Dec 21, 2019 - Jan 2, 2020
13 days
$9,950per person, twin share (land content only). $2,930 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing
Dec 21, 2019 - Jan 2, 2020

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing$9,950per person, twin share (land content only). $2,930 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Nowhere does Christmas and New Year’s Eve like New York City does. Experience both on this exciting new 13-day tour, combining the culture, art and architecture of New York with the vibrant atmosphere of the holiday season: from the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall to a traditional New Year’s Eve performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center. These performances, in addition to opera, theatre, exceptional museums, New York’s stunning architecture and fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, round out this unique experience.


The itinerary includes eight performances:

  • The smash-hit Broadway Musical Hamilton
  • Richard Strauss’ beloved Der Rosenkavalier, performed by the world-leading Metropolitan Opera
  • A traditional New Year’s Eve performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The New York String Orchestra performing Bach, Bartok and Brahms at world-famous Carnegie Hall
  • The Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
  • George Balanchine’s The Nutracker, performed by the New York Ballet
  • An evening of jazz at ‘Jazz at the Lincoln Center’
  • A new production of a stage play from the Broadway 2019-20 season

Itinerary Overview

Experience some of the world’s top art and history museums, and dining in a selection of the city’s best restaurants.

Art, Architecture and History

  • A private viewing of the Museum of Modern Art with a museum lecturer
  • Curator-led tour of The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exquisite medieval collection
  • Charming small galleries, including the Frick Collection and the Neue Galerie
  • Architectural tours of Midtown, Downtown and Chelsea, featuring Beaux-Arts, Art Deco and Post-Modern masterpieces

Fine Dining

  • Lunch at the Michelin two-star restaurant The Modern, inside the Museum of Modern Art
  • The best of New American cuisine at the Michelin one-star Gramercy Tavern
  • A grand Christmas lunch and leisurely afternoon at one of New York’s top restaurants

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins and ends at our hotel in New York. Qantas, Delta and United Airlines offer direct regular flights to and from New York, with stopovers in Los Angeles or Dallas Fort Worth. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Saturday 21 December: Arrival and Introduction

Flights from Australia arrive in New York in the late afternoon. In the early evening, we gather for drinks in a private suite and make our introductions.

Sunday 22 December: Downtown – The Nutcracker

We begin our exploration of New York’s unique history and architecture in the Downtown area, where the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam was founded in the 17th century, as well as Wall Street and the heart of the financial district so central to New York’s rise. Sights include the 9/11 Memorial, Trinity Church, the Woolworth Building, and New York City Hall. We have a welcome lunch at the Capital Grille near Wall Street, located within an old bank vault, and have an introductory talk on the history of the city. The afternoon is free. In the evening, we’ll have our first performance of The Nutcracker, a timeless classic performed every Christmas by the New York City Ballet company at their home in Lincoln Center (B, L).

Performance details
Venue: David Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Program: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
Performers: New York City Ballet Company

Monday 23 December: Museum Mile – Metropolitan Opera

Today we visit two stunning museums on the Upper East Side. The Neue Galerie, specialising in German and Austrian art, has become a must-see after the famous acquisition of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (The Woman in Gold). We’ll have a private tour of the collection in the morning before the museum opens. Not far away is the Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last architectural masterpiece. We will inspect the building and have free time to tour the collection in the afternoon. This evening we head to the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center to enjoy Der Rosenkavalier. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Lincoln Center Opera House
Program: Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier
Performers: Sir Simon Rattle (conducting), Camilla Nylund, Magdalena Kozena, Golda Shultz, Katherine Goeldner

Tuesday 24 December: Midtown and Christmas Eve

This morning we have a lecture and then explore some of the Art Deco architecture of New York’s Midtown district, including the Chrysler Building, the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Terminal. We’ll also go to the Top of the Rock and get the best view of New York from the top of the Rockefeller Center, and have a chance to see the beautiful Christmas window displays on the grand department stores on 5th Avenue. For those interested, in the afternoon there will be the opportunity to experience Christmas Lessons and Carols at the beautiful St Thomas’ Church on 5th Avenue, where some of the best choral singing of the season will be on show. In the evening, we’ll have a Christmas Eve party in a private hotel suite, complete with traditional American Christmas treats such as egg nog and spiced cider. (B)

