Welcome to the “Windy City.” Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Start the day with an included sightseeing tour and see all the landmarks of this exciting city. This afternoon is at leisure. Ride the elevator to the top of Sears Tower, stroll in Grant Park along the waterfront, or take an optional cruise on Lake Michigan. This evening you might enjoy dinner on the Navy Pier with its collection of shops and restaurants.
Day 3Chicago–St. Louis
Travel across the fertile Illinois farmlands today to St. Louis, the “Gateway to the West.” Your orientation tour includes a trip to the top of the towering GATEWAY ARCH, which commemorates the city’s key role in westward expansion. Be sure to visit the museum under the Arch, celebrating the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark 200 hundred years ago.
Day 4St. Louis–Nashville
Start today’s journey by re-crossing the Mississippi River and rolling southeast to Paducah on the Ohio River. Late-afternoon arrival in Nashville. Tonight you have reserved seats for a show at the world-famous GRAND OLE OPRY, a mecca for country musicians.
Start the day with a sightseeing tour of Nashville’s famous landmarks and the recording studios of Music Row. We’ll tour historic RCA STUDIO B, the cradle of the “Nashville Sound” in the 1960s. Hitmakers in Studio B include such stars as Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, Willie Nelson, and the Everly Brothers. Afterward, visit the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME with its glittering costumes, rare instruments, and Elvis Presley’s “solid-gold” Cadillac!
Cross Tennessee today to Memphis, the “Home of the Blues” and a city with a distinct Southern flavor. Enjoy an orientation tour on arrival. Join the optional excursion that visits famous Sun Studio, where rock ‘n’ roll was first recorded, followed by dinner at a local Memphis restaurant.
Day 7Memphis. Graceland Visit
A good portion of the day is devoted to GRACELAND, Elvis Presley’s beautiful estate. Your platinum audio tour focuses on the splendid garden, private plane, and the opulent 15,000-squarefoot mansion. Return to Memphis mid-afternoon. Tonight you may want to visit a blues club on famous Beale Street.
Day 8Memphis–Amtrak City Of New Orleans Train–Lafayette
Providing the locomotion for today’s journey through the state of Mississippi and into the Mississippi River delta is the CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, the famous train of story and song. Pass cotton fields and catfish ponds as the train enters Louisiana. In Hammond, leave the train and board a motorcoach for the short drive into the heart of Cajun Country to Lafayette, first settled by French-Acadian farmers expelled from Nova Scotia by the British in the 1700s.
Day 9Lafayette–New Orleans
On to St. Martinville to see the famous oak tree from Longfellow’s poem, Evangeline. Next, board your boat for a CRUISE through the winding, swampy waterways of the Atchafalaya Basin. If you are lucky, you might spot alligators basking on the banks. Then, cross Bayou Country into New Orleans.
Day 10New Orleans
The morning is dedicated to the sights and sounds of this Old World city. First, visit the French Quarter including St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. Next, learn about the city’s unique burial customs at an above-ground cemetery, followed by a leisurely drive down historic St. Charles Avenue to enjoy its stately mansions and clanging streetcars. The afternoon and evening are free for independent activities.
Day 11New Orleans
'Dixieland' sound was made popular throughout the world by New Orleans' own Louis Armstrong. Today be part of the action at the 43rd Annual Jazz & Heritage Festival. Your 1-day pass let’s you experience some of the hottest names in music from around the world. Don't miss the food, crafts and music, which make this festival one of the best of its kind and the best Louisiana has to offer.Note:Roundtrip transportation to the Jazz Fest grounds is included in your Jazz Fest package.
Day 12New Orleans
The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to the New Orleans International Airport are included.
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