With 20 states & 2 Canadian provinces, get ready to go local. Start in the Big Apple before it’s all about Canada, America’s Great Lakes & Chicago en route to the American West. Chill at 4 National Parks before LAS Vegas.
Meet up with your Contiki crew and Trip Manager in New York City, before we hit the road and drop by Providence, Rhode Island's capital city. Next up is Boston. Home to the Red Sox (the famous baseball team), many creative thinkers and historic rebels, this thriving university town is soaked in history and packed with things to do. Your Trip Manager will introduce the group to Boston’s core spots. You’ll see Boston Common – the city’s oldest park – and the historic Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall, which served as a meeting place for those wanting independence from England and for slavery to end. Get to know your crew and Trip Manager over dinner tonight, before exploring more of the city in a fun night out. With everything from indie bands to nightclubs, there’s something for everyone.
With a full day here, you’ll get a feel for this user-friendly city, which is easy to explore on foot. In your free time, walk through a living time line and follow Boston’s famous Freedom Trail, which takes you past 2 and a half centuries of history. Learn about Boston’s rebellious role on its road to independence as you explore the cobbled lanes and historic hot spots. Discover more of Boston. Pound the pavements or choose our optional Hop-on-Hop-off trolley tour and cover more of the city. You’ll get the background on Boston’s famous Tea Party, when Boston citizens threw tons of tea into the harbour in protest against the British Crown. Head back to Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market for a bit of souvenir shopping and a dose of history. Dubbed the “Cradle of Liberty” this famous brick building has played a key role in the city for over 250 years. Check out the stalls loaded with New England’s crafts, pick up some Boston-made items and order some local food at a push cart eatery or restaurant. For a bit of the local lifestyle, take in the waterfront by following the Haborwalk. Made up of 62.8 km (39miles) of paths weaving through diverse neighborhoods, it is a great way to experience Boston’s maritime flavour and see its working ports in action. Get into the city’s café culture on Italian flavoured Hanover Street in Boston’s oldest residential district. Sip on a cappuccino as you take in the city’s iconic brick architecture. If you just want to relax, kick back with the locals and people-watch in one of the nine parks that make up the city’s “Emerald Necklace”. You could return to Boston Common, where public hangings took place in the old days, – now it’s a great place to hang out.
With the luck of the Irish, we pack our bags without leaving anything behind and make for Quebec via the wilds of Maine. Whizzing by jaw-dropping scenery and spotting the occasional moose out the window is sure to give you a second wind before we cross the border to Canada.
Step back in time in Quebec’s old-town as your Local Guide opens up the UNESCO World Heritage listed center. As you walk through this open-air museum, complete with cobbled streets and 17th century stone houses you’ll learn about its history. With free time, discover more of the fortified city. Check out the Citadel, ancient point of defense, complete with a traditional changing of the guard. Otherwise, follow the city walls and uncover little boutiques and galleries tucked away within the time-worn streets. With its European heritage, Quebec has a buzzing café culture that fills its historic center. For lunch, grab a table in a Parisian style bistro and try some of the local specialties like tourtière québecois (meat pie) or duckling with maple syrup. Kick back and listen to the locals speaking French. For views over the St. Lawrence River, walk along Dufferin Terrace, Quebec City’s most famous boardwalk. If you’re keen for a slice of Canada’s diverse history, get the low-down on the people of French-Canada at the Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization) See how the building cleverly blends both new design and old buildings. Otherwise, don’t forget to visit the iconic Chateau Frontenac in the heart of the old town.
