Great North Music Tour - 13 Day Self Drive with flights


Chicago | Detroit | Cleveland | Pittsburg | Philadelphia | New York | Boston

This thrilling self-drive adventure spans seven iconic cities, each contributing uniquely to America's musical tapestry. The journey begins in Chicago, the "Windy City," renowned for its jazz and blues heritage. Immerse yourself in the rhythm of the city, exploring historic venues like the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge and tracing the roots of legendary musicians. Detroit, a city synonymous with Motown, awaits with a rich musical history. Discover the birthplace of Motown at the museum, witness live jazz at Cliff Bell's, and explore revitalised downtown spaces that echo the city's diverse musical evolution.

Cleveland, the home of rock 'n' roll, beckons with landmarks like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. From jazz in the historic neighbourhoods to mainstream acts, Cleveland showcases a musical journey through time. Pittsburgh offers a glimpse into its diverse musical legacy, from jazz greats in the Hill District to contemporary venues hosting emerging talents. Philadelphia, the birthplace of the USA, resonates with genres from classical to rock. New York City, a global music hub, boasts iconic venues like Carnegie Hall and a vibrant scene from Broadway to underground clubs. Conclude the tour in Boston, where historic charm meets a dynamic music scene, blending classical elegance with the energetic beats of emerging artists.

This Holiday Includes

  • Flights Return flights from the UK
  • Car Hire 11 Days Car Hire
  • Hotels 12 Nights Accommodation
  • Days 13 Days


Full Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Chicago, Illinois

    Hotel: The Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel Chicago Loop 4*

    Welcome to Chicago, often referred to as the "Windy City." Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, this vibrant metropolis is renowned for its lively arts scene, cultural attractions, shopping, and breathtaking architecture. Upon your arrival, make your way independently to your hotel.

    Chicago's rich musical heritage has deep roots in Jazz and Blues, but its diverse music scene spans various genres, including a thriving musical theatre hub and the famous annual Lollapalooza and Pitchfork festivals. Continuing a tradition dating back to 1907, immerse yourself in the world of Jazz or Big Band music at the iconic Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. Legends like Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy have shaped the legendary Chicago Blues style, and you can catch Guy's January performances at his Legends club. In a city as grand as Chicago, there are equally grand venues for touring shows, such as the United Centre, Allstate Arena, and the historic Chicago Theatre. Reflecting the city's melting pot identity, local stages in neighbourhoods like Wicker Park, Bucktown, Lincoln Park, and Logan Square showcase eclectic lineups and emerging talent on small stages.

  • Day 3

    Detroit, Michigan - 282 Miles

    Hotel: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit Downtown 4*

    This morning, retrieve your rental car and trace the breathtaking shoreline of Lake Michigan as you journey into Indiana, arriving at South Bend, the proud home of the University of Notre Dame. Here, an essential part of your visit involves a captivating tour featuring the remarkable Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Departing from South Bend, venture into Michigan and make your way to the lively university town of Ann Arbor. Renowned for its charm, Main Street in Ann Arbor is hailed as one of the most picturesque in the USA. Immerse yourself in the local music scene with live performances at venues like The Ark or Kerrytown Concert House.

    Continue your exploration to Detroit, a city that has undergone revitalization in its centre, giving rise to trendy restaurants, shops, and cultural hotspots. Known as both the "Motor City" and the birthplace of Motown music, Detroit beckons you to experience its rich history. Visit the Motown Museum to witness artifacts and the very spaces where music icons such as Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, and Marvin Gaye recorded their hits during the heyday of the 1960s. Detroit's musical roots extend to artists like Alice Cooper, Eminem, and Jack White. For jazz enthusiasts, the legendary Cliff Bell's, a meticulously restored art-deco nightclub, offers nightly live performances.

    From the beats of established Hip-Hop artists to the timeless melodies of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the city resonates with a diverse range of high-calibre music.

  • Day 4

    Cleveland, Ohio - 168 Miles

    Hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland Downtown – Lakeside 4*

    Trace the scenic shores of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, leading you to Toledo, Ohio. Here, a stop at the Toledo Museum of Art promises an awe-inspiring experience, featuring masterworks and the striking Glass Pavilion. For those seeking a thrill, a short drive of approximately an hour takes you to Cedar Point Amusement Park, boasting nearly 20 exhilarating roller coasters.

    Continue your adventure to Cleveland, where the iconic phrase "rock 'n' roll" was coined by a pioneering radio disc jockey. Marvel at the distinctive pyramid-shaped building along the Lake Erie waterfront, designed by I.M. Pei, and venture inside the acclaimed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Explore multiple floors showcasing both permanent and temporary exhibits, delving into the history of the biggest Rock music acts. While Cleveland boasts a rich musical legacy, it remains a hub of contemporary musical vibrancy, with venues like Beachland Ballroom & Tavern and the Music Box Supper Club hosting live performances.

  • Day 6

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - 134 Miles

    Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh Downtown 4*

    This journey wouldn't be complete without a visit to Pittsburgh, the birthplace of Stephen Foster in 1826. Recognized as the "father of American music," Foster left an indelible mark by composing over 200 popular songs, which were widely distributed through sheet music. In the Hill District, a pivotal centre for African American culture, Jazz luminaries like Lena Horne, Billy Eckstine, and drummer Kenny Clark left their lasting imprint in the mid-1900s at iconic venues such as the Belmont, Loendi Club, and Crawford Grill. Lena Horne, a trailblazer, earned her place in the Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame.

