Get ready for an amazing coast-to-coast adventure, starting in New York City and ending in the "City by the Bay," San Francisco.
About the Tour
Begin by exploring the Big Apple at leisure. Make sure to visit popular sites such as the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, just to name a few. After spending time in New York, board Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited towards Chicago. There's no better way to see this great country than by looking out the dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows of the train. After boarding the California Zephyr at Chicago's historic Union Station, begin your journey to San Francisco. San Francisco is full of classic highlights like the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown.
This vacation is available from San Francisco to New York City based on your travel preference.
- Transportation aboard Amtrak (3 nights on train)
- Meals aboard the train
- Hotel accommodations for two nights
- Times Square
- Hudson River
- Millennium Park
- Rocky Mountains
- Moffat Tunnel
- Sierra Nevada Mountains
- Fisherman's Wharf
Day 1 - New York City
Your tour starts in sophisticated New York City where you'll check into your hotel, near the heart of Times Square. Catch a Broadway play, see what's happening at Madison Square Garden or take a carriage ride through Central Park. Enjoy dinner at one of New York's fabulous restaurants and be dazzled by Times Square, all lit up at night. Overnight New York City.
Day 2 - New York City at Leisure / Board the Lake Shore Limited
The morning is yours to explore New York City. Take time to visit some of the city's most renowned and important sights including the famous Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Wall Street, Central Park, and Ground Zero. Then board the Lake Shore Limited at Penn Station. Read, listen to music or chat with your fellow travelers. Check out a map of your journey in the Lounge Car as you gaze out at the passing scenery and enjoy a meal. As you head west, you'll pass some historic points of interest such as West Point Academy, Bannerman's Castle and FDR's National Historic Site. You'll then travel 130 miles along the Hudson River, also known as "America's Rhine" for its natural beauty, passing by Albany, the NY state capitol. Continue west through Ohio and Indiana as you make your way to historic Union Station in Chicago. Overnight train. (D)
Day 3 - Arrive in Chicago, transfer to the California Zephyr
Your train pulls into Chicago around 10:00 am and you'll have time to explore the "Windy City" before your train leaves this afternoon. Enjoy a taste of Chicago-style pizza, go to the top of nearby Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) observatory, and see "The Bean" in Millennium Park. Then board the legendary California Zephyr for your 2:00 pm departure. Follow the train's route in the dining car or Sightseeing Lounge with its floor to ceiling windows as you head west. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 4 - Enroute to San Francisco via America the beautiful
You'll awake this morning as sweeping vistas of the glorious Rocky Mountains come into view. Enjoy a delicious hot breakfast in the dining car. But keep your camera handy. You won't want a miss a second of the spectacular scenery that greets you at every turn. Just west of Denver, the Zephyr will begin its momentous climb towards the Continental Divide, winding around sharp mountain curves and through the "Tunnel District." On your way to Moffat Tunnel, you'll reach our highest elevation, more than 9,000 feet above sea level. Other highlights include Glenwood and Ruby Canyons and Grand Junction, the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park. Pass through Salt City around 11:00 pm this evening. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Arrive in San Francisco
Running across the glorious snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Zephyr travels through the Truckee River, Donner Pass, onto Reno and Sacramento, then into Emeryville/San Francisco. Once in San Francisco, you'll connect by a motorcoach to the Ferry Building. Check in to your hotel for the evening. San Francisco is a cultural and culinary wonderland, so head to Fisherman's Wharf for a seaside dinner, Ghirardelli Square or Chinatown for a great night on the town. Overnight San Francisco. (B, L)
Day 6 - Tour Ends
Spend the day exploring San Francisco independently, where the spirit of the Gold Rush continues to fill the air. See Alcatraz, one of the most famous prisons in the country, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, the world's most crooked street, Haight-Ashbury, beautiful Pacific Heights and more. Ride the cable cars and take a cruise around San Francisco Bay. Perhaps extend your visit with a day trip to Wine Country, Sausalito and Muir Woods, home of the California Redwoods.
Pre and Post-Trip Options:
Many of our guests choose to spend additional nights in New York and San Francisco. Vacations by Rail would be happy to make hotel and sightseeing arrangements for you.
Hotels are centrally located, 3.5 to 4-star properties, selected based on quality and availability. Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette and Bedroom.
Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest. Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night. Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower.
Sleeping car passengers aboard the California Zephyr enjoy meals in the train's Dining car. New contemporary and fresh dining choices replace traditional dining car service on the Lake Shore Limited. Sleeping car passengers may elect to have a chilled prepared meal selection delivered to your Roomette or Bedroom or enjoy meals in a private cafe or lounge car.
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.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be similar in quality and amenities.
Tour Dates & Prices
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Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station. Contact a rail specialist for details.
NOTE: *Arrival and Departure times are subject to change. Please be advised that passengers traveling on Lake Shore Limited Trains or California Zephyr Trains may encounter delays of approximately three to six hours due to heavy congestion, speed restrictions and other operating conditions