Commencing in the ‘Windy City’ of Chicago, America's third-largest city, head south and experience the tastes and sounds of this exciting part of the USA. Drive the bourbon trail in Kentucky, visit the ‘Music City’ of Nashville and the land of the Delta Blues – Memphis. The finale is the iconic New Orleans, otherwise known as ‘The Big Easy’ where the sound of music floating through the French Quarter and the smell of Cajun and Creole cuisine on every cobbled street will create memories for each of the senses.
• 12 nights’ accommodation
• Car hire (intermediate car, fully inclusive package)
• A personalised Roadbook containing essential travel information, hotel vouchers and customised day-by-day route maps
Day 1 - Chicago
Arrive into Chicago O’Hare International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. This evening enjoy Chicago’s many restaurants, stroll along the shore of Lake Michigan or jive to the beat at a jazz or blues club. Overnight in Chicago.
Day 2 - Chicago
Today explore some of Chicago’s noted sites. In the morning you may want to visit the neighbouring town of Oak Park and see the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway, or tour one of the homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In downtown Chicago visit the Museum campus or shop along the Magnificent Mile. In the evening stop by Navy Pier for a cruise along the lake. Overnight in Chicago.
Day 3 - Chicago to Indianapolis (295 km)
Pick up your car this morning and head south to Indianapolis. Take time to explore Fountain Square this afternoon. This historic neighbourhood has a town square and central fountain like a European village. The thriving artist community blends retro and new art influences in its architecture and style, creating a funky mix of independent, one-of-a-kind destinations. This evening, dine in one of the Wholesale district’s signature restaurants. Overnight in Indianapolis.
Day 4 - Indianapolis to Louisville (183 km)
Before departing ”Indie” visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is the world's largest spectator facility. One could fit the Roman Coliseum, Vatican City, Wimbledon Campus, Rose Bowl, Yankee Stadium and Churchill Downs inside the 2.5-mile oval. Since 1911, the Speedway has been the home of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", the Indianapolis 500. Then head to Louisville, the capital of Bourbon country. This afternoon explore Museum Row and the civic district. Here you’ll find Whiskey Row, the site of Louisville's first distillery, the Museums on Main and other points of historical interest. This evening an Old-Fashioned cocktail is a must at Brown Hotel Lobby Bar. Overnight in Louisville.
Day 5 - Louisville
Today take in Thoroughbred Racing at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, or just visit its shop to get some souvenirs. You can also drive along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to visit a couple of the region’s important distilleries; Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey are just a few of the distilleries conducting tours and tastings...but not too many – you’re driving! Overnight in Louisville.
Day 6 - Louisville to Nashville (280 km)
Continuing south, arrive in Nashville. The downtown area of Nashville features a diverse assortment of entertainment, dining, cultural and architectural attractions. But it’s best known as “Music City”. Start your tour of Nashville at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Rhinestone costumes, seasoned instruments and tear-stained lyric sheets are only the beginning. Here you can also take a tour of Historic RCA Studio B – where Elvis and others recorded over 35,000 songs. This evening, enjoy the area between Broadway and 2nd Avenue, filled with entertainment venues, night clubs and an assortment of restaurants. Overnight in Nashville.
Day 7 - Nashville
This morning tour the Grand Ole Opry House. Guides provide a rare glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of the world's most famous country music show. In the afternoon visit Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 and designated a National Historic Landmark; you can take a self-guided museum tour, a guided backstage tour or even record a CD in the new Ryman Recording Studio. Return for a show or concert in the evening at this premier performance hall. Overnight in Nashville.
Day 8 - Nashville to Memphis (341 km)
Visit Belle Meade Plantation en route to Memphis; once a 5,400-acre world-renowned thoroughbred horse farm, today it is a 30-acre historical site. Period costumed interpreters guide visitors through the 1853 Greek Revival mansion. Also on site are seven historic outbuildings, including The Winery at Belle Meade Plantation. On arrival into Memphis where the roots of blues, country and gospel music formed in the 1930s, begin your visit at The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum. Learn about the explosion of Sun Studio and Memphis’ musical heyday in the 70s to its global musical influence. Stroll at your own pace through the seven galleries featuring audio visual programs, instruments, costumes and other musical treasures. Overnight in Memphis.
Day 9 - Memphis
No visit to Memphis is complete without a tour of Graceland. Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and learn of Elvis’ humble beginnings through his rise to superstardom. See how a rock ‘n’ roll legend lived and relaxed with family and friends. The Graceland experience includes Graceland mansion, Elvis' Automobile Museum and Elvis' custom jets. This afternoon and evening spend time on Beale Street, the melting pot of delta blues, jazz, rock-n-roll, R&B and gospel. Enjoy the rich, spicy food of the south, a cold brew and hot music. Overnight in Memphis.
Day 10 - Memphis to Vicksburg (402 km)
Depart Memphis and head to Vicksburg and take a visit to Vicksburg National Military Park; the park was established by Congress in 1899 to commemorate one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War. It includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of reconstructed trenches and earthworks, a 16 mile tour road, an antebellum home, 144 emplaced cannons, the restored Union gunboat USS Cairo and the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Overnight in Vicksburg.
Day 11 - Vicksburg to New Orleans (299 km)
Steeped in a history of influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond, New Orleans is one of America's most culturally and historically rich destinations. This afternoon tour some of the city’s various neighbourhoods; in the Garden District homes are still known by the names of the families that built them over a century ago and the Arts District features the national World War II Museum and the Contemporary Arts Centre. Of course, the French Quarter is the most famous New Orleans neighbourhood. Filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars, it is a unique place to spend the evening. Overnight in New Orleans.
Day 12 - New Orleans
There are 20 historic districts on the National Register in New Orleans, more than any other city in the United States. Inside these districts, an array of architectural styles from different time periods and cultures are reflected in individual homes and buildings. Visit homes such as the 1850 House, the Beauregard-Keyes Home and Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, a grand southern mansion surrounded by the some of the South's most beautiful gardens. Overnight in New Orleans.
Day 13 - New Orleans & end of tour
Before departing New Orleans, make time to enjoy a traditional Louisiana Creole Brunch at Brennan’s. Located in the French Quarter, breakfast at Brennan’s is a tradition among New Orleans natives.Want to alter anything?
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