I'm hoping to take my 84 y/o father on a train ride. He's been talking about his favorite vacations were taking the train. Sacramento to Salt Lake to visit my brother. This is the year . . .
10 Best Places to Visit in 2014
Make 2014 the year we retire the term "staycation." Be bold with your family vacations this year. Get out there and see all that this big country has to offer!
Here are our top 10 picks for places to visit in 2014.
10. Boston, Massachusetts
In 2014, you can get your fill of American history when you visit Boston sights like the Freedom Walk. It consists of 16 historically significant sights along a 2.5-mile brick walk. Then head over to where Everyone Knows Your Name, a little hole in the wall called Cheers. That’s right, the 1990s prime-time bar that was once the Bull & Finch pub is now a tourist destination in Beacon Hill. Lastly, the most obvious. Make 2014, the year you catch a fly ball at Fenway! (unless you’re a Yankees fan, of course.)
Routes: Acela Express, Downeaster, Northeast Regional
9. Chicago, Illinois
When you arrive in the Windy City by train, you’re greeted by one of the nation’s best architectural achievements—Union Station’s Great Hall. Outside the station, there’s lots to see from the Cubs’ Wrigleyville to the Bean in Millennium Park. For an added bonus, check out Sue at the Field Museum of Natural History, she's the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever discovered. You can’t miss her! Chicago is also the hub for many of our long-distance trains, there are 11 different routes that can get you Chi-Town!
Routes: Capitol Limited, Michigan Services, and California Zephyr, just to name a few!
8. Austin, Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that even goes for the fun you'll have in Austin! As the capital of the Lone Star State, Austin doesn't hold back. There's segway tours practically anytime of the year thanks to the mild weather. And in the early spring the city transforms into an arts and tech hub when South by Southwest (SXSW) takes over. Is your iPhone ready?
Route: Texas Eagle
7. Grand Rapids, Michigan
As the country's No. 3 Fun & Recreation Destination, Grand Rapids is a hidden Midwest gem that only serious travelers know about. From concerts by Keith Urban to miles of bike trails (in and outside of the city), this 2014 destination has more to offer visitors than snow this year. While you're there, keep an eye out for the art all around you. There's a famous fish ladder and a 42-ton Alexander Calder statue that symbolizes the spirit of the city!
Routes: Michigan Services
6. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Head west to clear your head this year and experience true wide open spaces like never before! As the most populous city in New Mexico, Albuquerque offers visitors the beauty of the great Southwest with city amenities and entertainment right nearby. When you visit, make sure to see Old Town where every first Friday and Saturday night there's special song and dance performances as part of the Historic Old Town Festival Series.
Route: Southwest Chief
5. Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City has the second awesome Union Stations on our list. The city even just named the attraction its favorite monument. Beyond the station, though, you’ll find a ton of other sights to take in. For history buffs, there’s a comprehensive World War I museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, known for its Asian art collection. For music lovers, there’s jazz joints (and barbecue!) plus the Kansas City Symphony to see. If you travel with little ones in 2014, don’t forget to check out the zoo!
Routes: Missouri River Runner, Southwest Chief
4. Charlotte, NC
As the busiest train destination in North Carolina, Charlotte's got a lot. From a winning NFL team to the headquarters of some of the nation’s largest companies, the Queen City is great for both business and pleasure. When you head South, don’t forget to check out sights like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Historic Duke Mansion and the bright lights of Uptown! Did we mention you can save 15% on travel there?
Routes: Carolinian/Piedmont, Crescent
3. New York, New York
Don’t let the classic sights of the Big Apple distract you. In 2014, you want to see more than Broadway and the Empire State Building. There’s Cronuts for the foodies and Yankees games for the sports fans. In the busiest city in the U.S., there’s something for everyone. And in February all eyes will be on New York as it hosts Super Bowl XLVIII. (psstt, we can even get you to that, too!)
Routes: Acela, Northeast Regional and 12 others!
