210 Mississippi Blues Trail markers in total, 14 of which are outside the state of Mississippi.
While there are many possible itineraries to follow, the most interesting route adds Nashville at the beginning and New Orleans at the end and includes the best blues museums.
Nashville Tennessee – 2 days
Welcome to Music City, USA! While Nashville is the undisputed birthplace of country music, the music scene here crosses over many genres. Spending two days here is a great place to start. Walk along iconic music row and reflect on the music legends who recorded their hit records here.
Tour RCA Recording Studios and the Studio B Experience
It is possible to take a tour of the RCA Recording Studios. Request your tickets online as soon as you start to make plans for your trip.
National African American Music Museum
Find the newest addition to music history directly across the street from the historic Ryman Auditorium. The National African American Music Museum is dedicated to conveying the story of the music styles and genres that have been created and influenced by African Americans.
Memphis – 2 days
Try the legendary Memphis barbecue and take a walk along the famous Beale Street, with its blues clubs, restaurants, and shops.
The Birthplace of Rock’n’Roll
Sun Recording Studios offers studio tours where musical legends B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Howlin Wolf, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis were first discovered.
Rock n Soul Museum
This museum was created by the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibits tell the story of the musical pioneers who overcame the racial and social-economic barriers to bring their rock and soul music to the world.
Stax Soul Music Museum
Find interactive exhibits that commemorate the history of soul music and the stars who recorded with Stax Records. Some of the famous names you’ll see there include Otis Redding, Issac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, and many more.
National Civil Rights Museum
No trip to Memphis would be complete without a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is a complex of several buildings built around the location of the former Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.
The Mississippi Delta – 2 days
Explore the Mississippi Delta and the land of the Delta Blues. Musicians like Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson helped form the land of the Delta Blues.
Clarksdale and the Delta Blues
If you are keeping track of Mississippi Blues Trail Makers, there are 15 in Clarksdale and Coahoma County.
Delta Blues Museum
This is the first blues museum dedicated to the history of the blues. Exhibits honor the legendary artists born and raised in the Clarksdale area. Big-name musicians like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Ike Turner, Jackie Brenston, Sam Cooke, Junior Parker, and W. C. Handy all hail from the area.
Robert Johnson at the Crossroads
A marker with a big blue guitar at the top sits at the Crossroads, at the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49. According to blues legend, this is the spot where blues artist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
Cleveland and the Grammy Blues Museum
The small town of Cleveland, MS is home to the Grammy Blues Museum, and for a good reason. The Dockery Farms cotton gin is only four miles east of Cleveland. Blues pioneers like Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Honeyboy Edwards, and Pops Staples all worked there and wrote music in their spare time.
Head 10 miles north of Cleveland to visit the small town of Mound Bayou. In 1887 this town was founded as an independent black community by former slaves. Isaiah Montgomery led the town, and his former home in Mound Bayou is now a national landmark.
Walk in the Footsteps of B.B. King
Blues icon B.B. King grew up in the city of Indianola, MS. The B.B. King Museum is built on the site of an old cotton gin where he used to work. The museum tells the story of his life and career and paints a picture of life in the Mississippi Delta.
Jackson – 2 days
You will find 14 more markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail in Jackson, MS.
There are also seven Freedom Trail markers in Jackson:
- The home of Medgar Evers
- The Greyhound Bus Station
- Mississippi State Capitol
- Council of Federated Organizations Civil Rights Education Center
- Tougaloo College
- Jackson State University
- The site of the 1963 sit-in at Woolworth’s
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
Visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum to hear the stories of the movement that changed the state and the nation. Eight interactive galleries aim to give visitors a better understanding of the struggle these great men and women endured in the fight for civil rights.
See the Home of a Great American Activist
The modest home of civil rights martyr Medgar Evers is now under the stewardship of the National Park Service. The home and the carport where Evers was assassinated still look much the same as they did during his lifetime.
New Orleans – 3 Days
The Whitney Plantation
About 45 minutes outside of New Orleans, the Whitney Plantation Museum is devoted to teaching the history of slavery in the south. The exhibits in the visitor’s center are free to the public. Tickets can be purchased for a self-guided audio tour of the grounds.
House of Blues New Orleans
All great Mississippi Blues trail tours should include a stop at the popular House of Blues. Check the events calendar to see which musicians are playing, and buy tickets in advance.
Walk in the Footsteps of the Jazz Greats
Preservation Hall in the heart of the French Quarter is the place to enjoy great jazz music in an intimate setting. Check out the event calendar and purchase tickets in advance.
Let Us Take Care of the Details
If this 11-day itinerary sounds like your dream tour, but the logistics seem overwhelming, then let us take good care of you.
We cover the details, from airport pickup, luxury motor coach transportation, hotels, reservations, and tickets to all the included attractions. Our tours include opportunities to visit popular musicians.
Call us, or go online today to start planning your dream tour along the Mississippi Blues Trail.