Lonely Planet Writer

Experience American cities through the music locals love on Spotify

Once you’ve booked your ticket and picked up a guidebook, there’s no better way to get ready to explore a new city than with a playlist of music the locals love.

Listening to music in New York. Image by Westend61/getty Images

A US tourism board has teamed up with Spotify to promote US cities through music by creating more than 20 “customized US city soundscape playlists”. Visit the USA created the project to give prospective travellers a taste of what different spots around the country have to offer. The playlists are based on the artists and genres that get above-average plays with local users, meaning “each playlist reflects the current mood of the location, using music as a discovery travel tool, including everything from the upbeat Latin-inspired sounds of Miami, Florida to the industrial, Midwestern grit of Cleveland, Ohio”.

Robert’s Western World in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Image by ©Philip Chang/500px

The playlists cover famous music cities like country capital Nashville and Motown mecca, Detroit, but also some cities with rising music scenes list Cheyenne, Wyoming and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Check out the playlists, recordings and some travel advice for music-loving travellers here. The campaign, called Hear the Music, Experience the USA, also saw artists from the cities of Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Portland and San Juan in Puerto Rico, record the classic song “Do You Wanna Dance? by Bobby Freeman in different styles that reflect the local culture and music of their city.

Keep Portland Weird sign at a well known record store in downtown PDX. Image by ©Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

If you want musical travel inspiration from around the world, Spotify previously created an interactive map that helps users explore the music that’s popular at that moment in various cities so listeners can hear a distinct playlist based on what locals love.

If you’re not content with listening to the same music as everyone else, a Texan band called Khruangbin recently launched a website to help create personalized Spotify playlists based on your travel plans and preferences.

Or, check out Lonely Planet’s Spotify playlists here.