Arrive Los Angeles
Meet up with your fellow travellers and Tour Manager before heading straight out into the city that mixes up glamour, grit and the American Dream: Los Angeles. It's packed with legends, full of energy and there are loads of things to do. You'll head out for an insider's look at downtown LA on our morning walking tour. Your Local Guide will tell you all about the architecture, fill you in on American pop culture and show you some of the old theatres from Los Angeles' heyday.
Then head to mythical Hollywood and onto holy ground for the stars. Check out the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars are held every year and the Chinese Theatre, where so many greats have pressed their hands into the cement. We'll cruise down the hottest shopping street in LA, Melrose Avenue, and one of the best areas for nightlife, the Strip (Sunset Boulevard), with its billboards, clubs and eateries, before getting a glimpse at one of the world's wealthiest suburbs in Beverly Hills, where your Tour Manager will give you the background on the who's who of Hollywood A little further west and we arrive in Santa Monica, LA's oldest beach resort. Known for its liberal vibes, art galleries and wide sand beaches, Santa Monica is all about the California coast lifestyle. Your Tour Manager will give you some history on the city and then show you the famous pier, which serves as a permanent amusement park, complete with a solar powered Ferris wheel.
Later, we travel out to LA's quirkiest suburb where anything goes: Venice Beach. A favourite hang out spot for locals, colourful Venice Beach attracts all sorts of people. Get a feel for street life when you hit the buzzing boadwalk, where performers, tattoo artists, hair braiders, musicians and roller bladders gather. Make sure you check out the markets and stalls, as well as the greased-up body builders pumping iron at the famous open air gym, Muscle Beach. After dinner, you'll head straight out for an optional Hollywood Pub Crawl through some of the towns hottest bars and clubs. (D)
In your free time, explore more of this colourful metropolis. LA has it all when it comes to shopping. Hit the boutiques of Melrose Ave or window-shop the designer stores of Rodeo Drive. Visit the Fashion Museum for inspiration and see famous outfits from movies on display, then hunt down some funky threads and interesting materials in the Garment District. This city has food as diverse as its residents - you can find anything from burgers or tacos at a pavement stand to sushi in Little Tokyo, so make sure you make the most of this cultural melting pot. For some all-American sports, check to see if any basketball, baseball, soccer or football games are on while you're in town.
Spend a fun day exploring the world-famous theme parks of LA. Get inside Walt Disney's magical imagination at Disneyland, where you can experience different theme zones and rides like Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean. For a behind-the-scenes look at movie making, head to Universal Studios and enjoy the thrills of this park's film-themed rides. Otherwise, have a look at the Hollywood Bowl programme, pack a picnic and head to an outdoor summer concert or hang out with some of your new friends in the funky bars and live music clubs of Hollywood. (B)
Los Angeles to San Francisco
This morning, we board our flight for San Francisco. Colorful, cosmopolitan and creative, San Francisco is packed with characters, free-thinkers, and artists. You'll see the signs of its recent history where it served as the hub of the gold rush, as well as the center for Beatnik and Hippy cultures.
Get familiar with this buzzing city as your Tour Manager shows you around San Francisco's key sights. Walk across San Francisco's landmark suspension bridge, the Golden Gate. We stop off at Fisherman's Wharf for a slice of the historic waterfront lifestyle, where you can order some fresh fish or crab from sidewalk stands. You'll also check out the city's iconic row houses on Alamo Square. Thriving with activity, Chinatown is a fun, kitsch experience. Your Tour Manager will take you there to see its hidden spots tonight. Learn about the history of the gold rush as you walk through the bustling district, past traditional herb-sops, Buddhas, and flashing neon lights. Then eat together at one of its many authentic restaurants. (D)
With 2 full days here, get a real feel for San Francisco and its hilly streets. Chalk up a local experience by jumping on a cable car and exploring the city. If you've booked ahead of time, catch a ferry out to Alcatraz, the former island jail that once held A-list criminals like Al 'Scarface' Capone, Soviet spies and crime bosses. Walk around the old cells and get the background on these bad boys. You could turn back the clock to the 'Summer of Love' with a visit to cool Haight-Ashbury, the center point of 1960s alternative culture. Once packed with 75000 hippies, it now has chilled-out cafes, record stores, second hand clothes shops and bookstores to rummage through.
