On the Musical Map
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22 Locations From Famous Songs That You Can Actually Visit

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On the Musical Map
chrisdorney/istockphoto

ON THE MUSICAL MAP

Movie lovers delight in visiting the places where their favorite films came to life, but why should they have all the fun? If you're more of a music fan, there are plenty of places name-dropped in your favorite tunes that you can go check out in person — though sometimes, figuring out where they are requires just a bit more sleuthing. This time, we've done the legwork for you. Read on to discover 22 locations mentioned in your favorite hit songs that you can check out today.

Standing on the Corner in Winslow Arizona
Standing on the Corner in Winslow Arizona by Kenneth Hagemeyer (CC BY-ND)

STANDIN' ON THE CORNER PARK | WINSLOW, AZ

"Take it Easy," The Eagles

You can definitely go stand on that famous corner in Winslow, Arizona; we just can't guarantee an attractive girl will slow down to make eyes at you. In 1999, Winslow built "Standin' on the Corner" Park alongside a stretch of Route 66 — an iconic bucket list road trip route — to cater to Eagles fans who can come snap a pic with a statue of a guy in a cowboy hat with a guitar at the toe of his boot. There's also a two-story mural and — of course — a shiny, red flatbed Ford. In September of 2016, a statue of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who passed away earlier that year, was added.

Penny Lane
Penny Lane by Jeffrey (CC BY-NC-ND)

PENNY LANE | LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

"Penny Lane," The Beatles

A pilgrimage to Liverpool, England, is de rigueur for any hardcore Beatles fan — and any 1960s enthusiast — and Penny Lane should be on the list of must-sees. Though some have speculated the lyrics from the 1967 hit suggest Penny is a girl, Penny Lane is definitely a road — a lively, but otherwise inconspicuous street where John Lennon and Paul McCartney would meet to grab a bus downtown. The barbershop referenced in the song's first verse is there, and you can grab a "four of fish" from the Penny Lane Fish and Chip Shop.

Tom's Restaurant
Tom's Restaurant by Scott Beale (CC BY-NC-ND)

TOM'S RESTAURANT | NEW YORK CITY, NY

"Tom's Diner," Suzanne Vega

"I am sitting in the morning at the diner on the corner …" So goes Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner," a song that famously recounts her experience watching life unfold around her as she sips her morning coffee. The diner in question, Tom's Restaurant, is something of a New York City landmark, and not just because of Vega's song. It was also used for exterior shots of the diner frequented by the cast of "Seinfeld," and has long been a favorite of students from nearby Columbia University.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
Muscle Shoals Sound Studio by ivey.marie (CC BY-NC-ND)

MUSCLE SHOALS SOUND STUDIO | SHEFFIELD, AL

"Sweet Home Alabama," Lynyrd Skynyrd

What might be the most famous roots rock song of all time is certainly a love song to Alabama, but music lovers will want to focus on this lyric: "Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers, and they've been known to pick a song or two." Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in northwestern Alabama was home base for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, also known as the Swampers. Throughout the ‘70s, they were featured on more than 200 albums and collaborated with the likes of Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Today, the studio is open for tours every day except Sunday.

Copacabana
Copacabana by Pablo Romero (CC BY-NC)

COPACABANA NIGHT CLUB | NEW YORK CITY, NY

"Copacabana," Barry Manilow

To find the "hottest spot north of Havana," you'll actually have to fly way north to New York City. Head to Times Square and you'll find Copacabana Night Club. Barry Manilow was a regular during the ‘60s when the club featured showgirls just like Lola, "with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there." The hit song spurred the club to add a Latin night in 1978, a tradition that continues even today. Just head to Copacabana on a Tuesday night and salsa your heart out.

Lansdown from Little Solsbury Hill
Lansdown from Little Solsbury Hill by Rob Williams (CC BY-NC)

LITTLE SOLSBURY HILL | SOMERSET, ENGLAND

"Solsbury Hill," Peter Gabriel

One of English rocker Peter Gabriel's biggest hits pays homage to Little Solsbury Hill, located northeast of the city of Bath in Somerset. However, it was important far before Gabriel decided to write about it. This flat-topped hill hosted a hill fort during the Iron Age, and possibly an ancient temple before that. Later, it may have been the site of a battle between the Saxons and the English. Visitors are welcome to come take in the view, as the site is managed by the National Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to caring for historic sites all over the United Kingdom.

"... students symbolically bury a copy of the U.S. Constitution ...."
"... students symbolically bury a copy of the U.S. Constitution ...." by jimmy thomas (CC BY-SA)

KENT STATE UNIVERSITY | KENT, OH

"Ohio," by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Though never explicitly named in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's protest anthem "Ohio," Kent State in Kent, Ohio, was the spot where National Guardsmen opened fire on students protesting the bombing of Cambodia by the U.S. Four died and nine were wounded in the May 1970 shooting, spurring CSNY to record the song just weeks later. Some radio stations even refused to play it, saying it was too politically charged. Today, visitors to Kent State can learn about that bloody day at the May 4 Visitors Center or by taking a walking tour of important sites and memorials on campus.