Continue on to the island city of Montreal. A happening hub and home to the famous Montreal Jazz festival, this hot, creative city mixes up a North American feel with French influence. It also has amazing food and is thriving with festivities. Get familiar with the city when we arrive. Catch some of Montreal’s relaxed vibes down at the Old Port and get the background on its maritime history as the group drives around the quays. The well-preserved riverside old-town was a key player in early Montreal’s development. Then, we’ll take a drive up Mt Royal, which serves up sweeping views over the city. Check out this enormous park that was designed by the same person who landscaped New York’s famous Central Park. Your Trip Manager will show you some of Montreal’s signature sites. See the copper dome of St Joseph’s oratory, the biggest monument built to honor Canada’s patron saint. You’ll get a look at Montreal’s most famous architectural curiosity: the 1976 Olympic stadium, complete with the world’s tallest inclined tower. For some action, hit the rapids of the St Lawrence River in an adrenaline-pumping optional jet-boat ride, and experience another side of Montreal.
With a free day ahead of you, explore Montreal’s creative core and joie de vivre (joy of living). See some of the city’s innovations, like the world-famous Biodome, where you can walk through different eco-systems, from ocean fronts to woodlands, and get up close to all sorts of wildlife. Montreal is a great place to shop. On St Laurent Boulevard (it’s affectionately dubbed “The Main”) look through cutting-edge boutiques, jewelery stores and artists’ workshops. Otherwise just hang out in an outdoor café among the throngs of people and get a real feel for Montreal’s street life. For a different shopping experience, head underground to Montreal’s famous underground-city. With 19 miles of shops and restaurants right under the heart of the city, it’s got it all. Lunchtime: go local and head to Jean-Talon Market, with its bustling stalls and friendly atmosphere. Try some tasty baked goods, fresh produce or delicious snacks, like calamari and chips. Then kick back with some of the best coffee in town from near-by Little Italy. Tonight, explore Montreal’s amazing nightlife with some friends. There’s so much to choose from – jazz bars in the down town area, the student vibes of the Latin Quarter, the clubs of Rue St. Catherine or the festive outdoor atmosphere and cozy lounge bars back up the hill on Mt Royal, where Rue St. Denis is a happening night spot. Afterward, round off your night with a Montreal favorite: poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curd).
As we stick to the St Lawrence River Valley, you’ll see the local fresh water wonder: the 1000 islands of different sizes that are scattered across Lake Ontario and the river. Later, pull into Toronto, Canada’s economic powerhouse, cosmopolitan capital and English speaking heart. Kick start your time here with a few of Toronto’s key spots on a tour around the city. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the iconic CN Tower, North America’s tallest free standing structure at 553 meters. See buzzing Yonge Street, with its designer labels, funky boutiques and diverse stores. Enjoy a look into student life as you check out the University of Toronto, complete with Gothic buildings and ivy covered stone walls.
Toronto is another one of Canada's multi0-cultural hotspots. Maybe catch a baseball game, head to the top of the CN tower, visit Gallery 44 or Toronto Park for people watching. Tonight, feel the global vibe of this city's nightlife.
Head to the surging waters of world-famous Niagara Falls, right on the border of the USA and Canada. Jump on board the Maid of the Mist and cruise along the river to the base of the world’s second largest falls for a closer look. You’ll see the incredible volume of water pouring over the cliff and feel the sheer power of the spray. But don’t worry – there is an included rain poncho! Choose to get a bird’s-eye-view of it all on an optional helicopter ride and check out the falls from both sides of the border. Follow the river’s path and see the tons of water that make up the falls– it’ll make your jaw drop. Later, Enjoy an insider’s look at Toronto’s night life on an optional guided party pub crawl around the city’s hot spots tonight and finish your time off in this city with a night to remember.
We leave Canada behind and continue on to Cleveland, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Once an industrial working man’s town, Cleveland has undergone a musical makeover and a cultural re-awakening. We visit Cleveland’s claim to fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where you can get up close to rock memorabilia like Janis Joplin’s Porsche, Jimi Hendrix’s hand-written lyrics and Ray Charles’ sunglasses. Learn about the history of rock and roll, listen to rare recordings and watch some fascinating films. If you’re keen to get out and about tonight, head to the transformed industrial area, where old buildings and warehouses contain shops, galleries, cafes and a buzzing nightlife.