With over 3000 places to eat and drink, San Francisco has endless choices. Head to the city's gritty Latin American quarter, Mission District, for Mexican tacos or El Salvadorian pupusas (corn flat breads stuffed with cheese, pork or beans) or hit North Beach for some Italian. Tonight there's an included sunset sail out on San Francisco's famous bay. (Bx2/D)
San Francisco to Las Vegas
Get ready to arrive in larger-than-life Las Vegas - a man-made entertainment oasis smack in the middle of the desert. Often dubbed Sin City, it's all about glitz, neon lights, and excess. See the bright lights of this city and its world-famous casinos in a first taste of Vegas kitsch as the group heads down the main drag, the 'Strip', and your Tour Manager fills you in on the story behind Vegas. Then cruise downtown to Freemont Street and experience a slice of the spectacular at a light and laser show in a massive pedestrian mall. (D)
With two free days, you've got time to get a real feel for this outrageous town, so keep an eye out for Elvis impersonators and fast-paced chapel weddings! Explore more of the Strip and check out over-the-top versions of international icons, like the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals and gondolas, a Roman temple or the pyramid, whose nightlight can be seen from the moon. Try your luck at one of the casinos and sit yourself down at a blackjack table with the high-rollers. For a different kind of thrill you can visit a Strip-view roller coaster or sky-high theme park. If you work up an appetite, tuck into an all you can eat buffet or eat from the kitchen of a celebrity chef. Discover the quirky side of Las Vegas' at the Neon Museum and for a look into this town's atomic heyday in the 50s, visit the Atomic Testing Museum.
If you just want to relax, position yourself poolside back at the hotel and soak up the Las Vegas sun. There's a chance to discover the mind-blowing landscape of the Grand Canyon
, one of the world's most recognizable natural wonders, in a fantastic optional helicopter flight. See an optional variety show with the group then get some pointers on Las Vegas' hot spots from your Tour Manager before your included limo ride; whatever you do make the most of this towns' 24/7 action with some of your new friends. (B)
Las Vegas to New York
Leaving Las Vegas behind, we catch a flight and hit New York next. Cool, chic and pumping with urban soul, this is one knock-out town. From yellow cabs to delis, from hit shows to cutting-edge galleries, from iconic monuments to street culture, this city has it all.
Hello Big Apple!
Get familiar with the Big Apple as your Tour Manager shows you round New York's core spots today. You'll kick start the day as your Tour Manager opens up Manhattan. See the USA's economic heart on Wall Street and the famous stock exchange NYSE, before checking out the cultural hub of Harlem and the famous Apollo theater, where jazz, blues and soul greats like James Brown performed. You'll see Museum Row, which includes some of the world's most prestigious museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Check out the towering Rockefeller center, which took 70 000 workers to build, the Gothic St Patrick's Cathedral and the exclusive jewelry store, Tiffany's before making a sobering stop at the World Trade Center Site, where the Twin Towers once stood.
After dinner tonight, we'll all head down to Times Square. Take in the bright night lights of this popular meeting point, right in the thick of the theater district. With free time, maybe you could catch a late show, New York style. Or else, with so much variety and so many places to go, head out with some friends and explore the city's incredible nightlife. (B/D)
More Of Manhattan
This city has it all & you have two free days to explore. First up, check out the Manhattan skyline on our cruise to the Statue of Liberty, then head out & take NYC by storm! You could impress the foodie within on an NYC food cart tour, or hit the shops on 5th Avenue, or wander through NYC's vibrant neighbourhoods like the Lower East Side with its cute boutiques, great coffee & street art. Maybe discover your inner Carrie on a 'Sex & the City' tour, go local & head out for pizza & cocktails or catch a Broadway show. Try cruising through Central Park on a bike tour, visit The Met or MoMa Gallery, or cross the historic Brooklyn Bridge, the options are endless. You'll also get a different view of the Big Apple when we head to the top of the Empire State Building for unbeatable views of Manhattan by night. (B)
Depart New York City
This morning the trip ends. It's time to swap emails & say farewell to your new friends.