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
CaronB/istockphoto

GRACELAND | MEMPHIS, TN

"Graceland," Paul Simon

You don't have to be an Elvis fan to appreciate Graceland's indelible presence in American music history, but its most notable appearance in song isn't in an Elvis record. Paul Simon's mid-‘80s hit "Graceland" is about a father-son road trip to the iconic Memphis estate, though its lyrics also mourn the demise of Simon's marriage to Carrie Fisher. Of course, you can "be received in Graceland," too, and see where Simon was inspired by the King. Graceland is open daily and has grown far beyond the mansion itself, with museums, restaurants, and even a hotel.

Folsom State Prison
Folsom State Prison by Helen Gordon (CC BY)

FOLSOM STATE PRISON MUSEUM | FOLSOM, CA

"Folsom Prison Blues," Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash wanted to stay "far from Folsom Prison," but his most dedicated fans may want to see the place where he performed the concert that changed the course of his career. Contrary to what some fans may think, Cash never did more than a night in jail, and definitely not at California's Folsom, but he identified with the inmates and "Folsom Prison Blues" cemented him as a kind of bad-boy icon. The prison itself is off limits to anyone who isn't visiting an inmate, but the nearby Folsom Prison Museum tells the prison's gruesome history and includes plenty of Johnny Cash memorabilia.

Hotel Chelsea, New York City
sx70/istockphoto

CHELSEA HOTEL | NEW YORK CITY, NY

"Chelsea Hotel #2," Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel #2" recounts the singer's brief affair with another icon, Janis Joplin, in 1968. The setting, New York City's Chelsea Hotel, had become a bohemian hotbed with a long history of welcoming too many world-class creatives to count, including Jackson Pollock, Arthur Miller, Jack Kerouac, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan. The hotel has been undergoing a protracted renovation but aims to reopen to guests later this year.

Historic Chattanooga Choo Choo in Chattanooga, TN
Historic Chattanooga Choo Choo in Chattanooga, TN by Peter Ciro (CC BY-NC-ND)

CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO | CHATTANOOGA, TN

"Chattanooga Choo Choo," Glenn Miller

This big-band hit is one of the most well-known tunes of the ‘40s, and it helped cement Chattanooga's spot in the heart of train lovers. Chattanooga's train station is still standing, though it has been transformed into a hotel and entertainment complex. Visitors can stroll around the Glenn Miller Gardens, converted from old railroad tracks, and stay the night in Pullman Train Cars complete with queen-size beds, Wi-Fi, desks, and mini fridges.

Foster's Old Fashion Freeze
Foster's Old Fashion Freeze by Geoffrey Gallaway (CC BY-SA)

FOSTER'S FREEZE | HAWTHORNE, CA

"Fun Fun Fun," The Beach Boys

Got a craving for a chili dog and some soft serve? How about some music trivia? Get your fix at the Foster's Freeze in Hawthorne, California, an unassuming dairy bar and burger stand. It's here that Brian Wilson saw a girl in a Thunderbird — her daddy's, at least according to the song — cruise through the line "with the radio blasting," a scene he immortalized in one of The Beach Boys' biggest hits.

Woodley Road | Montgomery, AL
Jeremy Hardin/istockphoto

WOODLEY ROAD | MONTGOMERY, AL

"Seven Bridges Road," Steve Young

The Eagles famously covered this hit song, but it was originally written and recorded by Steve Young in 1969. If you want to cruise the pavement that inspired the tune, head to Woodley Road, the countryside outside Montgomery, Alabama. It really does cross seven bridges, and if you can't make it down South to see for yourself, you can take a virtual ride on YouTube. Just note that a little of the atmosphere has been lost to modern times — now wider and paved, the road isn't quite the moss-draped tunnel of trees it was 50 years ago.

Bar Garota de Ipanema
Bar Garota de Ipanema by jd (A) (CC BY-NC-ND)

GAROTA DE IPANEMA BAR | RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

"The Girl from Ipanema," Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes

This classic bossa nova tune, covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse, tells the story of a "tall and tan and young and lovely" girl who walks "like a samba" to the sea each day without noticing the song's watchful, wistful writer. Ipanema remains a leafy beachside neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, and you can even swing by the Garota de Ipanema bar where the song was written. The girl in question has also been identified and was a torchbearer during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Strawberry Field Gate [2]
Strawberry Field Gate [2] by Robot Brainz (CC BY-NC-ND)

STRAWBERRY FIELD | LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

"Strawberry Fields Forever," The Beatles

"Nothing is real," croon the Beatles in their 1967 classic, but this charmingly psychedelic track has its roots in a decidedly real place. Strawberry Field was a children's home run by the Salvation Army in suburban Liverpool, England, and nearby resident John Lennon used to attend a garden party there every summer. Visitors can see a replica of the red gates, and starting in 2019, a visitor's center with interactive exhibits. Lennon and Paul McCartney's former homes are also close by.

