Historic Route 66: America’s Mother Road
Travel along America’s Main Street with your ensemble, take in the sights, learn the history of the legendary route, and perform along the way! Your tour will fittingly kick off in Chicago, where Route 66 officially begins. The original route plan intentionally consisted of many pre-established roads, linking rural towns and bringing a boost to their economies. Illinois had many paved roads already in place which made it a logical place for the route to begin; the remainder of the route was mostly gravel and dirt roadways that required work before they would be ready for steady traffic flow. Departing Chicago, the route followed the Pontiac Trail to St. Louis. This is your second stop on the tour. Experience the Gateway Arch and other St. Louis highlights before continuing to Springfield, Missouri, and on to Tulsa for the fourth of July and then concluding the tour in Oklahoma City. Get your Kicks on Route 66! Share your music with tourists and locals alike as you travel the Historic Route 66 with your ensemble!
Board a group flight from to Chicago where your Music Contact International tour manager will greet your group at the airport and together board your awaiting motor coach and head into Chicago. Welcome to the Windy City!Dive right into the history of the iconic Mother Road of America in downtown Chicago where the legendary route began!
Join a local guide and embark on a tour of the city hitting all the Route 66 highlights, including the famed ‘Route 66 Begin’ sign on East Jackson Boulevard. Check in to your hotel this afternoon. One option for the group will be a memorable stay at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, offering tours of the historic property, uncovering stories from the Al Capone era, a secret speakeasy onsite during prohibition, and more! This evening, a special welcome dinner for your group is waiting for you at The Berghoff Restaurant, a legendary German restaurant that’s been in business since 1893. This multi-generational, family-owned gem emerged from a successful German beer stall at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Return to your hotel and get a great night’s rest.
Wake to breakfast at the hotel this morning before you embark on an exciting full day in Chicago! Spend the morning exploring the Art Institute of Chicago located in Grant Park. As downtown Chicago’s number one museum, and one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country, the will be no shortage of impressive galleries to peruse. See renowned legends like Wood’s American Gothic, or seek out a Georgia O’Keefe, Monet, or van Gogh. When you’re leaving the Art Institute, be sure to catch a second look at the Route 66 Begin sign right across the street!
The afternoon is yours free to spend in the city as you wish – perhaps you’ll continue exploring Grant Park and the variety of other museums nearby, take a photo with Millenium Park’s Bean, or walk the popular lakefront trail along the shores of Lake Michigan. This evening, your ensemble will perform alongside a local ensemble in a Friendship Concert in the city – a wonderful first performance of the tour. After your performance, the remainder of the night is yours to spend as you wish. Your new friends might have a delicious dinner suggestion nearby!
After breakfast in the hotel dining room, take a Frank Lloyd Wright architectural tour. The influential American architect spent an important chapter of his career in Chicago, his first twenty years of practice. Oak Park, a historic suburb of the city, has more Wright homes than anywhere else in the world – discover the work and principles of this architect as you see his designs up close.
When your tour concludes, you can spend the remainder of the day as you wish! Perhaps you’ll explore the shops and restaurants on Navy Pier, or take a boat cruise on the lake. Tickets to a show this evening could be arranged upon request and pending availability – supplement applies.
Enjoy breakfast in your hotel first thing this morning. Attend service at the Cathedral of St. Louis, or similar, and perform for the congregation following the service. Take time for lunch after your performance. Your new friends in the congregation may have a local secret nearby! This afternoon, travel inside the Gateway Arch and take in the views from top.
Coined the ‘Gateway to the West’, this monument was built in 1963 commemorating national expansion and is the centerpiece of Gateway Arch National Park. Standing 630 feet high, the arch monument holds a few claims to fame as the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere and the tallest arch in the world. The evening is yours to explore St. Louis as you wish. Tickets to a concert at the Fox Theater or Cathedral could be arranged tonight upon request and pending availability – supplement applies.
Your day begins with a panoramic tour led by a local expert to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks that reflect the Route 66 era in American history. Begin your tour at the Route 66 Visitor Center. A primary source of information for any Mother Road adventurer offering historic maps, photos and memorabilia. Travel past the cultural sites of Gillioz Theatre and Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque. Pass by the authentic Rockwood Motor Court serving Route 66 travelers since 1929. End your tour at Springfield’s History Museum on the Square. For many years, U.S. 66 passed directly through Springfield’s Park Central Square, which is now home to the history museum showcasing the story of the life-changing impacts the highway had on the city. Fans of Route 66 won’t want to miss this museum.
