The Best Cities for Food and Music

Start with a list of the country's top food towns, cross reference it with a list of the country's hottest music towns, and you get a third list you should refer to before your next vacation: the best towns for both! Check out the insiders' guides to tasty tuneful nights out in four of our favorites, then hit the road!
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Your Pitch-Perfect Night Out in Austin

We're kicking off with the town that feels closest to home, where Rachael hits South by Southwest each March and, together with her husband, John, hosts her famed Feedback music and food party. But Austin is guaranteed to rock you whenever you go. It bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, and has 250+ venues to back the claim. The city's dining options are dizzying, too (there are more than 1,000 food trailers, for starters). So Rach asked one of her favorite local singer-songwriters, Bob Schneider, to make you a cheat sheet of sorts. Follow it to see how he'd spend a night in the scene-y downtown area.

Welcome to Austin

Fuel Up

"At Luke's Inside Out food trailer, Luke Bibby and his wife, Tracy, serve sandwiches and specials that'll knock your socks off, whether it's pork belly shrimp pie or smoked brisket arepas with guacamole and queso crema," Schneider says. "Eat outside or, if you crave a cold one, at the adjacent Gibson Street Bar." lukesinsideout.com

Luke’s Inside Out food trailer

Catch a Show

"Across the street from Luke's sits the Saxon Pub, home to my 15-year Monday night residency as Lonelyland. But you can also catch acts of all kinds here, from legends like Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt to rising stars like Charlie Mars. And the bar can be a great place for celebrity spotting." thesaxonpub.com

Saxon Pub

After-Party

"The Liberty not only serves amazing seasonal cocktails (if the Nothing's Shocking is on offer, you've got to try this rum, OJ, pineapple juice and ginger beer blend), but comes with a bonus: an East Side King trailer out back, with Asian-inspired awesomeness from Paul Qui, who won Top Chef, Season 9." thelibertyaustin.com

The Liberty

Short on time? Get fab food and music under one roof!

In 1933, Threadgill's was the first place in the county to get a beer license, and later became Janis Joplin's launching pad. And while you can still grab a brew and see great acts there--Van Wilks, Uncle Lucius and lots of others--you can also get killer comfort food. Try the Texas Caviar (black-eyed pea salad) or Smoked Chicken Cheese-a-dillos (imagine a stuffed quesadilla). threadgills.com

Smoky Bacon, Black Beans & Greens Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo

Your Pitch-Perfect Night Out in Los Angeles

From the Sunset Strip--old stomping grounds of Mötley Crüe, Guns N' Roses and many a metal megaband in between--to the troubadour-filled Mariachi Plaza, L.A. is crawling with music cred. And just as those grooves have cross-pollinated (what other city would birth the metal-mariachi group Metalachi?) so have the flavors of the huge resident immigrant populations. Case in point: Kogi Korean tacos, which are so amazing, they helped launch the entire food truck trend.

Pitch-Perfect Night Out in Los Angeles

Fuel Up

Alimento in überhip Silver Lake has made multiple best-new-restaurant lists with creative takes on Italian, such as this escolar (a buttery fish) with eggplant, fennel pollen, almonds and mollica (breadcrumbs à la Italiana). alimentola.com

Escolar with eggplant, fennel pollen, almonds and mollica

Catch a Show

Just across the street, the Satellite is where many an act (Foo Fighters, Beck) played before making it big, and the place is still known as an indie-rock tastemaker. Bonus: There's a pool table where you can shoot a few between sets. thesatellitela.com

Satellite

After-Party

A few blocks away, Thirsty Crow awaits with more than 100 bourbons and a full complement of killer cocktails. If you want to keep things simple, go for the signature Thirsty Crow (whiskey, maraschino, lemon, ginger beer). thirstycrowbar.com

Thirsty Crow

Short on time? Get fab food and music under one roof!

The L.A. metro region is home to the largest Mexican community in the U.S., so you'd be hard-pressed to find better Mexican food and music anywhere else outside Mexico. For an all-in-one experience, hit Casa Sanchez--a mariachi supper club--and try the Chile en Nogada: chile stuffed with pork, beef and fruit, then topped with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. casa-sanchez.com

Cheesy Chicken & Corn Stuffed Chiles

Your Pitch-Perfect Night Out in Nashville

There's no denying this city's roots: country music, honky-tonks and down-home Southern cooking. Still, there's nothing stuck in time about Nashville, now a mecca for rock, jazz and classical musicians--plus some of the country's top (and rising) chefs. One of the best neighborhoods to start sampling the magnificent mashup? Downtown.

Butterfly boots

Fuel Up

At The Southern Steak & Oyster, the celebrated Matt Farley serves up cheffy new takes on local traditions. The Highway, for one, features buttermilk-and-hot- sauce-marinated, panko-breaded, maple-syrup-drizzled chicken atop waffles. thesouthernnashville.com

The Highway

Catch a Show

Ryman Auditorium, onetime home of the Grand Ole Opry--and hallowed haunt of Johnny Cash, June Carter and Loretta Lynn, among others, remains a stellar place to see a show, and the High Victorian Gothic building itself is a stunner. ryman.com

Ryman Auditorium

After-Party

For a quintessential Nashville nightcap, grab a PBR at Robert's Western World, where you shouldn't pass go before ordering the fried pickle spears (they're breaded and served with ranch) from the resident Honky Tonk Grill. robertswesternworld.com

Robert’s Western World

Short on time? Get fab food and music under one roof!

Family Wash, so named for the laundromat it took over to become one of the first music joints in (then mostly residential) East Nashville, has moved to a bigger space to accommodate everyone who turns out to hear the city's top rock, bluegrass and jazz talent. Hit a jazz dinner on Saturday, or try the incredible shepherd's pie any night. And even if you order from the all-day breakfast menu, consider the cocktails on tap. familywash.com

Moussaka-Style Shepherd's Pie

Your Pitch-Perfect Night Out in Seattle

Soulful, a bit rugged and fiercely independent. That's Seattle in a nutshell, whether you're talking music (this is the town that gave us Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana) or food (geoduck clams, anyone?). Even latte leviathan Starbucks began as a revolutionary little storefront in Pike Place Market. So come as you are, grab a doppio, then hit the next big thing: the city's Ballard neighborhood.

Fish Market

Fuel Up

The menu is filled with temptations (hamachi crudo with avocado puree, Persian cucumbers and chiles), but you can also ask the kitchen to surprise you at celeb chef Ethan Stowell's Staple & Fancy. ethanstowellrestaurants.com

Persian cucumbers and chiles

Catch a Show

Whether you want to see rock, nouveau folk or bluegrass, hit the Tractor Tavern. But a word to the wise: Shows often sell out, so get your tickets in advance and prepare for the ever-present line on the sidewalk. tractortavern.com

Tractor Tavern

After-Party

King's Hardware offers up, among other things, amazing Mezcal Mules made with Seattle-brewed Rachel's Ginger Beer. And once you're loosened up, head to the perfect-for-late-night skeeball area. kingsballard.com

King's Hardware

Short on time? Get fab food and music under one roof!

On The Triple Door's main stage, the acts vary from cabaret to rock to Hawaiian country fusion (yes, that's a thing), but the show is always guaranteed to be good--as is the Pacific Rim--inspired food. Try the satays, which pair perfectly with the ginger martini, among other Asian-inspired cocktails. thetripledoor.net

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce