Many street musicians have become a tourist attraction in their own right, known for creating a lively, melodic, or even melancholic atmosphere. For a different kind of musical pilgrimage, here are the best places in the world for street musicians, as recommended by music lovers like you. *
The Galway quays
The streets of Galway are brimming with unique and inventive musicians, such as the busker who made headlines in 2015 by creating a performance out of the pots, pans, kettles, and steel spoons he found in his own kitchen.
While many of Galway’s musicians are self-taught, there are also plenty of classically-trained acts, and the city’s famous Quay Street is one of the most popular pitches for buskers. To catch as many performances as possible stay nearby in the city’s Latin Quarter at The House Hotel.
Nashville's lower Broadway
One of Nashville’s many nicknames is ‘Music City’ and it has an impressive musical history, from Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin to Okkervil River and Spoon. And it’s partly thanks to this musical tradition that the streets today are full of talented professionals.
A popular spot for buskers is lower Broadway, known as Honky Tonk Highway, where live music can be heard from 10am until 3am. If you like the sound of late night music and sleep the Home Suites Nashville are close enough to enjoy the music but far enough away to avoid sleepless nights.
New Orleans, USA
The French Quarter in downtown New Orleans
Royal Street in New Orleans has been described as ‘a music lover's buffet’ and just a few minutes spent on this legendary walkway make it clear why. On any given day you’ll hear a capella groups, calypso bands, blues guitarists, R&B and even opera.
Or, for the city's legendary brass bands, head down to French Street and Jackson Square. Keep the music theme going by booking a room with the Ace Hotel, where a collection of lovingly-maintained guitars are available for guests to borrow.
Colourful Guanajuato in Mexico
Simultaneously one of Mexico’s most colourful and musical cities, you’ll hear music throughout Guanajuato as street musicians compete with the vibrantly-painted buildings to capture your attention. This includes the public transport and it's not uncommon to see an impromptu performance as musicians commute to their next busking pitch.
The three-sided city ‘square’, JardÍn de la Union, attracts all kinds of musical performers and the bandstand is a favourite among traditional mariachi bands. Musically-minded visitors can stay nearby at the equally vibrant Casa del Rector Hotel Boutique y Arte.
Dublin's Grafton Street
Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s main shopping thoroughfares and it is famous for the quality of street musicians who’ve performed there.
Famous buskers include Damien Rice, Ed Sheeran and Dido have both mentioned Grafton Street in their songs, and musicians come from all over the world to try their hand alongside Dublin’s homegrown talent.
Many of the hotels and pubs near Grafton Street also put on their own live shows, such as the Arlington Hotel O’Connell Bridge.
Street musicians in Salvador
As the oldest city in Brazil, Salvador has some of the country’s most deeply-entrenched musical traditions. Street musicians often play an important role in religious ceremonies but there’s also a spontaneous nature to the music that fills Salvador’s streets, with groups of people breaking into song on street corners and musicians improvising instruments from whatever is at hand.
Salvador’s carnival season stretches from December to February and is the best time for music lovers to visit the city. Once you arrive, head to the Pelourinho area, one of the most musical parts of the city, and spend a few nights at the Hostel Galeria 13.
** Our data analysts looked at endorsements for 'street musicians' by Booking.com customers.