Wednesday 25 December: Christmas Day

Today is Christmas! We’ll start the day with private celebrations in the hotel, gifts and a Christmas tree. Afterwards, we’ll have a relaxed group Christmas luncheon at one of the leading restaurants in the area. The evening is free. (B, L)

Thursday 26 December: Central Park – Hamilton

This morning we have a lecture, and then take a walk through Central Park, always stunning in winter snows. One of the most important landscaping projects of the 19th century, it was influential in its style and insightful in its careful design of various areas, which we’ll explore. The afternoon is free. This evening we make our first trip to Broadway for the smash-hit musical Hamilton, the hottest ticket in the city. The musical tells the story of the dramatic life of New Yorker and founding father Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the US treasury. It’s an unlikely topic for a musical, but its incredible popularity is proof of Broadway’s never-ending inventiveness, as well as the ground-breaking nature of its score and casting. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Richard Rodgers Theatre
Program: Hamilton
Performers: Austin Scott, Daniel Breaker, James Mornoe Iglehart, Carvens Lissaint, Anthony Lee Medina

Friday 27 December: The Metropolitan Museum – Jazz

Today we spend the morning at The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval department, located on the northern tip of Manhattan, with a guided tour of their highlights. We then travel to the Museum’s main campus, where you can select from the 50 departments presenting outstanding art from pre-history to the 20th century and from all corners of the globe, or stick with your tour leader, who will take you around the highlights of the American Wing of the Met’s encyclopaedic collection. You’ll have free time to wander the museum at your leisure too in the afternoon. Tonight, we’ll make our way to Columbus Circle for an evening of the city’s finest jazz performance at Jazz at the Lincoln Center, as well as drinks and canapes. (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Jazz at Lincoln Center
Program: To be advised
Performers: To be advised

Saturday 28 December: Great Libraries – Carnegie Hall

After a morning lecture, today we visit the Morgan Library and have a guided tour of its exquisite collection of extremely rare manuscripts and books. We also take a tour of the magnificent New York Public Library, and visit Bryant Park, Herald’s Square, the United Nations and the Empire State Building area. We’ll have a group luncheon in the Bryant Park area during the day. In the evening, we’ll make our way to Carnegie Hall, the premier venue for performance in New York City, to the New York String Orchestra play a program of Bach, Bartok and Brahms (B, L).

Performance details
Venue: Carnegie Hall
Program: Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Brahms’s Symphony No. 1
Performers: New York String Orchestra, Jaime Laredo (Conductor), Shannon Lee (Violin) Peter Serkin (Piano)

Sunday 29 December: Gospel & Great Art – Broadway Play

For early risers, there is the chance to witness a gospel church service at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in the Harlem neighbourhood and tour some of the sights in northern Manhattan, including Alexander Hamilton’s Grange Estate. Later in the morning, we visit the Frick Collection, one of the world’s finest house museums. In his lifetime Pennsylvania entrepreneur Henry Clay Frick assembled a collection of European Old Masters’ paintings, furniture and decorative arts of the very highest quality, today displayed in his former 5th Avenue mansion. After lunch, we return to Broadway for a matinee performance of a stage play, selected from the best of the 2019-20 season. The evening is free. (B)

Performance details
Venue: A Broadway theatre
Program: A stage play, to be advised
Performers: A stage play, to be advised

Monday 30 December: Lower East Side – The Rockettes

Today we explore some of the past and future of New York City. We start early with a boat cruise out to the Statue of Liberty, an icon of the city, as well as Ellis Island, long the port of entry for those immigrating to the United States and now a fascinating museum documenting that long storied history. Afterwards, we’ll make our way onwards to Little Italy in the Lower East Side, where there will be time for lunch. In the afternoon take a tour through one of the apartments at the Tenement Museum, an award-winning complex that has painstakingly restored 19th-century apartments lived in by newly arrived immigrants with guides that tell their often-forgotten stories. We return to the hotel in afternoon. In the evening we’ll venture down to Radio City Music Hall to the see the incredible Rockette’s perform their annual holiday spectacular, featuring some of the best choreography and synchronised dancing you’ll ever see (B).

