During the 1950s, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed began promoting a style of music that encompassed blues, country, R&B and folk under an umbrella term he coined himself, rock 'n' roll. The rest, as they say, is history. If you really want to explore the history of this American-born style of music, you'll have to make your way to Cleveland and its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.Photo courtesy of marada
With Cleveland located only a day's drive from about half the population of the United States, exploring a slice of American heritage with a visit to the hall of fame makes for a perfect family road trip. The 150,000 square foot museum houses seven floors of exhibit space with four theaters for special events, including the popular U2 3D concert film in the Foster Theater. Among the extensive collection of musical artifacts, you'll find Louis Jordan's saxophone, Neil Young's leather jacket, John Lennon's grade school report card and Bobby Brown's red rhinestone-studded tuxedo.Photo courtesy of Tony Fischer Photography
Get a song stuck in your head in the exhibit on One Hit Wonders, learn about the roots of the genre and check out spaces dedicated to some of rock 'n' roll's most iconic bands, like the Beatles, Metallica and the Grateful Dead. Don't miss the Hall of Fame's video collage of the more than 200 inductees. Janis Joplin's Porsche — Photo courtesy of ruffin_ready
This place isn't just for lovers of the classics. The rotating Right Here, Right Now exhibit features artifacts from current chart-toppers and up-and-coming musicians. Even if your kids roll their eyes at the mention of the Clash or Jim Morrison, they'll love seeing Katie Perry and Lady Gaga's outlandish costumes or the guitars played by Weezer band members.