Today we depart Cleveland and head through America's Midwest towards Chicago. On our way, we’ll turn back the clock with a visit to Amish Country. Next stop: the Great Lakes and Chicago, the USA’s windy second city. Fusing the cutting-edge and the traditional, Chicago serves up innovative architecture, all-American sports, as well as an arts scene that pushes the boundaries yet keeps to its roots. Get to know the city as your Trip Manager shows the group around Chicago’s sporting shrines; Soldier Field, home to the Chicago Bears American football team, and the U.S. Cellular Field, home to the legendary Chicago White Sox. The 110 story Wills Tower and other skyscrapers will make you understand why this town has the highest skyline in the USA, before we cruise down the Magnificent Mile, a shopper’s paradise. This is the hometown of blues great, Muddy Waters. Tonight, maybe head to a back room blues club, for some authentic music, rough and raw. Chicago has some of the best nightlife in the States, so choose from the masses of jazz bars, dance performances, theaters and nightclubs.
This morning, we head to Navy Pier, a central hub of activity on the waterfront. Besides great views and a prime location, Navy Pier has fun rides, restaurants and shops selling trinkets. From here, it’s easy to get out and explore more of Chicago. Use your free time and jump on two wheels to get a wide-ranging overview of the city’s core sights with a Local Guide in a fun optional activity. Or, there’s a chance to learn about the famous architects who helped design the world’s tallest skyline on an architectural cruise. With unrestrained views from the river, you’ll get a good look at the towering buildings. For a dose of some of Chicago’s ground-breaking culture, visit a world-class museum, like the Art Institute of Chicago. For a bit of sporting action, check out if the White Sox or Cubs are playing, and spend an afternoon at the stadium watching a game. If you’re hungry, make sure you try a hot-dog, Chicago style, from a street vendor. Other ideas for your free time include a visit to Lincoln Park, a favorite local hang out. With its beaches, sculptures, a free zoo and big green spaces it’s a great place to relax among the locals. Shopping-wise, a return to the Magnificent Mile is totally recommended. It’s packed with 8 blocks worth of stores and boutiques – in other words over 460 stores to rummage through.
We continue on into the USA’s heartland and across the plains of Wisconsin. Next stop: Milwaukee. It’s home to the nation’s largest beer brewers and to Harley-Davidson. Learn about the city’s famous brew in a behind the scenes look with our Local Guide at the Miller Brewery. Later, we pull into Madison, a friendly college town. If you’re up for a night out, grab a few buddies and hang out among the lively student population on State Street, where there’s a choice of taverns, local specialty breweries, comedy clubs and bars.(B,D)
Cross the Midwest and pretty Minnesota farmlands before hitting the wild and stunning state of South Dakota. We travel across the county’s biggest prairies and enter a region once dominated by the Sioux Tribes – the only Native American Nation to defeat the US army. Arrive in Sioux Falls and get the background behind the city’s name with a visit to Falls Park, where many tribes originally established their homes.
Watch the amazing natural sites of South Dakota go by as we journey through Badlands National Park, past a surreal, lunar landscape of rugged-edged cliffs, sharp spires and crevices. With a stop here there’s time to walk the easy-going Fossil trail, take it all in and see fossils found within the park that are on display.
After reliving in the old Wild West complete with saloons and gambling parlours, we cut across Wyoming. It is here we learn about the Pony Express and cowboy culture. CODY Saddle up and get ready for two nights in the western of Cody. Use your free time here to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the west, or learn the ways of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidalong the Old Trail Town or even catch a true show of professional cowboying at a raucous nighttime rodeo
Cut into Wyoming’s cowboy country and travel across historic routes that the legendary Pony Express (postal service on horseback) used to follow and see where the pioneers lived. Then it’s on to Cody. With pick-up trucks, dusty streets, lots of cattle and legendary beginnings, this ‘rodeo capital of the world’ still has its Wild West charm. Use your free time to check out Cody’s Historic Trail Town and get the low down on the cowboys who used to hang out in the local saloons, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or see the Irma Hotel Bar, an expensive gift from Queen Victoria to Buffalo Bill Cody, the town’s namesake. Otherwise, if the season’s right, you’ve got a chance to experience an authentic rodeo and see some of professional cowboys at work in a fun night time optional.
