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    Additional Savings for Past Travelers

The Blues Highway from Chicago to New Orleans

11 Days from $1,820 per person

Style: Value | Pace: Active

Embark upon a journey of musical discovery, contrasting cultures, tastes, sights and sounds as you travel from Chicago through Bluegrass Country to the heart of the Deep South. From BBQ, Bourbon, Blues and Jazz to Country and Rock n Roll, add a touch of Cajun and this trip is a recipe for success.

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Embark upon a journey of musical discovery, contrasting cultures, tastes, sights and sounds as you travel from Chicago through Bluegrass Country to the heart of the Deep South. From BBQ, Bourbon, Blues and Jazz to Country and Rock n Roll, add a touch of Cajun and this trip is a recipe for success.

  1. Welcome to Chicago, the “Windy City.” Settle in at your hotel before meeting with your Travel Director this afternoon.

    hotel:Claridge House
  2. This morning's sightseeing tour includes famous Michigan Avenue, the “Magnificent Mile,” the Wrigley Building, the Loop, the Lakefront and Millennium Park. The afternoon is at leisure for optional activities. This evening, perhaps try Chicago's famous deep dish pizza.
  3. Travel to Louisville, with free time to pursue your own interests. Perhaps visit the famous Churchill Downs, home of The Kentucky Derby since 1875 or the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. You could also visit the Muhammad Ali Center, a tribute to the Louisville native.
    hotel:Drury Inn and Suites Louisville North
  4. This morning, visit a Bourbon distillery in Frankfort and discover the South's signature spirit before a tasting. Travel to Hodgenville. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park and the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek. Continue south toward Nashville. This evening, head to the world-famous Grand Old Opry and enjoy a live country-music concert.

    meal(s):Continental Breakfast
    hotel:Clarion Nashville Downtown-Stadium
  5. Enjoy an orientation tour of Nashville, viewing the city's famous landmarks and Music Row recording studios. Visit historic RCA's Studio B, one of the world's most successful recording studios, where Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley recorded their iconic voices. Afterward, explore the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to see memorabilia from Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Garth Brooks. Walk next to glittering costumes and Elvis' "solid gold" Cadillac. The afternoon is free.

    meal(s):Continental Breakfast
  6. Hit the highway to Memphis, “Home of the Blues.” On arrival, enjoy an orientation tour and see the Memphis Pyramid and National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Pass famous Beale Street, blues clubs, restaurants and much more. This evening, you may want to try some Memphis-style barbecue ribs.

    meal(s):Continental Breakfast
    hotel:The Guest House at Graceland
  7. In the morning, you can choose to visit the landmark Sun Studios, an optional activity. Graceland is as much an object of pilgrimage as an opulent museum dedicated to the late, great Elvis Presley. Marvel at the famous Jungle Room, stroll the grounds and see the Memorial Garden. This evening, you may want to visit one of the many blues clubs.

  8. Enjoy an Iconic Breakfast of Southern fare served family-style at one of the oldest cafés in Memphis. Then, travel deep into the heart of the Mississippi Delta, “Birthplace of the Blues.” From the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta came a new kind of music—the blues. Visit the Delta Blues Museum, the state's oldest music museum, dedicated to exploring the history of this uniquely American musical form. Continue south to Indianola where you'll visit the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta.

    meal(s):Iconic Breakfast
    hotel:Hampton Inn Indianola
  9. Head south to New Orleans, the "Crescent City." Get to know the city up close with a Local Specialist. Visit one of the unique above-ground cemeteries followed by a drive along historic Charles Avenue, bordered by stately mansions and see Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. The rest of the day is at leisure.

    meal(s):Continental Breakfast
    hotel:Wyndham New Orleans-French Quarter
  10. This morning, revel in the history and culture of the Cajun people as you make your way to a swamp tour. Be on the lookout for distinctive wildlife and learn the secrets of local alligator hunters, fur trappers and fishermen aboard a guided boat tour of the swamps and backwater bayous of Louisiana. Back in New Orleans, the rest of the day is yours.

  11. Bid farewell to your Travel Director and newfound friends as your tour comes to an end or extend your stay at the Wyndham in New Orleans.
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  • Definite Departure
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
7 Sep 19 17 Sep 19 $1,820pp AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
21 Sep 19 1 Oct 19 $1,820pp AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now
12 Oct 19 22 Oct 19 checkmark $1,820pp AARP members save an additional $100 Request Quote Book Now

All prices are per person twin-share. Single rooms available at a supplement.

Single Supplement: $875

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay tips to Travel Director and Driver $120 per person.

Airport Transfers: Complimentary transfers are available. Conditions apply.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

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  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels

Meal Summary

5 Breakfasts, .

Sightseeing Highlights

  • See famous Michigan Avenue, the “Magnificent Mile,” the Wrigley Building and Millennium Park in Chicago
  • In Frankfort, visit a Bourbon distillery and indulge in a tasting
  • Explore the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and Elvis' "solid gold" Cadillac, Studio B and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
  • In Memphis, stroll through the halls of Graceland, home of the great Elvis Presley
  • Enjoy an Iconic Breakfast of Southern fare served family-style at one of the oldest cafes in Memphis
  • Visit the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta
  • See Charles Avenue, stately mansions, above-ground cemeteries, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and the backwater bayous in New Orleans
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  • We suggest bringing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.

