Although long-distance train travel remains more commonly associated with Europe, interest in rail tours of the United States has been growing recently. If you plan to travel cross-country with one of Amtrak’s rail pass offers, consider taking the below route and following this sightseeing itinerary.
New York City
Renowned for its concentration of attractions and sights, New York City also offers an incredible diversity of cultures. Wander the streets of the five boroughs and marvel at the scale of the city, from the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the quieter shores of Staten Island. Tour famed structures like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Gothic grandeur of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and fuel up at Chelsea Market before heading out to the Statue of Liberty for a look at one of the world’s best-known icons.
A short hop from New York by train, the US capital of Washington, D.C. stakes its claim as the epicenter of world politics. Most of the city’s national treasures spread out along the 3 km (2 mi) long Capitol Mall. Head for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History to see the original copy of the “Star Spangled Banner”, and make your way to the Library of Congress for a glimpse of its repository of rare books and documents. Stop by the Lincoln Memorial and snap a few photos of the grand Capitol Building.
Nearly as much a melting pot as New York, New Orleans offers a fantastic mixture of cultures and a joie de vivre unmatched by other American cities. Tour the historical Garden District and its dazzling array of pre-Civil War mansions, featuring gorgeous architecture and intricate verandas. Move on to the French Quarter, an 18th-century neighborhood capped off by the splendid Jackson Square, a hallmark of the city’s Creole heritage. Of course, no trip to the Big Easy would be complete without a visit to Bourbon Street: the oldest neighborhood in town makes for a fantastic start to a raucous evening of bar-hopping.
Chicago hdr 1 by: Conway Yao (CC)
Hugging the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago offers an unusual combination of big-city diversions and small-town hospitality. Check out the wealth of world-class museums, including the Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, and Art Institute of Chicago. Afterward, wander along Navy Pier on the lakefront, making use of its arcades, rides, and cafes. And don’t forget to snap a picture of yourself in front of the city’s iconic Cloud Gate.
Transformed from a far-flung outpost into a cosmopolitan center bursting with modern attractions, Denver is one of the most entertaining places to visit in America. Lying on a high-elevation plateau, Denver features an impressive skyline formed largely by the snow-capped peaks of 4,348 m (14,265 ft) Mount Evans. The hike-able and drivable summit offers spectacular views of the city and surrounding mountains. In the city, roam the lush grounds of the Denver Botanic Gardens, view close to 700 animal species at the Denver Zoo, and entertain yourself at night in the city’s many bars, theaters, and music venues.
As far as journey’s ends go, few rate better than relaxing in the southern California sun. Your options for kicking back in Los Angeles are legion: stroll down Santa Monica Pier or Venice Beach Boardwalk, settle in the sand at Laguna Beach, head to Disneyland, and much more. Finish up with a jaunt down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and glimpse all sorts of famous names and taking in views of the city from the hill at Griffith Observatory.
From Sea to Shining Sea
Taking trains across America provides a leisurely way to tour some of the country’s most exciting cities and take in its scenic and varied landscape. If you want to travel across the U.S. by rail, plan your trip with Inspirock so you can see and do more along the way.