This morning we visit the world's first national park - Yellowstone. Explore the crown jewel of America's national parks. It’s a materpiece of natural wonders & wildlife - a serious nature fix! This afternoon we head back to Cody.
This morning we explore the crown jewel of America's national parks. It's a masterpiece of wilderness, wildlife & natural wonders. Set you sights on the towering spires of the Teton Range & arrive in the chic, yet western-styled ski & boarding town, Jackson Hole.
It’s back on the coach this morning with wide eyes as we travel through the stunning mountain ranges of Idaho and onto Salt Lake City, but not before thrill seekers could take to the Snake River for some rafting to really awaken the body and mind.
Kick start the day with an optional hot-air balloon ride over pretty Park City, which holds the annual Sundance Film Festival. Enjoy sweeping vistas over the state of Utah and get another angle on the impressive Wasatch Mountains, which divide the lush eastern and arid western halves of the state. We hit another national park known for its hoodoos (thin rock spires streaked in whites, yellows and oranges), Bryce National Park. Take in the strange shapes, vivid colors and rugged rocks that rise up as we hike a trail in the park. Later, pull into small-town Kanab, gateway to several national parks. It might look familiar, as over 150 old westerns were filmed here.
Escape to the mind-blowing Grand Canyon as we see this wonder from a different angle, the less visited and pristine North Rim. Hike along the rim of the canyon at your own pace to really get a feel for the size and drama of it all. There are trails for all levels of ability so no matter your fitness level you will definitely be able to have the full experience. Drink it all in, these are the travel moments you'll be re-telling for years to come.
It’s a change of scene today when we cut back into Utah and visit Zion National Park – with loads of greenery, waterfalls and colorful cliffs, it’s a far cry from the dry parks and rock formations we’ve seen so far. Your Tour Manager will point out the park’s landmarks, including the Watchman and the West Temple. Get ready to arrive in larger-than-life Las Vegas – a man-made entertainment oasis smack in the middle of the desert. Often dubbed Sin City, it’s all about glitz, neon lights, and excess. See the bright lights of this city and its world-famous casinos in a first taste of Vegas kitsch as the group heads down the main drag, the “Strip”, and your Tour Manager fills you in on the story behind Vegas. Then cruise downtown to Freemont Street and experience a slice of the spectacular at a light and laser show in a massive pedestrian mall.
With a free day, you’ve got time to get a real feel for this outrageous town, so keep an eye out for Elvis impersonators and fast-paced chapel weddings! Explore more of the Strip and check out over-the-top versions of international icons, like the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals and gondolas, a Roman temple or the pyramid, whose nightlight can be seen from the moon. Try your luck at one of the casinos, sit yourself down at a blackjack table and watch the high-rollers or go for a ride at one of the casino’s theme-parks. If you work up an appetite, tuck into an all you can eat buffet, and lunch American style. For something different, discover Las Vegas’ trademark art at the Neon Museum and for a look into this town’s atomic heyday in the 50s, visit the Atomic Testing Museum. Tonight, get some pointers on Las Vegas’ hot spots from your Trip Manager and make the most of this towns’ 24/7 action with some of your new friends.
We are on the home stretch peeps. We're leaving Las Vegas on a journey through the vast and dusty Mojave Desert and back into unmistakable scenery of Southern California. Los Angeles Can it be true - is it really over? We'll finish of this truly life changing trip by book ending it back in Los Angeles where it's time to say goodbye to you're new best friends (who won't be feeling so new by this point). Many a teary hug will be had with the people you have made unforgettable memories with. What a truly once in a lifetime opportunity for adventure, and we hope you leave with a brand new perspective on travel.
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Trip Name: Grand Northern
Duration: 26 Days
From Price: $5,475
Supplier Tour ID: GNGN/160578
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