Union Station in downtown Los Angeles is one of the great American railroad stations. The interior is well kept and includes comfortable seating, a restaurant, and snack bars. As the city's rail hub, it's the place to catch an Amtrak train. Among Amtrak's Southern California routes are 13 daily trips to San Diego and seven to Santa Barbara. Amtrak's luxury Coast Starlight travels along the spectacular coastline from Seattle to Los Angeles in just a day and a half (though it's often a little late). The Sunset Limited goes to Los Angeles from Florida (via New Orleans and Texas), and the Southwest Chief from Chicago.
You can make reservations in advance by phone or at the station. As with airlines, you usually get a better deal the farther in advance you book. You must show your ticket and a photo ID before boarding. Smoking is not allowed on Amtrak trains.
Amtrak (800/872–7245. www.amtrak.com.)
Union Station (800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA, 90012. 213/683–6979. www.amtrak.com.)