Literature is so much more than words on a page. Teach your students about the lives and inspiration behind countless works of amazing American literature through tour sites in key cities across the country. Son Tours offers a variety of customizable options for students to explore American literature through tours of the following cities:
- Literary Tours in Atlanta
- Literary Tours in Boston
- Literary Tours in Chicago
- Literary Tours in New Orleans
- Literary Tours in New York
- Literary Tours in Philadelphia
- Literary Tours in Washington, D.C.
The area in and around metro Atlanta is bursting with literary history. Within the city, students can visit Margaret Mitchell’s home, a stop on the Southern Literary Trail, to understand the mindsets behind the Confederate side of the Civil War and to learn about the twentieth-century perspectives behind Gone with the Wind. Students can also explore the extensive Robert W. Woodruff Library and the Central Library, both of which house multiple floors of books and hold various exhibitions and events throughout the year. Literature learners can also participate in a number of events within the city, including those held by Write Club and the Georgia Center for the Book.
Just outside of Atlanta, students on a U.S. literature tour can explore the historical homes of authors like Alice Walker and Flannery O’Connor. If visiting over Labor Day Weekend, student tour groups can also enjoy the Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country.
Boston is a well-known hub of American literature tour sites. Within the same city known for its Revolutionary War history, students can also explore the historical homes of authors such as Lois Lowry, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, and many others in the renowned Boston Literary Cultural District. In this same area, students on U.S. literature tours can see the locations where a number of notable works were written or set, such as the famous bridge from The Trumpet of the Swan and the burial ground where a few of the fictional characters from The Scarlet Letter were buried. Plus, literary learners can visit locations that are historically significant for literature as a whole, such as the Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest independent libraries in the U.S. Furthermore, there are various literary events that take place throughout the district year round that students can enjoy.
Outside of the city, student travel groups can visit the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, or the Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Springfield. The Emily Dickinson Museum and the Jones Library are both in Amherst, making it an excellent excursion for those on United States literary tours. Students can also take a closer trip to Walden Pond in Concord, where Henry David Thoreau penned some of his most famous transcendentalist works, found in Walden. This area is especially significant for literature, as the area was owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Windy City is home to an abundance of U.S. literature tour sites for literature students to explore. Students can visit the Lorraine Hansberry House, former home of the author of A Raisin in the Sun, and the Ernest Hemingway Museum and Birthplace. The Newberry Library is another excellent location with exhibits, tours, readings, and much more for students to enjoy. Furthermore, Chicago is home to the Poetry Foundation, which holds over 30,000 volumes of poetry, exhibitions on a regular basis, and performances of the foundation’s public readings.
Louisiana has been both home to and inspiration for many authors throughout the course of America’s history. Mark Twain found inspiration and enjoyment on New Orleans’ Canal Street, and Frances Parkinson Keyes found a setting for one of her most famous novels, Dinner at Antoine’s, at Antoine’s Restaurant between Royal and Bourbon Streets. No American literary tour of New Orleans would be complete without a trip to the Hotel Monteleone, where a number of authors stayed and wrote, including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, John Grisham, and more. Students learning about the works of Tennessee Williams may find a new connection to the playwright at his various homes in New Orleans. Another noteworthy home in this city is that of William Faulkner (who also wrote in the Hotel Monteleone). His former residence, in fact, is now also a bookstore that carries a wide array of first editions and rarities, a treat to see in itself.
Thinking about taking your literature students on a U.S. literary tour through New York City? The Big Apple is bustling in the present, but it’s absolutely teeming with the literature of the past. Students can visit Walt Whitman’s birthplace, which is now a state historic site, and they can explore the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center. The Morgan Library and Museum and the New York Public Library are also excellent stops for those on an American literature tour, as both libraries hold various historical tomes and manuscripts.
For those who want students to see where famous authors set their scenes, New York City is a fantastic place to let the literature come to life. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye features some notable historical landmarks that students can visit today, including the Rockefeller Skating Rink and the Central Park Zoo Carousel. Students can also visit the Plaza Hotel, where Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby had their showdown in The Great Gatsby. This sprawling city has no shortage of locales that set the scene for famous works of literature.
Philadelphia is home to more than just cheesesteaks and chocolate. It houses some of the most interesting literary locations in the nation, making it more than worthy of a U.S. literature tour. Here, students can explore one of Edgar Allan Poe’s former residences at the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia also live in this sprawling city. At the University of Pennsylvania, students on an American literature tour can also find rare tomes at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Washington, D.C. is more than just a place to learn about the American government. Students on a U.S. literature tour of D.C. can learn about Frederick Douglass at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Shakespeare at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and many other authors, not to mention the countless volumes housed at the Library of Congress. A short drive away, students can visit the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum as well as the famous writer’s final resting place. Washington, D.C. is also home to various literary festivals and events that are both educational and entertaining for students on an American literature tour.
For more information about educational tours in Washington, D.C., click here. Or, if you’re ready to start planning a U.S. literature tour, contact us here