Embark on a 12-day rail journey from Chicago to New York, San Francisco, and more. Enjoy sightseeing through famous cities, amazing scenery, and wonderful restaurants and shops on this round-trip journey across America.
About the Tour
Travel from Chicago to New York on the Lake Shore Limited. New York City with all of its glitz and glamour awaits you. See the Empire State Building, Times Square and Central Park. You will then continue on your journey south aboard Amtrak's Crescent. On the Crescent you will pass through Alabama and Mississippi en route to The Big Easy. Travel 2,000 miles across five states to Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited. You'll cross the Louisiana Bayou, wastelands of Texas, and stark lands of New Mexico and Arizona. Amtrak's premier train, the Coast Starlight, will take you first-class from Los Angeles to Emeryville on the 469-mile run. See the sights of the “City by the Bay” before boarding the California Zephyr for Chicago. Travel through the Colorado Rockies and under the Continental Divide on this 2438-mile journey.
- Round-trip transportation by Amtrak rail and connecting motorcoach.
- First-class hotel accommodations for 5 nights
- 3 meals
- Sightseeing tours at each destination.
- Baggage handling, taxes, tips.
- Services of a professional tour manager
Scenic highlights of your trip include:
- Empire State Building
- Times Square
- Central Park
- French District
- Houston, Texas
- El Paso, Texas
- Golden Gate Park
- Mission District
- Fisherman's Wharf
Day 1 - Depart Chicago
America from Coast to Coast travelers will meet in Chicago Union Station this afternoon. At 8:00 p.m. we'll board the eastbound Lake Shore Limited. Departure is scheduled for 9:30 p.m.
Relax in your comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes or Bedrooms may be available at an additional cost.
Day 2 - En Route
During the day our train will roll across beautiful upstate New York. The trip down the Hudson River with the Catskill Mountains in the background is equally beautiful.
Upon arrival into New York's Penn Station at 6:23 p.m., we'll transfer to the San Carlos Hotel.
Day 3 - New York City
This morning we'll embark on a sightseeing tour of New York City. We'll see most famous uptown and downtown neighborhoods: Harlem, Museum Mile, Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, Lincoln Center, Grant's Tomb, United Nations, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and many more.
At 2:15 p.m., we'll depart New York on the New Orleans-bound Crescent. You will again enjoy the Viewliner accommodations. (B)
Day 4 - En Route
We'll be passing through Atlanta at 8:00 this morning and traveling through Alabama and Mississippi during the day. At 7:32 p.m. we'll arrive in the fascinating Crescent City. Our home for the next two nights, the Hampton Inn Downtown is near the French Quarter. You are free this evening to explore this exciting city.
Day 5 - New Orleans
Following breakfast in our hotel, we'll embark on a three-hour sightseeing tour of the Greater New Orleans area. The tour will include the St. Louis Cemetery III where the above ground burial system will be explained; beautiful City Park, the Lakefront area, the uptown section with its antebellum and new homes, Tulane University, Audubon Park, the French Market, and the Old Mint. Following the tour you are free to further explore this unique, world-class city. Take full advantage of all there is to see, do and taste! (B)
Day 6 - En Route / Sunset Limited
Breakfast is included at our hotel this morning. We'll transfer to the Amtrak station where our travelers will prepare for a 2000-mile trip across five states to Los Angeles. Departure of the Sunset Limited is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Relax in your comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes or Bedrooms may be available at an additional cost and include dining car meals.
This morning you can visit with new friends while watching the famous swampland of Louisiana (known as the Bayou) from the all-glass Sightseer Lounge car. This afternoon, we'll be passing through sugar cane fields. We'll arrive in Houston shortly after 6:18 p.m. You'll have about a half-hour to enjoy a train side stroll. (B)
Day 7 - En Route
During the night the landscape changed drastically. You're now in the sparsely-populated Rio Grande Valley of West Texas. Tumbleweeds and arid lands surround our train. Just west of Del Rio, we'll cross the Pecos High Bridge spanning a magnificent canyon. The Pecos River is 321 feet below. Further on we pass by Langtry where Judge Roy Bean enforced his “law west of the Pecos.” This area was the setting for the TV series “Lonesome Dove.”
Plan on a train side stroll during our early afternoon stop in El Paso. The rest of the day we'll encounter the stark, desolate land of southern New Mexico and Arizona. When we arrive in Tucson at 6:45 p.m., you can enjoy another train side walk.
Day 8 - En Route / Coast Starlight
Arrival into Los Angeles Union Station is scheduled for 5:35 a.m.
Your Tour Director will explain the various “on-your-own” breakfast options, ranging from a Starbucks and a 7-11 style convenience store in the station to nearby restaurants, including the famous Phillipes (home of the original French Dip sandwich). Enjoy the station's architecture, gardens, and throne-like seating. At 10:10 a.m. we'll depart on Amtrak's premier train, the Coast Starlight. Relax and enjoy the 469-mile daytime journey to Emeryville (San Francisco). The highlights of the day will include traversing mountain ranges and about 100 miles of scenic Pacific Ocean coastline.
We are scheduled to reach Emeryville at 9:54 p.m. and will transfer to the World-famous “City by the Bay.” Our home for two nights in San Francisco is the beautiful Holiday Inn Fisherman's Wharf.
Day 9 - San Francisco
At 10:00 a.m. we'll embark on a three hour sightseeing tour of San Francisco, including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, the Mission District, Telegraph Hill, the Presidio.You're free this afternoon to ride a cable car or just wander around world-renowned Fisherman's Wharf. You'll have time to discover the excellent restaurants, markets, import houses, galleries and souvenir shops.
Day 10 - California Zephyr
This morning we'll return to the Emeryville Amtrak Station where we will board the California Zephyr for our 2438-mile journey across seven states to Chicago. Departure is at 9:00 a.m. Look forward to the same accommodations and amenities you enjoyed on the SunsetLimited.
As we travel eastward, we leave the lush green landscape and palm trees of California and enter the rugged terrain, dotted with pine trees, of the high Sierra Nevada mountains. We will pass through the famous Donner Pass this afternoon.
Day 11 - En Route
Make sure you take the opportunity to view the spectacular Colorado Rockies scenery from the Sightseer Lounge car as we make our way toward Denver. When we leave Glenwood Springs, we will begin to climb through the awesome Rockies toward the Continental Divide. We'll encounter the famous 6.2-mile long Moffat Tunnel and go under the Continental Divide. The mountain vistas will continue throughout the afternoon. We'll arrive in Denver at 6:38 p.m.
Day 12 - En Route to Chicago
The California Zephyr will roll across Iowa and Illinois and arrive in Chicago at mid-afternoon. Some tour members will change to trains bound for Midwest, Eastern, and Southern home cities. Others will spend the night in Chicago and fly home tomorrow.
Know before you go
Please be aware Amtrak may experience occasional schedule changes and service disruptions. Vacations By Rail recommends visiting the Amtrak web site prior to your departure for the latest information.
Tour Dates & Prices
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