You already know the LA is the greatest city in Cali, but there’s so much more to explore beyond our city limits too. If you ever wanted to adventure to a new place, without the hassle of driving, taking a train ride is seriously the next best thing. Traveling by train is an excellent way to see new sights. You get to watch the world go by from your window plus multiple stops give ample time to explore more destinations than by air. But we bet you didn’t know that an Amtrak train ride is an easy way to explore the north and south ends of LA all in one trip. It’s true. You can hop on at Union Station and ride up all the way to Santa Barbara if you want to. But before you go that far, check out our bucket list of things to do as you ride the rails. Here is everything to know about LA’s best Amtrak train ride, LA to Santa Barbara.
1. Book Your Trip
It’s so easy to book a ticket for this ride. Just go to Amtrak site and make sure you select the Coast Starlight train adventure. Tickets are as low as $50 for a one way to Santa Barbara. The total train ride is roughly 35 hours, starting from LA Union Station all the way up to Seattle. It really is one of most popular of all train routes because of the scenery along the route. Basically, the Pacific Ocean shoreline will be right out your window a stunning backdrop for your journey. You’re obvi going to want to start your ride at Union Station. There is only one departure – 9:45am – so before you get on the train, make some time to visit some must see places around it.
2. Before You Ride
There are tons of places to explore before you begin your wifi less journey on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. Yup, you read right, there is no wifi on board. So be sure to bring that book you’ve been longing to read or take a pause and look out the window. Before boarding, plan to stay in LA the night before at one of its nearby hotels like the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel or Hotel Figueroa, which has two great restaurants for both breakfast and dinner – Café Fig and Sparrow Italia. The hotel also has two great bars—Bar Figueroa and Bar Alta – which serve up cocktails for the serious aficionados. If you’re running late, or just want to pick up something quick (and that’s not Starbucks) swing by Chimney Coffee, it’s only a 3 minute drive from the station.
3. Stop at Burbank Station
The first stop you’ll make is into Burbank Airport. There you can hop off the train and catch your plane to your next destination or pop into some of Burbank’s hidden gems like this convenient and cozy spot located right in the heart of Burbank. Urban Press Winery and Restaurant. If you want to get in some shopping, you’ll find a lot of the popular shops at the Burbank Town Center. Or, take an Uber to get in some self care at Burbank Infrared Sauna.
4. Dine In The Car To Oxnard
During the ride to Oxnard before getting to Santa Barbara County, let your wanderings take you to the dining car, where you have far more choices and better fare than on airlines. Trains allow you to move around, reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis for those with poor circulation and make travel more comfortable and natural for everyone, so of course having a meal on board makes sense. Most Amtrak routes offer Café service, with a variety of meals, snacks and beverages for sale from early morning until late at night.
5. Final Stop
Ok, so you rode the rails to your final stop with so many gorgeous views on the way. Santa Barbara makes a great final destination because there is plenty to do in this city. In fact, you may want to stay a few days to get the most out of it too. There is a great spot downtown if you’re looking. As far as where to get dinner with an awesome SB vibe…head to Loquita. It’s known for its Spanish-style tapas and a lively atmosphere. The next day before heading back to Union Station in la la land, be sure to visit the Old Mission. It’s a beauty and is a must-visit for those interested in California’s history, architecture, and religious heritage.
If you want to see more of the country by train, check out these seven best train rides leaving from Los Angeles.