  • At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity.  We recommend $4-5 per person/per day for your driver and $6-7 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.


Tour of Chicago's 360 Building and Guided Architecture Tour on the Chicago River (including transportation)

Conveniently located along Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile®, 360 CHICAGO (formerly known as the John Hancock Building) soars 1,000 feet above Lake Michigan and the city’s majestic skyline to offer visitors the most breathtaking views of downtown Chicago, the lakefront and four neighboring states. Next, glide smoothly along all three branches of the Chicago River and under 13 bridges. While aboard you will experience the best opportunity to photograph Chicago's world-class architecture. The unique perspective from the Chicago River is unbeatable; expert guides will share an insider’s glimpse into the buildings, architecture, and engineering that made Chicago famous as the birthplace of the skyscraper and home of modern American architecture. Nothing is more impressive than this world-renowned architecture as seen from the Chicago River! Approx. duration: 1 hour
Adult Price: $66 

Chicago Helicopter Experience—Evening

Chicago glistens at night. Millions of lights dot the city—lining Lake Shore Drive, dancing on Buckingham Fountain, scattered across the skyscrapers. It’s nothing short of magical and the photo ops are truly endless. From your unique vantage point in our luxurious helicopter, your pilot will live-narrate your tour and you will be mesmerized by the spectacular light show below you. Flight duration: 30 mins
Adult Price: $169 

Chicago Helicopter Experience Daytime

Take a daytime tour and see what it’s like to be eye-level with Chicago's iconic skyscrapers. Your pilot will live-narrate your tour as you take in the views from the comfort of our luxury helicopter. Flight duration: 30 mins
Adult Price: $149 


Soul of Nashville

Take a self-guided tour through the hallowed halls of Ryman Auditorium. Immerse yourself in the Ryman’s magical history during “Soul of Nashville,” a one-of-a-kind theater experience which puts the spotlight on more than a century of legendary performances and showcases. This magical performance that jumps right off the walls featuring a collaboration with Darius Rucker, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. Approx. duration: 1 hour
Adult Price: $23 

Johnny Cash Museum

The Johnny Cash Museum features the world's largest collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. Walk through the life of the Man in Black depicted in interactive exhibits, films and much more.
Adult Price: $21 

Cashing Out with Johnny and Patsy

The Johnny Cash Museum features the world's largest most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia. Make the most of your visit and walk up to the second floor and explore the newly minted Patsy Cline Museum, which celebrates the life of the legendary songstress and features hundreds of never before seen artifacts, personal belongings, videos, and much more.
Adult Price: $39 


Bluesy Bites

Go back in time while exploring the birth of rock and soul music at the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, where extensive exhibits detail the musical pioneers who put Memphis on the map. The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum’s exhibition about the birth of rock and soul music, created by the Smithsonian Institution, tells the story of musical pioneers who, for the love of music, overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create the music that shook the entire world. Your audio guide adds depth to the detailed displays, with more than 100 songs to make your toes tap as you take in the museum. Then take a walk down Beale Street and head over to Blue's City Café for dinner. This famous restaurant is a favorite of locals and tourists alike featuring delicious Southern fare and live, local music. Approx. duration: 2.5 hours
Adult Price: $47 

Graceland—Elvis Experience Upgrade to VIP Tour

Die-hard fans will want to make the most of their visit to Graceland with this VIP Tour option. In addition to all of the added features accessed with the Elvis Experience, VIP guests at Graceland will have access to an exclusive, VIP Exhibit and front-of-the-line privileges for the Graceland Mansion tour which can be reused anytime during your stay.
Adult Price: $39 

New Orleans

Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise

Enjoy your evening in New Orleans aboard the newly minted City of New Orleans steamboat for a jazz dinner cruise on the Mississippi River. Enjoy a freshly prepared dinner while taking in lovely views of downtown New Orleans all while enjoying the sounds of the Grammy-nominated "Dukes of Dixieland." A full bar is also available for your pleasure. Approx. duration: 2 hours
Adult Price: $86 

City Walking Tour and Jazz Brunch

The heart and cultural center of New Orleans is the French Quarter, a must-see for its high energy, rich history, diverse architecture, music, street performers, renowned jazz clubs, lively nightlife and the finest art galleries and restaurants in the city. Enjoy a one-hour guided walking tour led by born and bred locals who will entertain and educate you about the vibrant history and modern culture of this historic neighborhood. Your walking tour ends at the historic Court of Two Sisters restaurant for their famous Jazz Brunch. The menu includes a sumptuous selection of hot and cold Creole-inspired cuisine such as cold, refreshing shellfish with house-made remoulade and cocktail sauce, a carving station, specialty salads, hot entrees such as shrimp etouffee and jambalaya, and freshly baked desserts! (Menu subject to change.) Approx. duration: 3 hours
Adult Price: $71