Follow the Frank Lloyd Wright trail from Chicago to Buffalo, through to Pennsylvania and on to New York, discovering the wealth of art, architecture and history in some of America’s most impressive cities. The tour begins in Chicago, then travels north to Wisconsin and Buffalo before heading to Pittsburgh and the nearby Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania, before ending up in New York. The itinerary features private guided visits to homes and major galleries, fine dining and some great performances. Accommodation is in comfortable four-star hotels throughout
5-night optional extension to Los Angeles & Taliesin West also available. See detailed itinerary for more details.
The course of American modern architecture in the 20th-century, from Louis B. Sullivan and the ‘Chicago School’ to Frank Lloyd Wright and beyond
Wright’s transformation of the American home, using inspiration from the prairie landscape of the American Midwest and a Japanese-influenced aesthetic
The story of private wealth and art patronage in the United States by Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon and John D. Rockefeller
The vibrant performing arts scene in Chicago and New York
Academy Travel are recognised Australian Institute of Architects Refuel providers of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This tour provides a tour participant with 10.0 Informal CPD points – AACA Competency: Design. Members of the Australian Institute of Architects are recommended to complete 20 hours of CPD per annum. More information >
Walking, coach and boat tours of Chicago’s 20th-century architecture
The Art Institute of Chicago, renowned for its Impressionist works
Wright’s home, Taliesin, and his Johnson Wax Factory in Wisconsin
A private interior visit to Fallingwater, arguably his most famous work
A private out-of-hours viewing of the Museum of Modern Art in New York
Steppenwolf Theatre performance in Chicago and an orchestral concert and a Broadway musical in New York
Days 1–4: Start in Chicago, with sights including Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago and a full day exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses.
Days 5–6: Travel by coach to Wisconsin to view Wright’s Johnson Wax Building and Taliesin East.
Days 7–8: Fly to Buffalo to view Wright’s Martin House and tour Niagara Falls.
Days 9–10: Fly to Pittsburgh to see Fallingwater, Wright’s masterpiece.
Days 11–15: In New York enjoy architectural walking tours, Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, the Philip Johnson Glass House and a Broadway musical.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
For this tour we recommend flights with Qantas or United who have regular flights to Los Angeles, connecting to Chicago. Well-priced flight options on both carriers will be available early in the New Year.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Sunday October 22: Arrive
Arrive in Chicago and meet your tour leader and fellow travellers for a welcome drink. Overnight Chicago
Monday October 23: Downtown Chicago
The Great Fire of 1871 destroyed the entire Chicago CBD, leaving the way open for architects to design a new and modern city. The first steel-framed high rise building rose in 1885 and the skyline today is densely packed with skyscrapers, many by renowned architects. Our walking tour this morning takes us past some of the city’s most iconic buildings. We visit the lobby of the Rookery Building, the masterpiece of Daniel Burnham and remodelled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. In the afternoon we take the Chicago Architectural Foundation river cruise to gain an overview of the city’s historic and modern architectural styles. Tonight we have dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Chicago (B, D)
Tuesday October 24: Frank Lloyd Wright – the early years & SC Johnson
Today we take a private coach tour of Oak Park. This Chicago suburb is where Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked and where much of his early work can still be found. We have an interior tour of Wright’s home and studio, which Wright used as his architecture laboratory for his early designs. We then view the numerous examples of Prairie Style architecture in the surrounding neighbourhood. In the afternoon we drive north to Racine, Wisconsin to visit the SC Johnson Wax Administration Building and Research Tower. The Administration Building was described by Philip Johnson as the “most beautiful room in America.” Overnight Chicago (B)
Wednesday October 25: Chicago art and architecture
We begin our day with a walk through Millennium Park. Originally occupied by railyards and parking lots, the area was redeveloped into a public space featuring an outdoor concert venue, gardens, restaurants and some spectacular art installations. From here we make our way to the highly-regarded Art Institute of Chicago, boasting a fine collection of both European and American painting and over 60 ‘decorated rooms’ – accurately reconstructed furnished interiors from a broad range of times and places. After a private guided tour, there is time to explore the collection independently and a break for lunch. In the afternoon we travel by coach for a private interior visit and cocktail reception in Robie House, perhaps the fullest expression of Wright’s Prairie Style in Chicago. Our trip takes us through the ‘White City’ – the site of the 1893 World’s Fair. Schedules permitting, tonight we will attend a concert performance. Overnight Chicago (B)
Thursday October 26: Farnsworth House
This morning we will travel to Plano to visit Farnsworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe and considered a masterpiece of the International Style of architecture. We then travel north to see Jacobs House I, the first Usonian home, Wright’s ideal of the new world architecture free of previous conventions. We arrive in Madison, Wisconsin, our base for two nights. Tonight we dine in our hotel. Overnight Madison (B, D)
Friday October 27: Taliesin
