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Music Cities of America – Motown, Rock ‘n’ Roll & Chicago Blues

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A musical pilgrimage

Shining the spotlight on the USA’s most legendary musicians, this deep dive into the cities of the Great Lakes celebrates the best of the country’s technological, cultural, and natural marvels. 

The music of the United States comes to life with a journey around the most influential sites in jazz, blues, and Motown’s history. From Muddy Waters, the ‘Father of Chicago Blues’, and the Jackson Five to Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan, walk in the footsteps of the world’s most influential musicians. Discover a wealth of technological wonders, alongside the ground-breaking rhythms that took the world by storm and take in the unspoiled natural landscapes that influenced era-defining American innovation from the Great Lakes to Washington DC, the nation's capital.  

Take to Chicago, with its famous downtown architecture, and discover the city’s vibrant relationship with the blues. Explore the Route 66 Museum, home to an impressive collection of themed memorabilia, in rural Pontiac and trace the main sights of America's ‘Mother Road’. Chart the origins of Detroit’s Motown, the record label that helped put some of the world’s biggest jazz and blues stars on the map, with a tour of its original studio, Hitsville U.S.A. Continue through Motor City, so named for its historic automobile industry, and celebrate American creativity with a visit to the Henry Ford Museum, which showcases technological feats performed in the U.S. Finally, you’ll conclude your tour with a stay in riverside Alexandria with a visit to Washington DC.



What does this price include?

  • Eight nights’ accommodation in Chicago (3 nights), Detroit (2), Cleveland (1) and Alexandria (2), with one night on the aircraft
  • Ample time to explore Chicago
  • A tour of downtown Detroit followed by entry to Hitsville U.S.A, the Motown Museum, and the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
  • A full day in Washington DC
  • Drive along Route 66 with a visit to Pontiac
  • Visit St. Joseph on Lake Michigan and historic Ann Arbor
  • Return flights to Chicago and from Washington DC
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

View a full breakdown of your holiday to help you plan your trip

  • Make the trip across the Atlantic to the USA. You’ll be greeted on arrival by your tour manager before checking into your Chicago hotel and spending your first evening at leisure.  

  • Begin your holiday with an optional tour of the ‘Windy City’, home to the Chicago blues, where you’ll experience the bustling city streets that once hosted the likes of Muddy Waters, the ‘Father of the Chicago Blues’ and Willy Dixon. You’ll start at the renowned Macy’s, with a self-guided audio tour of this National Historic Landmark located on State Street where you’ll also find hundreds of shopping outlets.  

    Next, you’ll travel 103 floors up to Chicago’s highest building, the John Hancock Centre. With its minimalist, glass panel design, this striking structure promises spectacular views over the city and to Lake Michigan.  

    The final highlight of the day is a cruise, allowing you to gaze up at the city’s tallest landmarks from the Chicago River. The terracotta-faced Wrigley Building and neo-gothic Tribune Tower mark the start of a cruise encompassing all three of the Chicago River’s branches. You’ll then travel beneath the DuSable Bridge, a moveable overpass, before passing by the Salt Shed, where Chicago’s music industry continues to thrive. Keep an eye out for the Art Deco Lyric Opera House as you round out your tour on the river’s southern banks.  

    Alternatively, you can spend a day at leisure instead from the comfort of your hotel or amidst Chicago’s shopping areas, cafés, and green spaces. However you choose to spend your day, enjoy downtime this evening to enjoy the city’s nightlife.  

  • Set off along infamous Route 66 today. Deeply ingrained in popular culture, this iconic road stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles and spans over 2,400 miles. Today’s journey through Illinois will take you to some of its most recognisable landmarks, beginning with the original signpost, which marks its starting point.  

    You’ll then travel along the Mother Road, towards Pontiac, Michigan - a town steeped in Americana. Experience the distinctly rural atmosphere of small-town America with visits to Pontiac's charming collection of cafés, diners, and stores. Spend time admiring the town’s 25 colourful, outdoor murals, which showcase Pontiac’s economic, social, and political past, as well as the world’s largest Route 66 shield.  

