Travelling for Music, Movie and More in the US


Given the scale and size of the USA, it’s doubtful that any tourist or visitor will find themselves short of things to do, assuming of course that they’re taking in a few major towns or cities along the way.

Every major town and city will have a variety of music venues. At the top end, there’s the open-air amphitheatres and bowls that dominate the summer season in California and the southern states, and the large multi-purpose indoor arenas in all parts of the country, that are just likely to hold a monster truck rally one week, as they are to host a large touring band the next. Given the size and scope of the USA, it’s difficult to point to any specific events in one area of the country, and, since there are smaller theatre and club venues all over the country, the best option for planning a trip is to do a short session of internet research prior to your trip to look for the best events for your chosen town or city.

As an example of this scope, the classical enthusiast may want to look at the schedules for Tanglewood, Massachusetts, or The Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles – venues on opposite sides of the country. Likewise, the jazz enthusiast may consider The Blue Note in New York City, or Yoshi’s in Oakland and San Francisco, again spanning the whole country. Touring rock and pop bands can be found in venues all over the country at any one time, in all manner of venues.

When we think of the movies, almost the first place that comes to mind is Hollywood, and there’s a wealth of movie-related attractions, tours and sites to visit in and around it. Whilst Hollywood used to be a town in its own right, it’s now been swallowed up in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. A number of the major studios offer guided tours of their facilities, whilst others have turned their studios into glorified theme parks, with movie-themed rides and attractions. Universal Studios Hollywood is one of these, with a tour that takes in special effects sets, subjecting the visitor to floods, earthquakes and car crashes.

Warner Brothers, Paramount and Sony all offer tours of their facilities, with varying degrees of access. A number of the studios span the television world as well as film, and access is sometimes available to be in the studio audience for taping of television shows. Again, this might demand a degree of forward planning, but being in the audience for a favourite show is likely to prove a holiday highlight.

In terms of national events, September 2 is Labor Day, and this is marked in many cities across the USA with parades and other events. Labor Day is perhaps the most-established public holiday in the United States, and is always the first Monday in September. For many Americans, this leads to a long weekend of celebrations, rest or relaxation, and the visitor can often find many musical, theatre and other events centred around the weekend. New York City, for instance, has, in addition to ongoing events on Broadway and in other areas and venues, its own Labor Day parade, the US Open tennis championship at Flushing Meadow in Queens, and Electric Zoo – NYC’s biggest festival of electronic and dance music.

In other cities, such as Las Vegas, themed nightclub and pool parties dominate the celebrations.
In October, America celebrates Columbus Day, and in some areas of the country, this day is also a celebration of Italian heritage and culture.

For the visitor or tourist who is travelling by car rental, US federal holidays, cultural events and other themed attractions can provide lots of scope for a varied and interesting visit. As with car rental in any other country, the visitor should ensure they have familiarised themselves with any differences between driving in the USA and their home country, be aware of speed limit differences, and generally drive carefully until they have settled in.


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