    Fast-forward to the 1960s, when artists like Bobby Vinton, the Lettermen, and the Del Vikings ushered in the era of Doo Wop, once again establishing Pittsburgh on the musical landscape. The city's musical influence continued to evolve with notable figures in Pop, Rock, and Rap genres, including Christina Aguilera, Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads, Bret Michaels, and Wiz Khalifa. Keep an eye out for Pittsburgh's emerging talents at venues like Brillobox, Park House, and Club Cafe. For larger-scale performances, explore renowned venues such as Stage AE, Heinz Hall, or PPG Paints Arena.

  • Day 7

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 304 Miles

    Hotel: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia 4*

    Departing from Pittsburgh, traverse the enchanting landscapes of Pennsylvania Amish Country, offering a glimpse into the horse-and-buggy lifestyle. Your journey culminates in vibrant Philadelphia, renowned as the birthplace of the USA, where both the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed. Among the city's iconic performance venues stands the historic Academy of Music, established in 1857. Since 1924, the Curtis Institute of Music in Rittenhouse Square has been a nurturing ground for talents worldwide, counting luminaries like Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber among its alumni. Noteworthy is the fact that half of the musicians in the esteemed Philadelphia Orchestra graduated from Curtis.

    Philadelphia's musical legacy extends to the early years of rock 'n' roll, with local singers Frankie Avalon and Chubby Checker playing pivotal roles. The city gained prominence in the music scene through the groundbreaking TV show "American Bandstand," hosted by Dick Clark for nearly four decades. As you explore the city adorned with over 4,000 murals, hum the melody of Elton John's 1975 song "Philadelphia Freedom." Experience the vibrant music culture with a free concert at the outdoor Piazza at Schmidts in the Northern Liberties downtown neighbourhood, near the Delaware River.

    Immerse yourself in the local culture at outdoor festivals, such as the summer concert series at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing on the riverfront or the Made in America Festival in early September on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Whether you prefer indoor venues or grand outdoor spectacles, Philadelphia continues its centuries-old tradition of producing outstanding music across various genres.

  • Day 9

    New York City, New York - 95 Miles

    Hotel: Royalton Park Avenue NYC 5*

    Travel northward to the vibrant metropolis of New York City, the Big Apple, where some of the most iconic American music was born. Brooklyn native Aaron Copland, a luminary in the realm of 20th-century music, crafted renowned film scores, operas, ballets, and band compositions, laying the foundation for the city's rich musical heritage.

    Whether your preference lies in the intimate atmosphere of dimly lit underground clubs in Greenwich Village, the refined elegance of Carnegie Hall or Radio City Music Hall, or the grandeur of mainstream venues like Madison Square Garden and Broadway theatres, New York City offers a spectrum of musical experiences. Recognised as the birthplace of genres like Punk, Hip-Hop, and Disco, as well as the launching pad for artists such as JAY-Z, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Lady Gaga, the Talking Heads, and Burt Bacharach, the city draws music enthusiasts from around the globe.

    Explore the culturally rich boroughs, witnessing singer-songwriters finding their voice in neighbourhood cafes, rising stars commanding standing-room-only clubs into the early hours, and legendary artists headlining sold-out concerts. Live music options abound at esteemed venues like the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, Beacon Theatre, and The Town Hall. Before bidding the city farewell, pay homage to John Lennon at Strawberry Fields near the Dakota Apartments, his residence until his untimely passing in 1980. Additionally, visit the historic Apollo Theatre in Harlem, which opened its doors in 1914 for African American patrons and continues to attract fans eager to witness the rise of the next big star.

  • Day 11

    Boston, Massachusetts - 209 Miles

    Hotel: Sheraton Boston Hotel 5*

    In a city deeply intertwined with the birth of the USA in the 1700s, historic buildings grace the Boston cityscape, but the music scene is far from old-fashioned. Reflecting on the influential era from the 1960s to the 1990s, Boston emerges as a powerhouse with several local acts gaining national prominence. Icons like James Taylor, Joan Baez, Donna Summer, Boston, The Cars, Aerosmith, New Edition, and New Kids on the Block helped shape the musical landscape. The heart of New England pulsates with the energy of Punk, Metal, and Hard-Core scenes, establishing a vibrant and dynamic musical identity.

    Boston's status as an academic hub, boasting 35 colleges, universities, and community colleges, ensures a constant influx of audiences eager to discover emerging artists across a spectrum of genres. Some of these talents may be students at Berklee College of Music, gracing intimate venues like Atwood's Tavern, Great Scott, or the Lizard Lounge. Head to the waterfront Seaport District for a mix of dining, lodging, breweries, and an array of bars and pubs featuring live music.

    For larger-scale performances, catch big-name touring acts at the Bank of America Pavilion at the Boston Harbor or the Comcast Centre amphitheatre in Mansfield. Boston's musical offerings cater to diverse tastes, from the refined ambiance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Lyric Opera to the electrifying atmosphere of the Hatch Shell along the Charles River during Fourth of July festivities, where fireworks synchronize with the enchanting sounds of the Boston Pops Orchestra.

  • Day 13

    Depart Boston, Massachusetts

    Today is the final day on the Great North Music Tour. Make your way at leisure to the airport to drop off you hire car and catch your departure flight.

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All of our self drive holidays can be tailored to suit your needs; add extra nights and destinations, upgrade your hotels, flights and car hire, or allow us to completely tailor an itinerary that's right for you!

Call today on 0207 749 9282 or enquire online to speak to a member of our expert team. We'll help you bring the art of escape to your American adventure.

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Guide Price: £2,645

Call today on 0207 749 9282 to speak to a member of our expert team.
We'll help you bring the art of escape to your American adventure.

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room and include flights from the UK, pre-booked accommodation, car hire with unlimited mileage. Note: Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar standard. Prices based on travel in low season (November & December 2024). For travel outside of these dates, the itinerary and inclusions may vary to that shown above - please contact us for details.

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