The 1960s was a time of dramatic changes in politics and pop culture. Anti-war sentiments and civil rights activism intertwined with music and art. These unlikely combinations made for one of history’s most tumultuous and remarkable decades. These places offer a walk back in time for nostalgia and travel buffs who want to reminisce on and revisit 1960s America.
1. Andy Warhol Museum
Andy Warhol, the ultimate 1960s pop artist, has a museum in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, exclusively dedicated to his art, film, and music career. The museum boasts the world’s most extensive collection of his art, including silkscreen celebrity images and archives of his numerous works.
2. Café Wha?
Café Wha?, located in New York’s Greenwich Village, was one of the most essential musical spots of the 1960s. Performers like The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix held court there. After being closed for nearly 20 years, Café Wha? reopened once again as a venue for live shows.
3. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Dallas, Texas, site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is a National Historic Landmark, which serves to preserve the site as it was in 1963. The museum itself is located inside the former Texas School Book Depository building. It contains exhibits and artifacts related to the history of Dealey Plaza before and after the assassination, as well as President Kennedy’s legacy.
4. International Civil Rights Center & Museum
Opposition to the whites-only lunch counter policy at Woolworth’s department store in Greensboro, North Carolina, began the peaceful sit-in protest movement by four Black university students in 1960. As the sit-in protests spread, the segregationist policies at Woolworths gradually became repealed. The original lunch counter has been restored and is in its original spot in the building.
5. Kennedy Space Center
In 1961, then-President Kennedy committed to an American moon landing before the end of the decade. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to see his promise fulfilled by the Apollo 11 crew in 1969. The Cape Canaveral launch site isn’t open to visitors, but the adjacent Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida, is open to the public and chronicles the moon landing, and has exhibits and artifacts from other space missions.
6. Lincoln Memorial
The memorial in Washington, D.C., in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, was also the site of the legendary 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which brought more than 250,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. King and other dignitaries speak. It is considered one of the main reasons for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
7. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
This preserved district in Atlanta, Georgia, pays tribute to Dr. King and includes his birthplace, Ebenezer Baptist Church, his childhood church, a bronze monument, and his gravesite. Atlanta’s number one tourist destination is dedicated to Dr. King’s life and activism and includes a theater, visitor center, and gallery.
8. Motown Museum
After purchasing a house in Detroit, Michigan, and converting it to Motown’s recording studio and headquarters, Berry Gordy didn’t take long to call it “Hitsville U.S.A.” The Motown name was synonymous with 1960s soul music. The museum includes photographs and artifacts from legendary Motown artists, such as a fedora and sequined glove from Michael Jackson.
9. Whisky a Go Go
Opening in 1964, Whisky a Go Go is a music spot that saw acts such as the Byrds, Janis Joplin, and The Doors cross its storied threshold. As the name implies, the Los Angeles, California, venue also helped to make go-go dancing a trend. It still hosts live musical acts of contemporary performers and tribute bands today.
10. Woodstock Festival Site at Bethel Woods
Bethel, New York, is the site of the iconic 1969 music festival that will forever symbolize the 1960s. The field where the three-day event occurred is preserved with the addition of the Museum at Bethel Woods, which has exhibits, short films, and programs for guests of all ages.
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