Nov 18 - 30, 2018
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
Nov 18 - 30, 2018

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


Enjoy Thanksgiving in the Big Apple and a host of other events on this special tour. As well as the regular offerings on our New York performing arts tours – opera, symphony, private visits to galleries such as MoMA etc – we’ve included seasonal events that are only on offer at this special time of year, such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the legendary Radio City Rockettes. There’s also some great new season stage drama and musicals on offer. Accommodation, as always, is in spacious premium plus rooms in the perfectly located Warwick Hotel on 54th Street.


  • The unique atmosphere of New York in the Fall, with seasonal food and the leaves turning gold in Central Park
  • Special Thanksgiving events – the most important annual festivities in North America
  • The lighting of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, the traditional start of Christmas in New York and a major event in the city
  • A stimulating range of new season performances of stage drama, musicals, opera and symphony
  • An expert’s account of the history and architecture of New York over the decades
  • Newly-opened exhibitions at galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA


Eight Outstanding Performances

  • The smash-hit Musical Hamilton, based on the life of New York founding father Alexander Hamilton
  • Penny Woolcock’s spectacular production of the The Pearlfishers by Georges Bizet at the Metropolitan Opera
  • The New York Philharmonic Orchestra playing George Frideric Handel’s celebratory Water Music at the Lincoln Center
  • The Boston Symphony Orchestra playing Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.5 at Carnegie Hall, led by Andris Nelsons
  • George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet, a highlight of the city’s holiday calendar since 1954
  • The Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall at the Rockefeller Center
  • A new production of a stage play from the Broadway 2018-19 season. We often wait to see reviews before deciding which stage play to include
  • An evening of jazz at the elegant Jazz at the Lincoln Center

Itinerary Overview

The itinerary includes 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 out-of-hours viewing of the Museum of Modern Art with a museum lecturer
  • Excursion to Philip Johnson’s Glass House, north of the city
  • Curator-led tour of The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exquisite medieval collection on the northern tip of Manhattan
  • Charming small galleries, including The Frick Collection and The Neue Galerie
  • Architectural walking tours of Midtown, Downtown, SoHo and Chelsea, featuring Beaux-Arts, Art Deco and Post-Modern masterpieces
  • Lectures on the history, architecture and culture of the city

Fine Dining

  • Degustation dinner at the Michelin three-star restaurant Eleven Madison Park
  • Lunch at the Michelin two-star restaurant The Modern, inside the Museum of Modern Art
  • A traditional all-American Thanksgiving dinner at one of New York’s leading restaurants

There are currently no places available on this tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details above.

Getting There

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

Detailed Itinerary

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

Sunday November 18: Arrival

Flights from Australia arrive in New York in the late afternoon. In the early evening, we gather for drinks in the hotel bar. (If you have arrived early we suggest you take the AIA harbour cruise today. Academy Travel can arrange bookings.)

Monday November 19: Downtown – Carnegie hall

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, the Woolworth Building, and New York City Hall. We have a welcome lunch at a leading downtown restaurant. The afternoon is free. This evening we kick off our performances in style at the legendary Carnegie Hall. The venue has superb acoustics and a long tradition of outstanding performances. Tonight will be no exception, with the internationally recognised Boston Symphony Orchestra, led by the charismatic Andris Nelsons, performing Mahler’s popular masterpiece Symphony No. 5 (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Carnegie Hall
Program: Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and Gruber’s Aerial.
Performers: Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons and featuring Hakan Hardenberger on trumpet.

Tuesday November 20: 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 Woman in Gold. Not far away is the Guggenheim Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s last architectural masterpiece. We will inspect the building and tour the exciting exhibition opening on the work of Hilma af Klint, a Swedish artist who pioneered the first abstract modern painting inspiring the later greats such as Kandinsky, Mondrian and Malevich. This evening we head to the Metropolitan Opera for a sumptuous performance of Bizet’s The Pearlfishers. Our seats are in the Grand Tier, often considered the best for sight and sound. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Lincoln Center Opera House
Program: Bizet’s The Pearlfishers
Performers: Conducted by Emmanuel Villaume; Pretty Yende (Leila), Javier Camarena (Nadir), Mariusz Kwiecien (Zurga), Nicholas Teste (Nourabad).

