Planning a school trip is full of tough decisions. You want your location to boast world-class attractions and culture near your accommodations, all while staying on budget. For many, the clear choices are New York and Los Angeles, hubs for entertainment and business rich in activities for students and teachers alike. Whether you want to explore a studio set and Disneyland or meet Broadway performers in the shadow of skyscrapers, Brightspark provides itineraries designed for school groups with performance or educational emphasis, with lodging and dining scheduled ahead of time and personalized for each tour. Students can engage with the film and theater communities of each city or instead focus on the historic offerings in America’s. No matter which coast you plan on visiting, Brightspark promises a trip that blends variety with affordability.

Educational Tours

New York City, home to over 8 million people and 800 languages, can be difficult to navigate and experience for seasoned travelers, much less a large group of students. Brightspark’s “Big Apple Highlights” tour allocates time for the city’s most famous sites while giving opportunities to explore New York’s rich history and cultural diversity. Groups will be supervised as they explore Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Little Italy and Midtown neighborhoods, with plenty of time to shop and snap selfies in Times Square. Other photo opportunities include the Brooklyn Bridge and a trip to the Empire State Building’s observation deck, where visitors can view the city’s five boroughs from 1,200 feet. Students will also tour notable sites in the East Coast’s entertainment capital, including Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios and Madison Square Garden. Those interested in our nation’s past will appreciate the time spent on Ellis Island, which welcomed millions of immigrants in the early 20th century, as well as the American Museum of National History, home to fossils, meteorites and ancient human artifacts from across the globe. With centrally located accommodations, students are blocks or a subway ride away from New York’s world-renowned restaurant and fashion scene, though a preplanned dining schedule ensures less time worrying about where to feed a large group and more time soaking up the history and culture behind every corner of this four-day tour.

Los Angeles

Tell your students to picture Southern California and they’ll likely imagine beaches and Hollywood, but Los Angeles has so much more to offer. The “Southern California Educational Tours” focus not just on show business and sunshine but also LA’s natural history and Spanish-influenced architecture. But don’t worry; there will still be time to visit Disneyland. Students on this five-day tour will see the La Brea Tar Pits, where animals and plants from the Ice Age have been preserved for scientific research, and Aquarium of the Pacific, which features underwater tunnels to explore areas themed by ocean. LA is the entertainment capital of the world, and while you may spot a movie star on Brightspark’s buses, the real highlight will be a tour a film studio. Miniature cities unto themselves, these backlots are a maze of soundstages, canteens and prop shops an experienced guide will show you through. Later, your group will have a perfect photo opportunity from Griffith Observatory, which features views of downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel Mountains. No visit would be complete without a visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” and students will be given a park-hopper pass and an entire day to explore Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom and California Adventure parks.

Performance Tours

Performance tours place more emphasis on New York’s legendary theater community by giving acting, band and choir students the opportunity to display their talents in front of international audiences while meeting with professionals working in the industry. Theater groups will explore the backstage areas and dressing rooms for a Broadway show, meeting the performers for acclaimed hits such as Aladdin and Fiddler on the Roof. Sit in on rehearsal and even perform with the entire cast, joining them onstage for the curtain call performance that evening. For groups with bands and vocal performers, Brightspark will grant access to Radio City Music Hall, which has welcomed legendary crooners, orchestras and rock stars. A morning music clinic will see your group learn from professional musicians about performance techniques and playing in America’s most famous concert venues. Students will then be able to experience those venues themselves, catching an orchestra performance at the Lincoln Center and attending a jazz performance in the city’s numerous clubs. The arts emphasis of the tour is rounded off with a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to works by painting masters Rembrandt, Monet and van Gogh.

Radio City Music Hall

Performance groups will find plenty of West Coast variety on Brightspark’s seven Disneyland Tours. These trips take a particular emphasis (theater, band, choir) and give students a behind-the-scenes peek at the lives of Disney performers. Dancers, character actors and musicians from the property’s parks will lead your group through workshops and the creative spaces underneath the park itself. Here costumes are designed, shows are choreographed and musicians rehearse, and students will be able to ask questions directly to industry professionals. Groups will also be able to perform in the parks; bands can march down Main Street U.S.A. in a parade, dance groups can present their routine to visitors and vocal groups can sing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Of course, tours also offer free time to enjoy the parks, experiencing classic attractions such as Space Mountain, It’s a Small World and Jungle Cruise. Your four-day trip won’t be limited to Disney property, however. Your group will have time for a guided tour on the Warner Bros. lot, where they’re granted up-close looks with props from the Harry Potter and Batman film franchises.

With so many offerings and emphasis areas, Brightspark is bound to have a tour right for your school trip. New York and Los Angeles are the largest and most culturally rich cities in the nation, and a visit to either exposes students to history and art found nowhere else. Whether you want your trip to focus on the performance or education, Brightspark can create a tour that is safe, affordable and sure to be remembered by students for a lifetime.