Amtrak’s popular Pacific Surfliner offers a timeless, relaxing ride from San Diego to holiday events and attractions throughout Southern California.
Here are seven destinations at increasing distance from San Diego that are easy to get to by train. Leave the car at home, avoid the holiday traffic jams and explore these destinations on foot.
San Juan Capistrano — Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano, known as the “Jewel of the California Missions,” is just blocks from the Amtrak station. Stay late enough to see the holiday lights. Just across the tracks is the historic Los Rios Historic District, providing a glimpse into life in early California.
Hilbert Museum of California Art in Orange — This new museum, which opened in 2016 on the Chapman University campus, is a significant repository of 20th century work by California artists, celebrating the unique artistic and cultural development of the Golden State. It’s 3-mile rideshare from the Anaheim station. Several craft breweries are located nearby.
Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure — Both theme parks feature festive sights and events throughout the holiday season, including special foods, parades, entertainment and decorations. Ride the train to Anaheim and show your Pacific Surfliner ticket for a free shuttle ride to Disneyland.
The Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles — This four-year-old museum in a stunning building has quickly become one of the icons of contemporary art in the United States. General admission is free, but you’ll need to make a time reservation. It’s a mile walk or short rideshare from Union Station.
Rose Parade – Visit Pasadena to experience the celebrated Rose Parade, an internationally-recognized New Year’s Day celebration. This tradition has been part of the community for more than 100 years, with floats that are meticulously decorated with flowers by hundreds of volunteers. Ride to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and connect to the Metro Gold Line, which stops near the parade route.
Julefest at Solvang – Considered one of the “10 most Christmassy towns in America,” the Danish-heritage village of Solvang brings Old World traditions to the holiday season with lights, pop-up shops, Santa’s Village, a parade, candlelight tours, and more. From the Santa Barbara station, there is a connecting Amtrak bus.
Just Enjoy the Ride — The Surfliner route along the coast offers unparalleled views. Sit back and look out the window. There’s wifi to keep in touch, food if you get hungry, and a selection of California wines.
The Pacific Surfliner travels along a 351-mile route from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, serving 27 stations. It is the busiest state-supported intercity passenger rail route in the United States with 26 daily trains and annual ridership of nearly 3 million.
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