Wednesday November 21: Midtown – Hamilton

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 and the 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. This evening we make our first trip to Broadway for the smash-hit musical Hamilton, the hottest show 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 Theater, Broadway
Program: Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Performers: Michael Luwoye (Hamilton), Daniel Breaker (Aaron Burr), Lexi Lawson (Eliza Hamilton), Euan Morton (King George), Bryan Terrell Clark (George Washington)

Thursday November 22: Thanksgiving in New York

We celebrate Thanksgiving today, beginning with the Macy’s Parade, New York’s biggest event and the world’s biggest parade, with spectacular floats and displays to bring a smile to all age groups. We then feast on a traditional American Thanksgiving banquet at one of New York’s leading restaurants, with turkey and all the trimmings. For those who wish to walk off lunch, we will take an optional stroll through the brownstones of Brooklyn Heights and across the Brooklyn Bridge in the late afternoon. (B, L)

Friday November 23: New Canaan – NY Philharmonic

Today we travel north by train to visit Philip Johnson’s stunning Glasshouse in the town of New Canaan, Connecticut. Actually, an estate comprising several buildings, this iconic example of 20th-century architecture was created between 1949 and the 1980s. Johnson is a key figure in American architecture, and a visit to his estate is a great day trip to break up our stay in New York. We stop for a lunch break in New Canaan before returning to New York, where the Black Friday sales are in full swing! We return to the Lincoln Center for an evening with the New York Philharmonic performing Handel’s Water Music, the perfect celebratory music to accompany the holiday season. (B)

Performance details

Venue: David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Program: Handel’s Water Music
Performers: New York Philharmonic, conducted by Emmanuelle Haim

Saturday November 24: Soho to Chelsea – Jazz

We continue our exploration of New York’s neighbourhoods with a coach and walking tour of historic Soho, Washington Square and the Flatiron District, renowned for their boutique shopping, bohemian culture and fine food. In Chelsea, we visit the newly re-opened Whitney Museum of American Art, and stroll the High Line, a beautiful urban park situated on a former elevated rail line through the chic Chelsea and Meatpacking districts. This evening we enjoy a performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center in their magnificent auditorium overlooking Central Park. Their program will be released in September. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Jazz at Lincoln Center
Program: To be announced September 2018
Performers: To be announced September 2018

Sunday November 25: Frick Collection – Broadway Play

For early risers, there is the chance to witness a gospel church service in the Harlem neighbourhood and tour some of the sights in northern Manhattan. 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 Fifth Avenue mansion. After lunch, we return to Broadway this afternoon for a matinee performance of a stage play, selected from the best of the 2018-19 season. The late afternoon and evening is free. (B)

Performance details
Venue: A Broadway theatre
Program: A stage play, to be announced September 2018
Performers: To be announced September 2018

Monday November 26: Museum of Modern Art

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. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy MoMA, visit other sites, or take an optional tour of 5th and Madison Avenues. For those feeling like an evening adventure, there will be an additional option to explore Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights, where New York’s most incredible Christmas light displays are to be found. (B, L)

Tuesday November 27: The Met – New York Ballet

After a lecture, we spend the morning at The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval department, located on the northern tip of Manhattan. 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. Your tour leader will provide optional guidance around the highlights of American art included in the Metropolitan’s incredible collection. This evening we return to the Lincoln Center for a favourite of the New York holiday season – George Ballanchine’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, which has been performed to the delight of young and old annually since 1954. (B)

Performance details
Venue: David Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Program: The Nutcracker
Performers: New York City Ballet

Wednesday November 28: Great Libraries

This morning we visit the Morgan Library, containing an exquisite collection of extremely rare manuscripts and books, and take a tour of the magnificent New York Public Library, as well as Bryant Park, Herald’s Square and Empire State Building area. Tonight, we’ll witness the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, the traditional start of Christmas in New York and a major event in the city. (B)

Thursday November 29: Degustation – The Rockettes

A free morning for those interested in squeezing in some shopping or additional sights before the next day’s departure. In the afternoon, we’ll attend a performance of the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular, showcasing dance and choreography at Radio City Music Hall since 1932. This evening we farewell New York with the dining highlight of the tour – a degustation dinner at Eleven Madison Park, a Michelin three-star restaurant regularly ranked in the world’s top 10. (B, D)

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

Friday November 30: Departure

We finish our tour with a lecture and walk in Central Park, one of the greatest achievements in urban landscape architecture, and take in many of the unique but often missed features designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. After saying our farewells, in the mid-afternoon there is a transfer to JFK airport for those departing New York. (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.”

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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 within walking distance of many of New York’s most popular attractions. The hotel has just completed a major renovation.

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 1

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.

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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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