This remote site on land owned by Wright’s family was the architect’s home from 1911, and is of central importance to understanding Wright. Taliesin was twice burned down and rebuilt. It was also the scene of the horrific 1914 axe murder of Wright’s lover, her children and several employees. A complex of buildings, combining Prairie Style and oriental influences, it was here that Wright designed Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum and other key works. We tour the house, the grounds and the studio, today an important training centre for emerging American architects. In the afternoon we visit the Unitarian Meeting House, designed by Wright and recognised as one of the most innovative examples of church architecture. Tonight is a free evening. Overnight Madison (B)
Saturday October 28: Upstate New York
This morning we take a flight from Madison to Buffalo, New York. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Buffalo rose to prominence in the early 19th century, when the Erie Canal was completed, connecting the Chicago and the Mid-West with the Hudson River, New York City and the world beyond. Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state and has many significant buildings, including Louis B Sullivan’s Garanty Building and Daniel Burnham’s Ellicott Square building. This afternoon we tour some of these sites and dine in a local restaurant. Overnight Buffalo (B, D)
Sunday October 29: Wright in Buffalo, Niagara Falls
Between 1903 and 1908 Frank Lloyd Wright built a number of fine examples of his Prairie Style houses in Buffalo, and we survey these today, and visit the Darwin D. Martin House. Most of the houses were built for executives of the Larkin Soap Factory and are located in the Parkside East Historic District, a neighbourhood laid out by renowned American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in 1876 (Olmstead is also largely responsible for New York’s Central Park). This afternoon we relax at Niagara Falls, one of America’s foremost natural wonders. Overnight Buffalo (B)
Monday October 30: Pittsburgh
We travel along the shores of Lake Erie to visit Graycliff, the summer home built by Wright for Darwin Martin, which is undergoing extensive renovation. We continue onto Pittsburgh this morning, a city whose name is synonymous with the coal and steel industry. The city’s wealth contributed to its rich cultural heritage and few patrons were as generous as Andrew Carnegie, a Pittsburgh-based industrialist who made his fortune out of steel and endowed many of the city’s cultural institutions. Tonight we have dinner in the hotel. Overnight Pittsburgh (B, D)
Tuesday October 31: Private tour of Fallingwater
We depart Pittsburgh early today and make our way to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater where we enjoy a private interior tour of the house. Completed in 1939, its dramatic setting over a river and revolutionary modernist architecture made the house instantly famous. Built for the wealthy Kaufmann family, who made their fortune in retail, Fallingwater was a private retreat until the early 1960’s, when the house and several hundred acres of land around it were entrusted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. We also visit nearby Kentuck Knob, a private house built for the Hagen family in 1954 and a good example of Wright’s later style. The current owner, Lord Palumbo, has also installed an impressive contemporary sculpture garden on the property. We return to Pittsburgh this evening. Overnight Pittsburgh (B)
Wednesday November 1: Warhol and New York
Before departing Pittsburgh today, we visit the Andy Warhol Museum. The sometimes controversial artist was a Pittsburgh native, and the recently-opened museum contains a broad sampling of his oeuvre. We then head to Pittsburgh airport for our afternoon flight to New York. After checking into our centrally located hotel we’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight New York (B, D)
Thursday November 2: Midtown Art Deco
This morning we explore some of the Art Deco modern architecture of New York’s Midtown district. We explore icons such as the Chrysler Building, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and the General Electric Building. We enjoy lunch at Cipriani Dolci, located in the main hall of Grand Central, a magnificent Beaux Arts building. The afternoon and evening are free. Overnight New York (B, L)
Friday November 3: MoMA and Downtown
This morning we enjoy a private tour of MoMA, New York’s famous Museum of Modern Art, enjoying the museum’s greatest works before the museum opens its doors to the public. Following the tour you have free time to explore the museum’s collections. In the afternoon we head downtown to walk down Wall Street and visit the moving September 11 memorial at the World Trade Center site. This evening we head to the theatre district for a top-flight Broadway show. Overnight New York (B)
Saturday November 4: Glasshouse and Lower East Side
We travel by train to Connecticut for a tour of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Designed by Johnson for his own residence, the house was derived from Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and is an essay in minimal structure and the effects of transparency and reflection. The afternoon is free. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight New York (B, D)
Sunday November 5: Guggenheim
On our final morning we take a detailed look at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue, Frank Lloyd Wright’s final architectural masterpiece and a New York icon. Mid-afternoon we transfer to New York’s JFK airport, where the tour ends. (B)
Is a director of Academy Travel and has over 20 years' experience in travel, including leading groups through western Europe, Russia and the United States.
He has a strong interest in history, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University and a Master of Commerce from the University of New South Wales. Stuart led a theatre tour to New York in early 2006, jointly offered by Academy Travel and the Sydney Theatre Company.
The hotel sits adjacent to MoMA, in walking distance to Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.