2. Portland, Oregon
Three words: Urban. Brewery. Tour. Yep, Portland is dotted with tons of breweries (big and small) that are even within walking distance from the train station! There’s also hiking at Cedar Flats, book browsing at Powell’s and a cup o’ Joe at Caffee Spella. When you go, just make sure to pack an extra flannel shirt. You’ll fit right in.
Routes: Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder
1. Santa Barbara, California
Taking the train to Santa Barbara means you can pack everything but bad weather! This heaven on Earth has wind, waves and even horses. Clear skies, sunshine and year-round mild weather put smiles on the faces of visitors who love to explore a destination inside and out, with the emphasis on "out." Be sure to check out the Carpinteria Bluffs hike along the beautiful coastline with your smartphone ready to take some awesome pics!
Routes: Coast Starlight, Pacific Surfliner
Where will you be visiting by train in 2014? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter with the special hashtag #Amtrak2014!
In December we're thinking of taking the Coast Starlight from Salem to SF. After stopping a few days, on to LA, staying overnight because of the late arrival. Next day on to Disneyland to enjoy the Christmas festivities. On our return, we might stop over in Santa Barbara, before arriving back in Salem.
Last Spring we took the Coast Starlight from Salem-LA, then Sunset Limited to Houston. On our return, we boarded the Texas Eagle, stopped off in St Louis, continued on to Chicago and then Empire Builder from Chicago-Seattle, with the final segment being the Amtrak Cascades.
In the Fall, our travels took us to PA & NYC, riding Amtrak Cascades, the Empire Builder, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, & Keystone Service. When we have enough points accrued with our Amtrak Chase card, we travel in a sleeper, which is especially comfortable on the long routes.
I've taken the #AMTRAK2014 Coast Starlight from LA to Oakland, but always wanted to go all the way to Seattle. Maybe this year.
I take the train whenever I can. Last fall I did an overnight train to Cleveland arriving early am for a morning meeting. I expect to spend a week in Indianapolis this spring. A great location for train with station near downtown and a great downtown to visit, even the zoo is downtown!
I have used the Amtrak Chase Card for years. About every 2 years, I take the family or my kids from Santa Barbara on the Southwest Chief to Chicago. There, we depart with our rental car (located inside the station), to Lu Malnatis Pizza. Once full, we drive to Ohio to visit relatives and visit the Rock N Roll Hall, attend an Indians game, and local water parks. One year, we drove to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Gettysburg before visiting the Inlaws on Lake Sebago, ME. We then drove to the Dells for a few days.
We LOVE Amtrak travel via a sleeper. We have taken the Zephyr, Empire Builder, and Starlight as well. The service as improved greatly over the last 20 years and our room stewards are always pleasant.
This summer, we have points once again and I'll take 1 or 2 of my kids across, but maybe to Boston this time. It's a great way to relax- no lines, flights, rest stops in a car, etc. The Zephyr is our favorite of the the four that go across the states. The scenery through the Rockies is unmatched- plus, my kids like all the river rafters who "moon" the train.
Have yet to take the Texas Eagle and figure in the summer it may be too hot, but perhaps someday.
If going, get off at longer stops and shop- we always buy something in NM from the local vendors. There are usually food kiosks in the stations as well. I once ran into Portland's station and bought up all the diet coke because the train was only serving Pepsi products. Glad I stopped that habit, however!
Umm, "White Sox's Wrigleville"??????
That kind of error is roughly the same magnitude as saying the Pope is Jewish.
@russandeve Sounds like you're an experienced Amtrak traveler! Thanks for riding with us and sharing your stories. Next trip, don't forget your camera!
@russandeve Sounds like you are an experienced Amtrak traveler! Thanks for riding with us and sharing your stories. Next trip, don't forget your camera!
@RobertApplegate Wow! We'll make the change asap!
@eric_dwhite That's not in the US! But I do love it there.