Enjoy Thanksgiving in the Big Apple and a host of other events on this special holiday tour. As well as the regular offerings on our New York performing arts tours – opera, symphony, private visits to galleries such as MoMA – we’ve included seasonal events that are only on offer at this special time of year, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and legendary Rockettes’ performances. 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.
New York’s unique Fall atmosphere, from seasonal food to Central Park’s golden leaves
Special Thanksgiving events, including a traditional lunch and the Macy’s Parade
The lighting of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, the traditional start of the holiday season
A stimulating range of new season performances of stage drama, musicals, opera and symphony
An expert’s account of New York’s history and architecture
Performances Eight top performances are included:
The smash-hit musical Hamilton, based on the life of New York’s founding father
A production from the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019-2020 season
A concert by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall
A performance at the world-famous Carnegie Hall
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 stage play from the Broadway 2019-2020 season
An evening of jazz at the elegant Jazz at the Lincoln Center
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 postmodern masterpieces
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 traditional all-American Thanksgiving meal at one of New York’s leading restaurants
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qantas and United Airlines fly regularly to the East Coast. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Sunday November 24: 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 25: 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. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Carnegie Hall Program: To be advised Performers: To be advised
Tuesday November 26: 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 collection. From the Guggenheim, we make our way into 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. This evening we head to the Metropolitan Opera at the Lincoln Center to enjoy a performance from their 2019-20 season. (B)
Performance details Venue: Lincoln Center Opera House Program: To be advised Performers: To be advised
Wednesday November 27: 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: A Broadway theatre Program: Hamilton Performers: To be advised
Thursday November 28: 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 29: 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. (B)
Performance details Venue: David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center Program: To be advised Performers: New York Philharmonic
Saturday November 30: Chelsea – Jazz
This 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 visit the newly re-opened Whitney Museum of American Art. 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 advised Performers: To be advised
Sunday December 1: 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 2019-20 season. 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)
Performance details Venue: A Broadway theatre Program: A stage play, to be advised Performers: A stage play, to be advised
Monday December 2: The Met & a Degustation
Today 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. This evening we enjoy 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)
Tuesday December 3: Great Libraries – New York Ballet
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 the Empire State Building area. 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 December 4: Museum of Modern Art – The Rockettes
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 afternoon, we’ll attend a performance of the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular, showcasing dance and choreography at Radio City Music Hall since 1932. Tonight, we continue the Christmas cheer by witnessing 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)
Performance details Venue: Radio City Music Hall Program: Christmas Spectacular Performers: The Rockettes
Thursday December 5: Departure
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)
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.
Stuart Barrie is a social historian with strong interests in modern history, and in particular Europe and the USA in the twentieth century, and lately modern architecture, especially the residential architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The development of his latest interests arose from the intersection of the Bauhaus Movement and the Prarie style of architecture developed by Wright.
Stuart has a BA from Macquarie University and a MComm from the University of NSW and has been leading tours for over 30 years. He started working for a leading coach tour operator in the mid 1980’s leading tours throughout the UK, Western Europe and into the then Soviet Republic and Eastern Europe. His passion for tour leading led him to be a founding director of Academy Travel and he has led over 20 tours for Academy.
A particular interest has been observing the radical changes that have occurred in group tourism over the past 30 years and the changing landscape of cities. His favourite city is Berlin, from his first visit entering East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie and being forced to exchange West German Marks into virtually worthless East German Marks, to visiting the vibrant city that Berlin is today with the ironic focal shift from the former “1960’s modern” West Berlin central area to the preserved, through neglect, historic Museum Island area.
His latest passion has been the modern architecture movement of the mid twentieth century in America, primarily of Frank Lloyd Wright, but also of Meis Van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Richard Neutra and Albert Frey. This has led Stuart to develop and lead several architecture themed tours throughout the USA following the “Frank Lloyd Wright Trail”.
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.
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.