Apr 2 - 18, 2019
17 days
$10,860per person, twin share (land content only). $3,290 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing
Apr 2 - 18, 2019

Tour Leader

Dr Matthew Laing$10,860per person, twin share (land content only). $3,290 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


The cities of North East USA were the driving force behind America’s transformation into a global economic and cultural powerhouse. The wealth and idealism of their movers and shakers – some of the great philanthropists of the 20th century – have left an astounding legacy, from great museums, to gems of modern architecture and some of the world’s leading performing arts institutions. Explore Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington DC and New York on this 17-day tour, visiting their great museums and historic sites, enjoying performances and taking day trips to Gettysburg, Charlottesville and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

A four-day extension to Boston is also available as part of this tour.


  • Key moments in American history, from the Dutch in New Amsterdam, to American democracy in Washington and the Civil War at Gettysburg
  • Some of the world’s finest art museums, with staggering collections of Old Masters and ground-breaking modern art
  • The breathtaking architectural legacy of Chicago and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • World-class performances at America’s best cultural institutions, including opera, symphony and the stage
  • An inside view of American politics and government in Washington DC


  • The world-famous Art Institute of Chicago, Barnes Collection, and Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Five days in the Big Apple, taking in its finest art and performances
  • The National Mall in Washington, including the Smithsonian and Lincoln Memorial
  • Palladianism at Thomas Jefferson’s World Heritage-listed Monticello and the University of Virginia
  • The incredible Chicago cityscape and architectural tours of the city
  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces: from Fallingwater to the Oak Park Home and Studio
  • Stellar performances at premier venues, in New York, Washington and Chicago

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–4: Arrive in Chicago. Explore the birth of the skyscraper and magnificent modern architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art Institute.

Days 5–6: In Pittsburgh, discover the industrial powerhouse of America and Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater.

Day 7: Survey Gettysburg, spending a day exploring the turning point of the Civil War and fascinating Amish country.

Days 8–12: In Washington DC, discover America’s Rome, including iconic monuments to democracy, an excursion to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate and colonial America in Philadelphia.

Days 13–17: Five days in New York City, taking in some of America’s finest museums, performances, architecture and dining.

A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.

Getting There

Qantas and United Airlines fly regularly to the North East. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

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

Tuesday 2 April: Arrival

Arrive in Chicago and meet for welcome drinks and introductions in the hotel. Overnight Chicago.

Wednesday 3 April: Chicago’s Early History

We begin with an introductory lecture and a walking tour of Downtown Chicago, exploring the city’s early architecture and history, including the Marquette Building, the Rookery Building and the Cultural Center, as well as many of the world’s first skyscrapers designed by Louis Sullivan and Burnham & Root. After lunch we visit the spectacular Driehaus Museum, home to exquisite art nouveau design and the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany. In evening, we have a welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Chicago (B, D).

Thursday 4 April: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Early Years

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 will tour his first home and studio, as well as his early houses in the area. We also visit Unity Temple, a Universalist church designed by Wright and built between 1905 and 1908. In the afternoon, we visit the Robie House, one of Wright’s most important houses, as well as the Jackson Park area of the city. Schedules permitting, this evening we’ll see a performance from Chicago’s legendary Steppenwolf Theatre. Overnight Chicago (B).

Friday 5 April 5: Chicago’s Modern Story

We start our day with an architectural cruise down the Chicago River, where many of the great skyscrapers of Chicago’s modern history can be viewed uninterrupted in a cityscape constantly under construction. We’ll then tour through Millennium Park, which has redefined the modern city. In the afternoon, we’ll take a specially guided tour through the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the great art collections of the United States, and with plenty of free time in the afternoon to explore the collection at leisure (B).

Saturday 6 April: Pittsburgh

We depart Chicago this morning and fly to Pittsburgh, a city whose wealth came largely from its steel industry. This wealth has contributed to the city’s 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. After checking into our hotel, we take a downtown walking tour of this extraordinary city and see some of the historical and architectural highlights. This evening we have a group dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Pittsburgh (B, D).

Sunday 7 April: Fallingwater

We depart Pittsburgh early today and make our way to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. 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 1960s when the house and several hundred acres of land around it were entrusted to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. In the afternoon, we’ll return to Chicago to visit the spectacular Carnegie Museum of Art. Overnight Pittsburgh (B).

Monday 8 April: Gettysburg

Today we drive through the lush forests of Western and Southern Pennsylvania to Gettysburg, one of the most important battlefields in United States history. Over three days in July 1863, in a battle regarded as a turning point in the American Civil War, almost 50,000 men were killed, wounded or reported missing at Gettysburg. Later that same year, President Lincoln delivered his famous address on the battlefield and today the site is a poignant memorial. After touring the battlefield we’ll stay overnight in this charming and well-preserved 19th century town. Overnight Gettysburg (B).

Tuesday 9 April: American Art and Culture

This morning we drive to Washington D.C. We’ll visit the incredible collection at the National Gallery of Art and take a guided tour of some of the major movements and iconic names in American art over the centuries. After settling into our hotel, we’ll have a group dinner tonight in a local restaurant and schedules permitting see a performance in the beautiful Kennedy Center. Overnight Washington (B, D).