Winchester Cathedral in Sunset light
Winchester Cathedral in Sunset light by Neil Howard (CC BY-NC)

WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL | HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND

"Winchester Cathedral," New Vaudeville Band

Winchester Cathedral, the monolithic building that "stood and watched as my baby left town" in New Vaudeville Band's zany 1966 tune, still stands imposingly in Hampshire, England. Its cornerstones were laid in 1093 and work continued over the centuries that followed. Today, it's open 365 days a year to visitors who can explore the crypts, climb the tower, and listen to Evensong as performed by the Cathedral Choir. The Winchester Cathedral also figured into another famous group's song — 1977's "Cathedral" by Crosby Stills & Nash.

SunsetGrillGuitarCenter
SunsetGrillGuitarCenter by NoIdentity (CC BY-NC-ND)

SUNSET GRILL | LOS ANGELES, CA

"Sunset Grill," Don Henley

Hollywood isn't all glitz and glamour and Don Henley's 1985 hit "Sunset Grill" tells you as much. Though it was rebuilt after its original owner sold it in 1997, you can still go grab a beer and a burger at this real Sunset Boulevard dive, immortalized for the sometimes gritty scenes that would unfold outside its window. Of course, Henley's hit record is hanging on the wall inside.

Ventura Boulevard
Ventura Boulevard by Eden, Janine and Jim / Flickr (CC BY)

VENTURA BOULEVARD | SHERMAN OAKS, CA

"Free Fallin,'" Tom Petty

While you're checking out Sunset Boulevard, it's just a short drive to the Valley check out another spot immortalized in song: Ventura Boulevard, perhaps the most notable of the locations name-dropped in Tom Petty's inescapable 1989 hit, "Free Fallin.'" In a nod to the lyrics, fans have even staged a vampire walk down the well-known thoroughfare. Hardcore Petty fans can also check out the Westside Pavilion mall in West L.A. where Petty rode the escalators in the song's video, but not for long — it's slated to transform into office space in the next couple of years.

Memory Motel | Montauk, NY
Courtesy of facebook.com/ Memory Motel

MEMORY MOTEL | MONTAUK, NY

"Memory Motel," The Rolling Stones

Though not among the Stones' most well-known songs, "Memory Motel" is a popular ballad that chronicles an affair with "Hannah … a peachy kind of girl" with hazel eyes and a curving nose. ("Hannah" has long been rumored to have been Carly Simon.) The song's setting, the Memory Motel, is a decidedly retro dive in Montauk at Long Island's easternmost tip. It's still open for business, and if you don't want to stay the night, you can go have a drink and catch some live music at the attached bar, though locals caution it's "best experienced very late."

Trench Town Culture Yard | Kingston, Jamaica
Courtesy of facebook.com/Trench Town Culture Yard

TRENCH TOWN CULTURE YARD | KINGSTON, JAMAICA

"No Woman, No Cry," Bob Marley

Music lovers lucky enough to head to Jamaica may want to take a detour to the Trench Town Culture Yard once they're tired of the beach. As Lonely Planet notes, it's best to head here on an organized tour — the rest of the neighborhood might not be safest for tourists to wander around — but reggae fans will want to see this housing project, now a museum, that Marley sang of in "No Woman, No Cry." In fact, Marley used to live here, and memorabilia includes a rusted VW bus that the Wailers used in the ‘60s.

Hollywood Cafe | Robinsonville, MS
Courtesy of facebook.com/The Hollywood Cafe

HOLLYWOOD CAFÉ | ROBINSONVILLE, MS

"Walking in Memphis," Marc Cohn

As its name suggests, the 1991 hit "Walking in Memphis" mentions some of that city's most notable spots, including Beale Street, Graceland, and Union Avenue. Not as well known but worth seeking out is the Hollywood Café, where "Muriel plays piano" every Friday night. The small restaurant south of Memphis in Robinsonville, Mississippi did feature a gospel singer named Muriel Wilkins on Fridays, and it's still open today for anyone craving fried pickles or catfish. John Grisham was also a regular there, and included the cafe in his book "A Time to Kill."

The Jug Saloon | Jacksonville, FL
Courtesy of facebook.com / The Jug Saloon

THE JUG SALOON | JACKSONVILLE, FL

"Gimme Three Steps," Lynyrd Skynyrd

Want to go cut a rug down at a place called The Jug? Well, Linda Lou and her gun-happy boyfriend probably won't be there, but an altercation between Ronnie Van Zant and another patron at The Jug Saloon in Jacksonville, Florida, inspired one of Lynyrd Skynyrd's most memorable songs. You can still go grab a beer there, though it's worth noting that it was called the West Tavern when Van Zant had his run-in. The band changed the name of the bar to make it sound cooler and the bar returned the favor a few years ago in a nod to the hit song.