Southern cities have so much to see and learn about in terms of local art installations, unique architectural trends, and natural history that sometimes the best way to see it all is by booking a walking tour with a knowledgeable resident and expert of your destination. Thanks to Southern Living’s curated list of “2021’s Best Walking Tours” to be found in the southern United States, you’ll be properly prepared the next time you’re in a new location with a rich history.
If you’ve never taken a walking tour, it’s essentially a more calculated attempt at learning a wide array of a city or town’s history by hearing it from a knowledgeable tour guide instead of you driving around the city picking up your facts through context clues. These tours are typically found in the town’s busiest areas and they can range from the general “learn about the history of this district of New Orleans, Louisiana” to “popular filming locations in Savannah, Georgia.” There’s truly something for everyone depending on your particular interests or level of prior knowledge you come to the tour with, but here are our favorites from Southern Living’s “2021 South’s Best” list.
If you’re a fan of the golden age of country music, then there’s no city quite as fruitful as Nashville, Tennessee since no other city rivals it in terms of country music’s legacy, superstars, and impact. When booking the “Walkin’ Nashville Music City Legends” walking tour, you’ll learn just how much the genre has evolved over the past century and exactly how the city itself played a role in making the greatest legends of country music such as Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and plenty others into the notable icons they are today.
This two-hour tour spans only about one mile of Nashville, but it’s less about walking and more about the story of the biggest names in music that have the city to thank for some aspect of their success. When on the tour, you’ll be inundated with anecdotes, music history, trivia, and more as you’re brought to notorious Music City landmarks like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Ryman Auditorium, Printers Alley, and The Maxwell House Hotel, all of which have played a significant role for country music’s biggest stars. The tour ends in maybe the city’s most sought-after location, and after over 90 minutes of insider information about the genre, there’s no place else you’d rather find yourself than the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you can let yourself go wild and at your own pace! Book a ticket today and learn more about not just country music but the city that calls the genre its primary export.
For many, the attractions found on a walking tour are the immediate draw, but the regimented schedule of a tour guide’s well-meaning itinerary is a drawback. If that’s the case, then this history-rich, self-guided tour of the 175-year old town of Fredericksburg, Texas is the perfect way to learn about the legacy of the town’s historic district that has garnered some natural recognition of its own.
Once you set forth on the tour, you’ll immediately notice that Fredericksburg’s streets are incredibly wide, and sure “everything’s bigger in Texas,” but the width of the streets is due to the fact that the founders of the town had an outstanding need for a full team of oxen to be able to turn around in the street before being hitched up on one of the street’s still-accessible metal hoops (found along the sidewalks). The tour allows you to independently survey the town’s historical district according to the areas that interest you the most– whether that be admiring the Admiral Nimitz Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War, learning about Fredicksburg’s founding history in the iconic Vereins Kirche Museum found in the center of Marktplatz, or setting down for one of your three meals at the unforgettable Rathskeller Basement Restaurant in Frederickburg’s Historic Keidel Hospital Building. Sure you may have to spend multiple days taking in all that this notable Texan city has to offer, but that’s just the price you pay when you’re learning about one of the more architecturally and historically rich towns in the Southern United States.
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