America’s Musical Cities

At a glance

From £2,259pp | 12 day independent rail tour | departs April to November 2017/18

  • Blues clubs of Chicago
  • Stunning views of the ‘Windy City’ from the John Hancock Tower
  • Graceland the home of Elvis Presley and the Sun Studios in Memphis
  • Southern hospitality, Cajun cuisine and Plantation homes
  • New Orleans jazz clubs and the historic French Quarter
  • The ‘City of New Orleans’ train journey
  • Steamboat jazz cruise on the Mississippi river


Days 1 to 3 | Chicago

Arrive at Chicago in the early evening of day one. The city is known fondly as everyone's "kinda town" because Chicago is a city for all tastes. As lovely as Paris, with its striking architecture and leafy parks, as entertaining as London and as bustling as New York.

There are world class art galleries and museums, vibrant theatres, intimate blues and jazz clubs and comedy bars. There are acres of green spaces and the city even has a beach along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Getting around Chicago is easy with the Loop Skytrain in the central area, buses or the subway. The best introduction to the city is the 'Inside Chicago' tour which we've included in this holiday. On this six-hour tour you'll visit the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower, where you can enjoy incredible views over the city and Lake Michigan, plus stops at Soldier Field, Adler Planetarium, Wrigley Field and you’ll pass through Barack Obama's old residential neighbourhood amongst other Windy City attractions.

In the 1920s 'The Mob' ruled the city. Learn about the likes of John Dillinger, Jack 'Machine Gun' McGurn, Baby Face Nelson and Al Capone on the fascinating 'Untouchables' Mob history tour of the city!

In the evening, be sure to visit some of our favourite blues venues - Buddy Guy's Legends, Green Mill, House of Blues and Kingston Mines. Or you could jump on a luxury yacht for a dinner cruise along Lake Michigan, with the city's famous skyscrapers as your backdrop.

Day 4 | Overnight train from Chicago

You'll have plenty of time in the day to browse the shops along the famous Magnificent Mile or hop on a river cruise and enjoy the city's impressive architecture. You then board The City of New Orleans evening train for your overnight trip to Memphis, the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll.

All accommodation and meals are included onboard. Train journey: 11 hours

Days 5 to 7 | Memphis

Memphis is a sound, a groove and a rhythm that races through your soul.

Stroll along Beale Street and listen to the blues bands in many of the local bars. We recommend BB Kings, Rum Boogie Cafe or you could take a walk on the wild side at Wild Bill's.

Visit Graceland, a shrine to 'The King' and re-live the history of the era as you tour this elegant mansion. Pop into Sun Studio's and hear about the great recording artist's that frequented this surprisingly small studio. Stroll through the National Civil Rights Museum at the infamous Lorraine Motel, or visit Slave Haven at The Burkle Estate and learn about the secret Underground Railroad network that the slaves used to escape their masters.

Entrance to Graceland, Sun Studios, Stax and Rock 'n' Soul Museum is included during your stay in Memphis.

Days 8 to 11 | New Orleans

Depart Memphis early this morning for the nine hour journey aboard the City of New Orleans train to the city fondly known as the ‘Big Easy’. New Orleans is truly like no other city in America. To enjoy this destination you're staying in the very heart and soul of the city, the French Quarter, famous for its ornate balconies, unique architecture and joie de vivre.

Jackson Square is the place to sit, sip a cafe au lait and sample a beignet! Jump on the St Charles Streetcar for a true feel for the city and its beautiful neighbourhoods. The Garden District with its antebellum mansions is a must.

No visit is complete without a cruise on an authentic Mississippi paddle steamer, a visit to the Mardi Gras Museum, a cookery lesson in the Cajun School of Cookery or a peak into one of New Orleans many mysterious Voodoo shops.

Pace yourself though, at night the French Quarter pulsates with live music, dancing and some of the best restaurants in the USA. The venues we recommend are Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, Preservation Hall, The Spotted Cat, The Palm Court Cafe and Napoleon House.

To make the most of your stay in this fascinating city we've included a walking tour through the nooks and crannies of the French Quarter and a jazz cruise on the mighty Mississippi.

Also, just a short drive from New Orleans is the famous 'Great River Road', home to Louisiana's plantation homes. We've included a morning visit to one of these mansions, Oak Alley. A southern belle will guide you around this home, built in 1827 and tell you tales of plantation life in the 18th century.

Day 12 | Depart New Orleans

Depart New Orleans today.....unless.....

You might want to add on a few days in Nashville, the home of Country music, and enjoy a performance at the Grand Ole Opry? What about the live music capital of the USA - Austin, Texas? We’ll be happy to tailor-make your ideal musical holiday.


What's included

What’s included:

  • return international flights from the UK
  • rail travel on the City of New Orleans train, including a night onboard between Chicago and Memphis in a roomette including meals
  • 10 nights in 4-star hotels in sought-after locations
  • 3 nights in the 4-star Palmer House Hilton
  • 1 night on the City of New Orleans train
  • 4 nights in the 4-star Chateau LeMoyne in the French Quarter of New Orleans
  • 3 nights in the 4-star Sheraton Hotel, Memphis
  • city tour of Chicago
  • admission to Graceland, Sun Studios and the Rock ‘n’ Soul museum
  • Steamboat Jazz cruise on the Mississippi
  • New Orleans French Quarter walking tour
  • Oak Alley Plantation tour

Dates and prices

from £2,259pp

12 day independent rail tour

Departs: April to November 2017/18

Price based on 2 persons

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