When Exactly to Ride from NYC to Chicago

Photo by Christopher Hainey

Christopher Hainey, drummer for the band Maps & Atlases, recently learned the rhythm of the rails on a scenic 19-hour trip from New York to Chicago on our Lake Shore Limited.

“I’ve driven the interstate route between these two cities many times, and I can’t say it’s all that exciting,” he says. “[Taking the train] was kind of like taking the scenic route but actually getting to your destination quicker.”

Lake Shore LimitedBut just how does one fill a 19-hour journey? Well, headphones are key. “It consisted of a little time listening to audiobooks and a lot of time spent being completely enamored with the view of upstate New York,” Christopher says.

Despite being in awe of the “spectacular” fall foliage that was the backdrop of the trip, Christopher is no first-time rider. In his home state of Illinois, he has lots of experience riding the Hiawatha service, which connects Milwaukee and Chicago.

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For those adventurers who don’t have as much railroad cred as Christopher, he has a key piece of advice for traveling between New York and Chicago: “I would suggest catching the earliest train you can to make sure to spend as much of the trip in the daylight as possible, especially if you are planning on doing any photography along the way.”

According to him, traveling between the two metropolises by train is, “by far the most stress free and relaxing way.”


What do you enjoy about traveling between New York and Chicago on Amtrak? Do you have any insider tips? Tell us in the comments below.