Los Angeles By Rail: Travel On Amtrak to L.A.

Take the train to LA

Los Angeles is not only accessible by air and car, but also by train! Take the train to Los Angeles, and discover a city with great culture, entertainment and activities at your fingertips. The Amtrak and the Metro Rail allow you to get to, and explore Los Angeles easily and comfortably by rail. In the meantime, you can enjoy scenic views, from the surrounding deserts and the sea, on your way to Los Angeles. Taking the train provides visitors to L.A. with an unforgettable experience.

Amtrak Trains to LA
Amtrak Trains to LA | Photo: -db-, Flickr

Take the Train to Los Angeles

There are several Amtrak rail lines that travel to Los Angeles. You can ride Amtrak to Los Angeles, either directly, or by connection, from almost anywhere in the United States. Travelers from Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle and other cities take Amtrak to Los Angeles.

For information and to make your reservations, visit the Amtrak website. Amtrak offers numerous everyday discounts, including 50% off for children (ages 2-12); 15% for students; and 10% for seniors, veterans, and active duty U.S. military personnel and their families.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
The Pacific Surfliner is the most frequently-traveled rail line heading into Los Angeles. It travels from San Diego in the south, via Orange County, to Union Station. The Pacific Surfliner also descends from the north, from as far as San Luis Obispo through Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Amtrak Coast Starlight
The Coast Starlight is an exciting option for travelers from as far away as Washington State, Oregon and Northern California. With service from Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area and San Luis Obispo, L.A.-bound travelers can enjoy the stunning vistas, dense forests and Pacific Coast shorelines on their way to Southern California.

Amtrak Southwest Chief
The Southwest Chief runs daily to Los Angeles from Chicago, Kansas City and Albuquerque, through the vast expanse of the fabled American West. You'll be mesmerized by this region's beauty and allure. The route travels across the mighty Mississippi through eight states—past wheat fields and ranches, missions and pueblos, mountains and deserts. You’ll see spectacular landscapes and pristine vistas not visible from interstate highways.

Amtrak Sunset Limited
Travel from between Louisiana and California along the southernmost route on the Sunset Limited from New Orleans, Houston, El Paso and Tucson, and you will catch great views of Bayou Country, southwestern deserts, and the mountains of California. Three Sunset Limited trains depart for Los Angeles weekly, and it is a great way to experience the spectacular views en route to Los Angeles.

Amtrak Texas Eagle
From cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Little Rock, or Dallas, you can take the Texas Eagle to its terminus in San Antonio, and then connect to the Sunset Limited toward Los Angeles. The Texas Eagle provides a link between the Midwest and Southern California.

Amtrak San Joaquins
The San Joaquins route provides travel from the San Francisco Bay Area, through Sacramento, Stockton and Fresno to Bakersfield where Amtrak Thruway buses conveniently connect you to Los Angeles Union Station.

Ticket Concourse at Union Station
Ticket Concourse at Union Station  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Arriving at Union Station: L.A.'s Iconic Train Depot

Union Station is one of the most iconic train stations in the history of American rail. Considered the "Last of the Great Railway Stations," its breathtaking interior and exterior design reflects the 1930s, when the rail station was built. The famous waiting room and ticket concourse, as well as other parts of Union Station, have appeared frequently in movies and television shows. Union Station is also the main hub for trains into and out of the city, as well as the Metro Rail system that provides a quick and easy way to access neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. The Red, Purple, and Gold Lines, as well as the Metrolink passenger trains, are popular methods of rail transportation throughout the city.

Metro B Line (Red) Hollywood & Highland
Metro B Line (Red) Hollywood & Highland Station  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Taking the Metro Rail Around Los Angeles

The Metro Rail, L.A.'s subway system, has several lines that lead into and out of Union Station. The most popular lines that take you to landmarks, attractions, and popular neighborhoods throughout the city are the Metro B Line (Red) and the Metro L Line (Gold). The B Line goes to locations throughout Downtown L.A., Hollywood, and the Valley. The L Line goes to Pasadena and East Los Angeles, through historic and trendy neighborhoods like Highland Park or the Arts District.

In addition to the Metro Rail, five lines of Metrolink passenger trains can also take you to nearby Ventura County, Antelope Valley, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange County from Union Station.

Property of Discover Los Angeles
Driving Around Los Angeles | Photo courtesy of Eric Demarcq, Flickr

Driving Around Los Angeles

If you decide to rent a car, you can find car rental kiosks at Union Station - namely Hertz and Budget. Los Angeles' world-famous network of freeways can take you anywhere throughout the city, from the coast to inland communities. The most popular freeways are the 110 freeway connecting Downtown from San Pedro in the south, and Pasadena in the north. The Interstate 5 is also the main freeway to access the Valley, while the Interstate 10 freeway can take you east toward West L.A. communities and Santa Monica.

See the guide to driving in Los Angeles. Also, there are several scenic drives in Los Angeles that you can take, along the mountains or the famed Pacific Coast Highway.

LAX FlyAway
LAX FlyAway from Union Station | Photo: fredcamino, Flickr

Leaving Los Angeles: The LAX FlyAway

If you decide to leave by air, the LAX FlyAway bus provides an affordable alternative to taking a taxicab from Downtown Los Angeles to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In fact, tickets on the bus are only $7, and can be purchased from the FlyAway kiosk in the Patsaouras terminal of Union Station. Remote baggage check-in and boarding passes are available for the LAX FlyAway, as well.

FlyAway buses operate 24 hours a day. The buses leaves every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., and each hour from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. To catch the LAX FlyAway, head to Bay 9 of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza, adjacent to Union Station via the East Portal. You can also visit www.lawa.org/flyaway for more information.