Blues & Booze: Chicago to New Orleans
13 DAYS/12 NIGHTS
Arrive Chicago. 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.
Today explore some of Chicago’s noted sites. In the morning you may want to visit the neighboring 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 Museum Campus or shop along the Magnificent Mile. In the evening stop by Navy Pier and for a cruise along the lake.
Chicago – Indianapolis, Indiana (183mi/295km)
Head south to Indianapolis. Take time to explore Fountain Square this afternoon. This historic neighborhood 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.
Indianapolis- Louisville, Kentucky (114mi/183km)
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 capitol 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.
Today, take in Thoroughbred Racing at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, or just visit its shop to get some souvenirs. One can also drive along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to visit the a couple of the regions important distilleries; Jim Beam, Makers Mark, and Wild Turkey are just a few of the distilleries conducting tours and tastings.
Louisville – Nashville (174mi/280km)
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 one 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.
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.
And in the afternoon, visit Ryman Auditorium. Built in 1892 and designated a National Historic Landmark, one can take a self guided museum tour or guided backstage tour or record a CD in the new Ryman Recording Studio. evening, return for a show or concert at this premier performance hall.
Nashville – Memphis (212mi/341km)
En route to Memphis, visit Belle Meade Plantation. 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 7 historic outbuildings, including The Winery at Belle Meade Plantation.
Arrive Memphis, where the roots of Blues, Country and Gospel music formed in the 1930s. Begin your visit at The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and 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.
No visit to Memphis is complete with a tour of Graceland. Walk in the footsteps of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll 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, 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 the rich, spicy food of the south, cold brew and hot music.
Memphis – Vicksburg, Mississippi (250mi/402km)
Upon arrival in Vicksburg, you may want to visit Vicksburg National Military Park which preserves the site of the Civil War’s Battle of Vicksburg.
Vicksburg – New Orleans, Louisiana (207mi/333km)
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 neighborhoods. 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 Center.
Of-course the French Quarter is the most famous NewOrleans neighborhood. Filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars, it is be a unique place to spend the evening.
here 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. At night take a paddlewheeler dinner cruise on the Mississippi (incl).
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 Orleanians.
# Nights City Hotel
2 Chicago, IL Raffaello
1 Indianapolis, IN Hampton Inn Indianapolis
2 Louisville, KY Brown Hotel
2 Nashville, TN Millennium Maxwell
2 Memphis, TN Comfort Inn
1 Vicksburg, MS Courtyard Marriott Vicksburg
2 New Orleans, LA Royal St Charles
• Dinner Jazz Cruise in New Orleans
• Fly-Drive Directions and Information Packet at Hotel upon arrival