    The Pontiac Museum Complex, home to the Route 66 Hall of Fame, is worth checking out with its collection of 1960s memorabilia. The museum also features a Music of the Civil War exhibit, which charts the social origins of jazz and blues. A short walk down the street, you can also discover the cultural impact classic cars had on towns and cities across America with a visit to the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum.  

    After a busy day’s exploration, you’ll travel back along Route 66 to Chicago. 

  • Leave Chicago this morning for a drive along the Lake Michigan waterfront to Detroit, the home of Motown.  

    You’ll stop off in the city of St. Joseph. Set on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, this city has two historic lighthouses, which acted as important beacons for ships crossing the Great Lakes for almost 200 years. There will be time to take in the panoramic views over the water and have lunch on your account.  

    Your second stop of the day will be vibrant Ann Arbor, famous for its cultural sites and research institutions. For those interested in American history, the city’s University of Michigan campus offers a range of buildings, from the Museum of Natural History to the ornate Law Quadrant. You can also explore its walkable downtown and wander around Gallup Park on the Huron River.  

    Finally, continue to Detroit, where you’ll check into your hotel. 

  • This morning you’ll take on Detroit, the birthplace of Motown. Feel the soulful rhythm of the city this morning as you discover its rich history with an orientation of its downtown and lakefront areas. Starting on the banks of Lake St. Clair, drive through Hart Plaza, a public square that hosts the district’s annual ‘Jazz Fest’, and the Fox Theatre, known for hosting famous Motown musicians. After a short drive north, you’ll come upon Cadillac Place, formerly the General Motors Building, which once housed one of America’s most prolific car manufacturers.  

    You’ll then immerse yourself in the world of Motown music, with a visit to the world-renowned Hitsville U.S.A. which propelled musical legends, from Diana Ross and the Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, to Marvin Gaye, to stardom. This building, previously the record label’s original headquarters, now houses the Motown Museum, which celebrates the ‘Sound of Young America’ which rose to worldwide fame in the 1960s. You’ll be guided by a local who will reveal the stories behind the wide collection of artefacts, memorabilia, and original sheet music, and see Studio One, where some of the greatest jazz and blues performers of all time recorded.  

    Nicknamed ‘Motor City’ largely due to the work of Henry Ford, Detroit was once considered the automobile capital of the world. A visit to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex, showcases the technological feats of America through the century. Named for its founder, the property now preserves culturally significant items and memorabilia. Highlights include the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, the Rosa Parks bus, and Thomas Edison’s laboratory.  

  • This morning, your musical pilgrimage will take you to the rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world, Cleveland.  

    On arrival, you’ll head over to Cleveland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, set in an impressive glass pyramid and offering an insight into the development of one of the world’s most celebrated genres throughout the ages. You can start by discovering the trailblazers that propelled rock to popularity, like Robert Johnson, the world’s first rockstar.  

    You can then catch a live performance on the Klipsch Stage before continuing to The Garage, which emulates a rock studio and the Hall of Fame where rockstars, from Bob Dylan and AC-DC to Johnny Cash and The Beatles, are displayed in an immersive gallery. The museum also pays ode to one of the best rock albums of all time, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and the ‘Legends of Rock’ exhibit celebrates the genre’s far-reaching impact on wider modern culture.  

    Head back to the hotel this evening.  

  • You’ll board the coach this morning and drive to beautiful Alexandria with its welcoming, old-world downtown on the banks of the Potomac River and to check into your hotel.

  • Take breakfast early this morning and cross the Potomac into Washington DC where you’ll have time to explore the city at your leisure. Alternatively, for a closer view of the American capital, you can join an optional morning tour of some of Capitol Hill’s most iconic sights.

