I had the interesting experience of traveling via Amtrak to Seattle from Chicago on the Empire Builder last June, and since then I can’t stop thinking about where else it could take me.
I have to be honest, when I finished my total roundtrip Amtrak journey I had a major love/hate relationship with train travel. After all, in two weeks I had spent 96 hours on the train. Do anything for 96 hours (in 48 hour straight intervals) and you may start to question your choices too.
But, now, several months later, I am looking back and appreciating that train trip for the views, interesting people we got to meet and talk to and the land we covered in just a few short days. We got to see parts of America that is rarely accessed and watch the sunsets and sunrises over some of the most beautiful places.
So, lately I’ve been thinking where else the train could take me. Besides the terrible discomfort of sleeping in the coach seats for two nights, I really enjoyed myself and think I could easily do it again (my boyfriend probably would not).
If you want to see some tips and tricks I have for riding the Empire Builder, check out this older post of mine.
Here are some trips I would love to take via Amtrak:
Chicago to Denver – California Zephyr
Roundtrip Coach Price for Two in June 2018: $488 ($244 each).
This trip takes 18 hours and 40 minutes from Chicago, IL to Denver, CO. Most of the trip takes you through Iowa and Nebraska, so I am not sure exactly how exciting it would be, but it’s definitely one I would love to try since the travel time is drastically shorter than that to Seattle.
It would be great to do this Amtrak trip as a multi-stop where you can get off and hop back on to head toward Utah, Nevada and finally California. But, if you’re looking for a shorter trip, Denver would probably be the ideal spot to stop.
If you want to find some great places to eat while visiting Denver, check out this list by Eater. Honestly, it’s all about the food and the views.
Cute Airbnb’s I would love in Denver:
The City Experience
2. Chicago to Boston – Lake Shore Limited
Roundtrip Coach Price for Two in June 2018: $364 ($182 each)
This trip takes 21 hours and 48 minutes sweeping you past the Great Lakes, New York State and Massachusetts until the final destination in Boston. I followed a similar route when traveling to Maine and when you get into New York state the views are beautiful.
I would love to do this trip to check out Boston and all of its amazing history and culture. Plus, I mean, those accents.. who can resist them?
Yet another list by Eater to give you some of the best places to eat in Boston.
Cute Airbnb’s I would love in Boston:
Bright in Boston
Clean, Sleek, Modern
3. Chicago to Austin, TX – Texas Eagle
Roundtrip Coach Price for Two in June 2018: $448 ($224 each)
This trip will take you 28 hours and 21 minutes. Not a short one, but it’s basically a straight trip down south, so you will get to experience the change in scenery as you go. This is a route that will take you all the way into Los Angeles, if you want to torture yourself through two days of travel, but otherwise is a great option to hit all the big Texas cities.
Austin is a city known for it’s food, so be sure to check out a lot of it if you decide to travel there. Here is, you guessed it, another article by Eater of Austin’s best spots to eat.
Cute Airbnb’s I would love in Austin:
Quirky Airstream Home
Tiny Home Dream
Modern Living Guesthouse
These are just a few trips I would love to take from Chicago using the Amtrak. I realize that this method of travel is not for everyone, but I think it’s something to try out at least once.
Where would you like the train to take you? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
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