Magical Mystery Tour: Top 15 Beatles Landmarks in America
Contributed by Nicole Tomassetti
Looking for fun road trip ideas? If you’re a fan of the popular rock group The Beatles, consider a themed cross-country road trip—your very own magical mystery tour—to visit famous landmarks associated with John, Paul, George and Ringo. From the beginning of their journey in New York to the last live concert in San Francisco, you can’t miss these 15 legendary Beatles sites in America.
Eastern United States
- JFK International Airport – Once “I Want to Hold Your Hand” gave The Beatles their first No. 1 hit in America, the Fab Four arrived in New York on Friday, Feb. 7, 1964, and were greeted by more than 3,000 screaming fans. A now-legendary press conference was also held at the airport, where the musicians charmed the fans and press alike with their witty answers and playful personalities.
- The Plaza Hotel – Quickly besieged by fans, this hotel is where the group stayed while in New York. During their stay, George Harrison became ill with strep throat and a high fever and had to stay in their suite for much of the visit. Press conferences took place in the Terrace and Baroque Rooms on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10.
- CBS Studios – Home to the Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles played to a U.S. audience for the first time here on Feb. 9, 1964, to a studio audience of more than 700 fans. The Beatles also broke television-viewing records with an estimated 73 million people tuning in to see the performance.
- Washington Coliseum – This historic, sold-out show marks The Beatles’ first live concert performance, which was delivered on a rotating stage to more than 8,000 fans on Feb. 11, 1964.
- Carnegie Hall – On Feb. 12, 1964, the band returned to New York to play to a sold-out audience for two 34-minute sessions. Backstage, The Beatles received a gold disc for selling one million copies of “She Loves You.” More than 300 police officers were on hand to keep the lads protected.
- Shea Stadium – John, Paul, George and Ringo returned to tour the United States in 1965 with Shea Stadium on the list of venues—one of the most iconic Beatles’ landmarks in America. Forging a path to be followed by future musicians, this concert was the first of its kind to be held in a stadium, and audience of more than 55,000 was the largest ever.
- Dakota/Strawberry Fields – In his post-Beatles career, John Lennon moved into the historic Dakota Building with wife, Yoko Ono, in 1973. He lived here until his tragic death on Dec. 8, 1980. Yoko continues to live in their apartment to this day. Just across the street is a memorial dedicated to John—the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park. The main attraction in Strawberry Fields is a large Italian “Imagine” mosaic. Fans continue to flock here year-round, especially to commemorate Lennon’s birthday and mourn his death.
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock Hall maintains one of the largest Beatles exhibits. Here you can see the leather jackets the band wore in their Hamburg days, admire their Rickenbacker guitars, be mesmerized by handwritten lyrics, and more.
Western United States
- Hollywood Bowl – To meet the market’s demand for a live album, The Beatles released a compilation of recordings from their appearances at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and 1965. To date, this is the only live concert album officially released by the group. These recordings continue to live on, as part of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was mixed with the studio version for the “Love” album in 2006.
- Candlestick Park – A stadium located in San Francisco, the concert at Candlestick Park in 1966 marked the end of touring for the Fab Four—though this was never officially announced.
- Haight-Ashbury – During the infamous Summer of Love in 1967, George Harrison and then-wife Patti Boyd were curious to learn more about the youth movement. Though not impressed with what he saw, George did take his guitar and led a group of followers in song as they walked throughout the famed Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
- Capitol Records – Though the famous tower on Hollywood and Vine is no longer headquarters to the band’s U.S. record label, Capitol Records continues to keep an office there for a West Coast presence.
- Hollywood Walk of Fame – As of 2012, all four Beatles, as well as the group as a whole, had dedicated stars on the Walk of Fame in front of the Capitol Records building.
- Madame Tussauds – Take advantage of your very own opportunity to meet The Beatles when you visit their lifelike wax figures at Madame Tussuads in Las Vegas. The famous wax museum also has a location in New York City.
- Las Vegas – The Mirage Hotel is currently home to Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE.” The show was conceived with the help of George Harrison and pays tribute to The Beatles’ legendary music and journey throughout the ’60s. Paul, Ringo, Yoko and other members of The Beatles’ inner circle also collaborated on the show.
Before you grab your “ticket to ride” and visit all or a few of these landmarks on your Beatles-themed road trip, make sure you’re well prepared for your journey. Choose which Beatles landmarks you’ll visit, then map out your route, including rest stops along the way. Also check your vehicle insurance policy to ensure you’ll be covered on the road. Consider updating your coverage by getting an insurance quote that includes Roadside Assistance—just in case you need a tow or jump-start while you’re traveling.
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