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“Very Pleasant Laid Back Scenic Way to Travel”

Ranked #42 of 441 Transportation in California
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Owner description: This Amtrak route goes from Seattle, WA., to Los Angeles.
Reviewed May 2, 2014

My friend and I took the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles, CA to Portland, OR in April 2014. Friends had taken it from Portland to LA a few months earlier and had a great time, but gave us a lot of "if we did it agains" that made our trip even better.

The night before we stayed at the Millennium Biltmore in LA. Little pricey, but includes a nice room, wonderful 'buffet' with wine and lots of substantial munchies (= dinner?) and a very good breakfast. Just hope the 'Big One' doesn't interupt your stay. Only a short Metro ride (Hint - take a trial run to learn how it works before you need to get somewhere in a hurry!).

They advised we book a sleeper with a bathroom - which means it is somewhat larger than sleepers without a bathroom. While not spacious at all, it was 'adequate'. The smaller sleepers would be REALLY tight. And the lower bunk is wide enough to sleep two comfortably. There's not much (any?) room to store suit cases so make them small or soft.

The food was 7.50337 on a scale 1 - 10. Pretty good! We quickly discovered the dining car menu options were greater than the parlor car, and liked being seated with two other people rather than at a table for two in the parlor car. We met a bunch of interesting people. Advise bringing your beverages (and snacks) aboard as the wine, for example. is $32/bottle.

We spent a lot of time in the Parlor car, with great big windows and 6 swiveling seats and a bar tender. Good place to meet folks.

The service was great. When we were looking to board the train a nice guy gave us cheery directions, and when we got aboard our friendly 'hostess' Bonny was right there to show us to our roomette. Throughout the trip everyone was efficient and pleasant.

The scenery was great - interesting, beautiful, and diverse. The 'coast' part of the trip is only a small portion - maybe 3 hrs - of the entire trip. But is beautiful, and at times you look out and see only water even if you look straight down! But the longer section through central CA was gorgeous too. It was getting dark as we left Oakland and light again just after we almost had passed Mt Shasta. From there the trip through the Siskiyous and Cascades was gorgeous.

As an added bonus, while traveling through the less spectacular urban areas, you will get to see some of the most amazingly cluttered, junked, trashed back yards unimaginable.

The train was also on time.

In summary - if you are looking for a laid back, scenic, pleasant trip, this is for you.

9  Thank ninemileeric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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318 - 322 of 530 reviews

Reviewed April 30, 2014

We travelled with a tour party from Los Angles to San Luis Obisco. The views from the top of the train were amazing, with very spacious seating even though we were in a standard carriage. You can walk along to the buffet carriage and buy snacks there and enjoy the viewing areas, or you can even book in for lunch do dinner in the dining carriage. Although we were on the train for over five hours the time didn't drag and you had unparalleled views of the coast and the countryside.

4  Thank ruthpi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2014

I recently did something I hadn't done in years. I took the Coast Starlight train on a fishing trip. The train departed early morning from Chico, California on the way to Klamath Falls, Oregon.
The train was not as I remembered from years ago, but was more modern and updated. The seats were very comfortable and due to the fact there were few riders there was plenty of room to move around. The attendants were extremely kind and willing to answer all questions plus helped with baggage. Although the train traveled mostly in the early morning and I wasn't able to enjoy the views, it was a real kick and I enjoyed it very much.
Riding the train allows you walk around and stretch your legs. You can walk to the observation car for great views, play cards with other passengers, read, sleep or just kick back and enjoy the sounds of the train.
This was a wonderful trip and if you're looking for a comfortable, inexpensive mode of transportation, I would recommend the Coast Starlight. By the way, I took just a short train trip. If I were traveling further north the train rolls over the Cascades at the Willamette Pass, and that stretch is beautiful.

5  Thank FishinOregon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2014

Anytime I go to Disneyland, I take the Coast Starlight. It hugs the coast for miles, and the scenery is spectacular. I like the fact that I don't have to stress out over traffic. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their unique stories. The food in the dining car is good. There is always a vegetarian option.

2  Thank Raginggranny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2014 via mobile

My wife and I wanted to visit LA and SFO but did not want the 6 - 7 hour drive between them nor the flight which would have been about the same time with transfers. So we thought about a coach and ruled that out because we could not stretch our legs! Train seemed a great option.

The Amtrak Coast Starlight train leaves LA's Union Station at 1010 and is scheduled to arrive in Oakland (for a connecting coach transfer to SFO) about 2130 - if you are lucky!

Check out Michael's blog http://upgrd.com/mike/amtrak-coast-starlight-los-angeles-union-station.html for more information. (No relation just a good site)

The seats on this train recline and have footrests and still some room before the next row of seats. Michael had a roomette (did you read his blog?). We had a sleeper - seats when you want them or beds for a doze. These compartments have their own toilets and showers as well as meals included for the time of day.

There is a cinema / theatre on board and a special observation car for those in sleeper class. The views from the train were stunning.

The food was to a reasonable standard with an excellent steak for dinner before arriving in Oakland (1 hour late). The Amtrak Thruway coach was waiting to take us across the bridge into SFO and dropped us 1 block away from the hotel.

Amtrak did a great job. It takes longer but is less stressful. Don't think of it as getting from A to B , it is a tour. Enjoy it while they still run this service. 12 hours? Seemed like 3!

6  Thank Wheeland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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