1. Memphis: Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Start your museum tour in the true birthplace of soul music – a modest country church. Just as Stax’s music found its roots in the sounds of Southern gospel music, the museum opens in a real, circa-1906 Mississippi Delta church that has been carefully reassembled inside the building. It's hard not to dance when you listen to Stax tracks. While most museums don’t encourage dancing in the aisles, you can shake what your mama gave you on the Express Yourself dance floor. Don’t worry if you don’t have the moves – you can pick up inspiration from the dancers on vintage episodes of Soul Train playing next to the dance floor. Check out the period recording equipment in the control room, then stand in Studio A, an exact replica of the legendary converted movie theater where Stax artists cut records, down to the gently slanted floor that contributed to Stax’s special sound. See Stax’s impact in the hall of records, where the walls are lined with floor-to-ceiling cases containing all of the albums and singles released by Stax and its subsidiary labels from 1957 – 1975. See the album art and hear the classics (or find new favorites) at the listening station. Behold Isaac Hayes’ glittering custom Cadillac Eldorado, which was purchased as part of his renegotiated deal with Stax in 1972. The car, which was purchased for $26,000 (or, $143,000 in 2013 dollars), is fully equipped with unique amenities like a refrigerated mini-bar, television, 24-carat gold exterior trim and white fur carpeting on the floorboards.