For lunch, head to Route 66 Food Truck Park, located on St. Louis Street (historic Rt. 66) which displays many vintage neon road signs. There are various food trucks featuring an array of ever-changing food options ranging from street tacos to plant-based dishes. Or visit the Steak ‘n Shake which has been a Springfield tradition for nearly 50 years serving Mother Road adventurers.
This afternoon is yours free to explore. Visit the Route 66 Car Museum, Springfield’s stunning Botanical Gardens, or Wonders of Wildlife National Museum. Stroll through C-Street, Springfield’s historic commercial street offering a range of cafes, eateries and shopping.
Bid farewell to Springfield and continue your Route 66 journey to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Being centrally located, Oklahoma hosted the longest stretch of Route 66 within state borders. You’ll see numerous vintage and some quirky roadside attractions along the way, including the Blue whale, World’s Largest Concrete Totem Pole. Travel through Cherokee Nation stretching over 7,000 square miles of Northeast Oklahoma.
Tulsa, located on the Arkansas River, is home to bustling urban districts, exceptional dining and love for the arts. Oklahoma’s second-largest city, Tulsa is known for its Art Deco architecture, mostly concentrated in the Deco District. Locals proudly call Tulsa the “Mother of the Mother Road”. Not only does it claim a 24 mile stretch of the original highway it is also the home to Cyrus Avery who conceived the idea to link Chicago to Los Angeles. Check into your Tulsa hotel. A group dinner is arranged at a local restaurant.
This morning, continue west to your final destination of Oklahoma City. Stop at the Round Barn in Arcadia, the only wooden round barn still standing in Oklahoma and one of the most photographed sights along Route 66. Although built before the highway was constructed, the Round Barn has long been a Route 66 landmark. Today it acts as a visitor center with memorabilia. Test out the acoustics at this historic landmark as you performs a few impromptu songs for other visitors. Your Oklahoma City visit begins with a panoramic tour led by a local expert to some of the city’s most treasured landmarks. Travel through the capital city to see historic and modern landmarks along the famed highway. Pass the Tower Theatre, opened in 1937 and now the city’s last original movie house and the Oklahoma State Capitol building. See the Milk Bottle Building, the Old Gold Dome– a geodesic dome that has been a mother road attraction since 1958, and the Overholser Bridge. Drive through the city’s Asian District known as “Little Saigon” which occupies a stretch of the historic Route 66.
End your tour at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Learn about the tragic events that occurred on April 19, 1995 at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. An outdoor memorial stands as a symbol of strength and hope in the wake of unspeakable violence. Here perform a tribute concert at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The generosity of your performance will touch the other memorial visitors. Check into your Oklahoma City hotel and refresh. The remainder of the evening is free to spend at leisure. You may want to visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art that houses European and American Art. Enjoy “cocktails in the skyline” of the museum’s rooftop. If pickin’ is your thing, pay a visit to the American Banjo Museum.
Wake up to breakfast at your hotel restaurant before starting your final day of your Route 66 Performance Tour. Enjoy a morning visit to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum that holds impressive collections of Western and Native American art, historic cowboy gear and tools, as well as a cowboy Hall of Fame exhibit. It is a fun and interactive way to learn about the enduring legacy of the American West. For lunch visit one of Oklahoma City’s newest districts, Bricktown, known for its premier dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities.
Continue to learn about the Great American Frontier with a visit to the First Americans Museum, Oklahoma’s newest museum set to open in Fall 2021. Experience First American history, culture and art as you hear and view the stories representing the 39 First American Nations. It’s time to recount the many highlights of your tour! Toast to the success of your performances, new musical friends, great sightseeing in gorgeous locations along the Mother Road over a delicious farewell dinner at a special restaurant. Wrap up the night with cheers and memories to last a lifetime.
| HEAD HOME OR EXTEND YOUR STAY
Your Great American performance tour ends with a flight from Oklahoma City back home. Heartfelt goodbyes are exchanged at the airport and your group is sent off with a fond “Thank you for connecting our world through your music. Until we meet again……!” Welcome, Home!