    Take in the domed Capitol building, one of the central pillars of American politics, which houses the nation’s Senate and House of Representatives. Here, you’ll also find the Library of Congress and the US’ Supreme Court Building. Stops at a collection of poignant memorials follow, dedicated to some of the most influential events and figures in North America’s history, with calls at the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. You can also catch a glimpse of the country’s famous White House, the official residence of the US’ president, from the pristine lawns of the National Mall.

    This afternoon, you’ll be free to find lunch and enjoy the city at your own leisure, perhaps paying a visit to some of Washington DC’s world-class museums and galleries. From the Smithsonian Institution, a research complex which houses ten different museums, to the National Portrait Gallery and Constitution Gardens, there’ll be plenty of captivating attractions to discover in the US’ capital.

  • Enjoy picturesque Alexandria under your own steam. Why not watch the world go by from the Potomac waterfront or delve into the rich history of the city’s historic downtown areas?

    If you’d prefer, you can also opt to join a tour to Mount Vernon - the former residence and plantation of the USA’s first president, George Washington – with guided tours of the mansion and grounds.

    Built and expanded throughout the 18th century, the Mount Vernon Mansion has presided over the United States’ entire history, from its secession from the British Empire to the modern day and is rife with stories just waiting to be discovered. You’ll get a glimpse into the triumphs of one of the country’s most celebrated leaders, and the lives of the slaves that helped shape the estate throughout the centuries, with a guided tour of the mansion itself. You’ll then have the chance to learn about the estate’s agricultural history with a guided tour of the grounds, complete with five farms and tobacco plantations, ahead of stops at the estate’s working gristmill and whiskey distilleries. Finally, round out your tour with a visit to the Washington family tombs, the final resting place of America’s first president.

    Later this evening, you’ll return to the airport for your overnight flight home.

  • You’ve reached the swansong of your time in the USA and Canada, landing back home with musical memories to last a lifetime  

Dates & Prices

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Hotels

Music Cities of America – Motown, Rock ‘n’ Roll & Chicago Blues Touring hotels

You'll be staying in a series of comfortable hotels that are conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

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Further Information

  • This itinerary has been changed since our brochure went to print and varies from that shown in the brochure. The last two nights are now spent in Alexandria, close to Washington DC, as opposed to Niagara Falls. The remainder of the itinerary and overall duration remains unchanged. 

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.

  • When travelling to the USA, British citizens require passports with an integrated chip (shown on the front by a small rectangular symbol beneath the word PASSPORT), valid beyond the return date from the USA. Visas are not normally required for entry, but visitors must apply for an ESTA online with US Immigration at least 72 hours before departure at www.cbp.gov/esta. The current charge is $21 for British Citizens. British subjects and anyone who has a criminal record or has ever been arrested should consult the US Embassy as a visa may be required. Note too that if you have visited North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011, or Cuba since 12 January 2021, or have dual nationality with any of these countries, you do require a US visa and cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

  • Gratuities are a way of life in North America, and it is generally accepted that they form part of a person's earnings. The customary gratuity for a coach driver or Tour Manager is about $5 per person per day. It is normal to tip 15-20 per cent of the bill for a taxi or in a restaurant, and to leave a dollar or so per drink in a bar.

  • Smoking is not permitted on any coach forming part of your holiday; regular stops will be made though for your comfort en route. The majority of hotels in North America are non-smoking throughout including in all bedrooms. In general smoking outside is acceptable, but do look out for signs prohibiting this close to public entrances or bus stops.

  • All outbound flights depart and arrive on the same day. All return flights leave in the evening and land in the UK the next day. On-board meals will usually include lunch and a snack on outward flights, and dinner and breakfast on flight home. Soft drinks are complimentary, but some airlines will charge for alcoholic drinks.

  • You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

  • Standard hotel rooms in North America will contain one or two double- or queen-sized beds, and it is not possible to add extra beds to the room. Parties consisting of more than two travellers, but who have only booked one room, will be expected to make use of the two beds provided. If this is a concern, you may wish to consider booking more than one room for your group.

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