Wednesday 10 April: The National Capital

Washington D.C. was constructed on a grand scale to reflect the ambitions and the accomplishments of the United States throughout its short history. Today we’ll take a panoramic coach and walking tour of the National Mall, including the iconic Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial. Afterwards we’ll have a chance to take in the United States Capitol through a special guided tour, as well as see the Supreme Court, the White House and the Library of Congress. Overnight Washington (B).

Thursday 11 April: Jefferson’s Monticello

We’ll take a special day trip today to Charlottesville, Virginia, the long-time home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the greatest minds in American history. His personally-designed home Monticello is a testament to his renaissance character but also the complex legacies of America’s colonial past. We’ll also get to see his personally designed University of Virginia campus nearby, as well as the verdant Virginia countryside in full-bloom. Overnight Washington (B).

Friday 12 April: Great Collections

This morning we’ll visit the Phillips Collection, one of the finest modern art collections in the United States renowned for its exceptional pieces, including Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. This afternoon we’ll keep free, and it’s a great opportunity for everyone to explore further one of the Smithsonian Museums, or take an optional trip with your tour leader to Arlington National Cemetery and through Georgetown, the beautiful colonial-era riverport around which Washington D.C. sprang. Overnight Washington (B).

Saturday 13 April: Philadelphia

Today we make an early start for Philadelphia, home of the American Revolution and iconic sights such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, which we’ll see in a tour of the old city centre. After lunch, we’ll take a guided tour of the Barnes Foundation, a unique gallery and one of the largest collections of great masters such as Matisse, Picasso and Cezanne. In the late afternoon, we’ll journey on to New York City. Overnight New York (B).

Sunday 14 April: The Big Apple

This morning we’ll start with a trip up the Top of the Rock, the top of the landmark Rockefeller Center to get a bird’s eye view of the city. We’ll then take a walking tour of Midtown, with sights such as the Chrysler Building, Lever House, Grand Central Terminal and the United Nations. The afternoon is free. In the evening, we’ll have a group meal and a world-class operatic performance at the Metropolitan Opera. Overnight New York (B, D).

Monday 15 April: Museum of Modern Art

With an early start we’ll take a private, before-hours tour of one the world’s greatest art collections, the Museum of Modern Art. There will be plenty of time for exploration of the collection after our guided tour. In the afternoon we’ll venture downtown to the heart of the action in New York City, and see the iconic sights of Wall Street, the Woolworth Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the 9/11 Memorial Site. Overnight New York (B).

Tuesday 16 April: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Today we’ll take on the other great art museum of New York – the Metropolitan Museum of Art – a collection truly encyclopaedic in its scope and ambitions. Your tour leader will offer to take you through some of the most important pieces of the American collection, or you can wander through the gallery at your leisure and visit what interests you most. After lunch at the gallery, we’ll take a walk through Central Park, New York’s unique urban landscape, and take in some of the carefully designed viewpoints and terraces. This evening we’ll take in a Broadway musical or play. Overnight New York (B).

Wednesday 17 April: Chelsea and SoHo

This morning we’ll make our way uptown once again for the Frick Collection, one of the best collections of Old Masters in the United States, all within the beautiful beaux-arts mansion of its namesake, industrialist Henry Clay Frick. After that, we’ll take a ride downtown to Chelsea. After lunch at the Chelsea Markets we’ll take a stroll down the serene High Line running through the district. There will be time in the afternoon for those interested to visit either the nearby Whitney Museum or go shopping in nearby SoHo. As it’s our last night together, we’ll have a relaxed farewell dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants. Overnight New York (B, D).

Thursday 18 April: Farewell

On our final morning together, we’ll have the option to visit the Guggenheim Museum, known internationally for its ground-breaking Frank Lloyd Wright modernist design and its avant garde collection, or the nearby Neue Collection, now world famous for its possession of Klimt’s Woman in Gold. Alternatively, for those interested there’s time to fit in some last-minute shopping on 5th Avenue. Airport transfers in the afternoon and evening (B).

Dr Matthew Laing

Is a historian and political scientist with a PhD from the ANU. Matthew leads tours to the United States and Scandinavia and lectures for Academy Travel.

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


Chicago, Kimpton Gray Hotel (4 nights)

A comfortable walk from Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago and Symphony Center. grayhotelchicago.com

Pittsburgh, Omni William Penn (2 nights)

The grand dame of Pittsburgh hotels opened in 1916, and located right in the heart of the city. omnihotels.com/hotels/pittsburgh-william-penn

Gettysburg, Gettysburg Hotel (1 night)

Established in 1797, the Gettysburg Hotel is the most modern and centrally located hotel in the town. hotelgettysburg.com

Washington, The George Hotel (4 nights)

Located just a stone’s throw from Union Station and the United States Capitol building, at the top of the Mall. www.hotelgeorge.com

New York, Warwick New York Hotel (5 nights)

Ideally situated on 54th and Sixth Avenue, just a stroll from Central Park, MoMA, Rockefeller Center and Broadway. warwickhotels.com/new-york/

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.

Fitness rating

Grade 2

A Grade 2 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


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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)

Detailed Itinerary

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