Performance details
Venue: Radio City Music Hall
Program: Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular
Performers: The Rockettes

Tuesday 31 December: MoMA and New Year’s Eve – New York Philharmonic

A highlight of our tour is this morning’s private tour of MoMA, New York’s famous Museum of Modern Art. A museum lecturer guides us through the museum’s greatest works before the doors open to the public. We then have lunch at The Modern, the elegant two-star Michelin restaurant located in the Museum of Modern Art. In the evening, we’ll return to the Lincoln Center for a traditional New Year’s Eve performance by the New York Philharmonic, an annual fixture in their calendar and a great way to say goodbye to 2019 in style. Afterwards, those wishing can try and brave the crowds at Times Square to see the ball drop, or those wishing a more relaxed affair can join the tour leader in their suite for a late-night soiree. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Program: To be advised
Performers: New York Philharmonic

Wednesday 1 January: The High Line

After a final talk in the morning, we stroll the High Line, a beautiful urban park situated on a former elevated rail line through the chic Chelsea and Meatpacking districts. After free time in Chelsea Markets, we will visit the newly re-opened Whitney Museum of American Art, now a highlight of the redevelopment of the meatpacking district. Tonight, we have our farewell dinner at Grammercy Tavern, one of the best restaurants in the city specialising in modern American cuisine. (B, D)

Thursday 2 January: Farewell

Before we farewell New York, our final morning is free for those interested in squeezing in some extra shopping or additional sights. In the mid-afternoon there is a transfer to JFK airport for those departing New York. (B)

Dr Matthew Laing

A political scientist and expert in US history, with a doctorate on the history of the United States presidency.

Dr Matthew Laing is a historian and political scientist at Monash University who has led tours to the Americas and Europe with Academy Travel for five years. He has a strong personal interest in architecture, cultural history and modern art, with a particular expertise in the United States.

Matthew holds a BA and PhD from the Australian National University, and wrote his doctorate on the history of the United States presidency. He has worked as a lecturer and research fellow at the Australian National University, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and now at Monash University in Melbourne. He is an accredited ADFAS lecturer and frequently holds public lecture series in Melbourne. He currently teaches United States history and leadership, and has published on both topics.

Matthew’s tours strive for intellectual engagement and to reveal the stories, both big and small, that can bring history to life. A voracious reader and traveller, Matthew strives to be a generalist and draws upon a wide range of subjects – from politics to architecture – to develop his understanding of a place. Matthew’s passion for the United States started as an intern in the United States Congress in 2007. Since then he has made dozens of trips across the country, for both work and pleasure, and is closing in on his goal of visiting all 50 states. He has lectured and written on a wide variety of US subjects, including the American Revolution, the Gilded Age, and American Modernist architecture. Matthew also lived in the Netherlands for two years and has travelled widely there, and has a particular interest in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Matthew has been tour leading for Academy Travel annually since 2013, with many tours to the United States and Europe, and is now taking on a greater role managing and developing further tours in these regions, including developing new tours to areas like the Southern United States.

We asked Matthew, what do you enjoy most about leading a group tour?

“As an academic, the personal joy of leading tours for Academy Travel is that I get one of the best classrooms I could ask for of intelligent and attentive global travellers who share my passion for learning about our world. And yet often I also find myself the student – with intellectually-engaged travellers from all walks of life, some of the most stimulating debates and discussions I’ve had are with my clients on tours.”

“I think those who come on tour with me benefit most from my enthusiasm, energy and passion – whether it’s a giving a morning lecture or having a causal chat at lunch, I’m always striving to draw out new insights and connections that can further understanding and increase engagement.”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours

The Warwick Hotel

Our four-star hotel is very conveniently located in midtown Manhattan, on 54th Street. We have booked premier-plus grade rooms. These are large and comfortable, each with modern amenities. The hotel is in walking distance of many of New York’s most popular attractions. The hotel has just completed a major renovation. The Warwick has an interesting history. It was built in 1926 for newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, primarily as a residence for his Hollywood friends, among whom was his mistress Marion Davies. Over the years guests have included James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Actor Cary Grant lived in the Warwick for 12 years.

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Booking conditions

You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.


A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 60 days before departure: $500*
  • 60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
  • 44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
  • 14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due

*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.

Unused Portions of the tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Travel Insurance

Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.

Passport and Visa

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.

Will the tour price change?

If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.

Will the itinerary change?

Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.

Final Payment

Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.

Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.

Tour Details



Fitness Requirement

Grade One

A Grade 1 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details.

Tour Full Join Waitlist

Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Jamal Fairbrother 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Next Departure

If these dates don't work for you, register to hear about the next tour.

Join Waitlist

There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details below.


Please keep me informed about the next departure of this tour.

Hold a Place

Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for seven days while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.


Sign up to our mailing list for tour updates and latest news.