Day 1: Depart New York - Chicago
It's time to wave goodbye to the Big Apple and settle into your seat for the start of your cross-country rail adventure. Leave Penn Station aboard the 'Lakeshore Limited' bound for Chicago, then kick back and relax as the train speeds to the Midwest. Overnight on the train.
Day 2,3 & 4: Chicago
Arrive bright and early, ready to explore the Windy City. This is where the skyscraper was born, so there's plenty to keep you looking up, as well as incredible views over Lake Michigan from the top of the Willis Tower. There's also fabulous shopping among the big-name stores of Magnificent Mile, the multiple attractions of Navy Pier to enjoy, plus fantastic museums and art. And, once the sun sets, there's a buzzing blues and jazz scene to dive into. Stay 3 nights at the Doubletree by Hilton Magnificent Mile (or similar).
Day 5: Chicago - Denver
Make your way over to Union Station and jump aboard Amtrak's California Zephyr service, headed west. Spend the afternoon watching the scenery slip by as the train makes its way across the Great Plains through small-town America, crossing the mighty Mississippi at Burlington. Visit the train's glass-walled observation car for the best views or head to the Lounge Car to discover new friends. Overnight on the train.
Day 6: Denver
Spend a day in the Mile High City. A former stop along the Oregon Wagon Trail, Denver is where the Old West meets the 21st century. Soak up the city's heart and soul among the historic buildings of bustling Larimer Square or visit the home of Titanic survivor Molly Brown - the inspiration behind the movie. 16th Street Mall is Denver's Rodeo Drive, so a must for serious shoppers, while beer monsters can tour the Coors brewery. Stay 1 night at the Aloft Denver Downtown (or similar).
Day 7: Denver - Salt Lake City
Jump back on board the California Zephyr for a spectacular part of your journey west. As the train climbs into the Rockies, you'll wind through a series of switchbacks before crossing the Great Divide at the famous 6 mile long Moffat Tunnel. The towering rock walls of Glenwood Canyon come next as the train tracks the Colorado River Valley before crossing the Utah desert to Salt Lake City. Stay 1 night at the Little America Hotel (or similar).
Day 8: Salt Lake City
SLC is famous as the Headquarters of the Mormon Church, and a visit to 10-acre Temple Square is a must. The imposing Temple, Tabernacle and Assembly Hall of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are all here - and if you're lucky you might even get to hear the inspired voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. SLC isn't all about religion though and you'll also find great museums, arts, shopping and dining. After a day of exploring, re-join the California Zephyr headed for San Francisco. Overnight sleeping arrangements on the train.
Day 9-11: San Francisco
Arrive into Emeryville, followed by a short bus ride into the heart of the City by the Bay. Enjoy two days discovering all that San Francisco has to offer from the glorious Golden Gate Bridge to the excitement of Fisherman's Wharf. Ride a cable car, zip up and down the switchback streets and wander the city's charming neighbourhoods - from swanky Nob Hill to counter-culture Haight-Ashbury. Don't miss out on a trip to Alcatraz, a shopping spree in Union Square or dim sum in Chinatown. Stay 3 nights at the Hotel Carlton (or similar).
Day 12: Depart San Francisco
Your never-to-be-forgotten coast-to-coast American adventure comes to its conclusion as you check out of your hotel.(read more...)