Amtrak Pacific filter: Stations with stuff I can walk to?
July 12, 2017 1:55 PM   Subscribe

On which stops of the Coast Starlight route is the Amtrak station located directly in a small downtown/village center?

I'm in need of a car-free solo retreat. I'd like to be able to get off and be in a place where I can walk easily (let's say under a mile) to a motel/AirBnB where I can chill for a few days. Somewhere close to a market and/or a hot breakfast.

I've been through a few stations that fit the walking criteria--LA and Portland and Oakland for example. But something with a slower pace would be better. Davis comes to mind as a good option, but no bigger than that.

To reiterate: not a station outside of town. A station in the middle of a small town. No taxi, no Uber, no bus. Just me and a bag and a little peace and quiet.

Schedule/list of stops here (direct link to PDF).
posted by quarterframer to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
It may be bigger or more touristy than you want, but I just did this exact car-free getaway in Santa Barbara. Station is convenient to everything; I mostly stayed away from the main shopping strip and was able to get to a little park, the art museum and the mission on foot. They have a little trolley too if you don't want to walk as far as the mission.
posted by tinymojo at 2:06 PM on July 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Santa Barbra Amtrak station is really close to downtown and it's a lovely town with a beautiful beach and lots of fancy stores. I've stayed at the Harbor House Inn which is by the beach and less than half a mile walk from the station. Nice place. Not that close to downtown though. Or there's a Holiday Inn Express right at one end of downtown which is also half a mile from the station.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on July 12, 2017

Eugene, OR! The train drops you off on the edge of its small, low-key downtown with plenty of food options, the library, groceries, lodging. Google map the Amtrak station to check it out. It's a fun and interesting town to explore!
posted by sweetpotato at 2:09 PM on July 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

According to a Mountain Goats song, Redding is among these. Also, there are teenagers in mini-trucks coming around every corner.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 2:13 PM on July 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Downtown San Luis Obispo's is pretty close to downtown, about a 10-15min walk. When I shopped AirBNBs there a few years ago, there were several in the neighborhood between the train station and downtown.
posted by rhizome at 2:14 PM on July 12, 2017

I can vouch for the SLO station drops you basically right in downtown, walking distance from tons of stuff.

Further south, the San Juan Capistrano station also drops you off right in old town (near one of my favorite coffee shops, Hidden House!)
posted by sleeping bear at 2:23 PM on July 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

For God's sake, don't get off in Albany, OR.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:34 PM on July 12, 2017

Where are you starting from?
posted by waylaid at 2:51 PM on July 12, 2017

Paso Robles would definitely work. I've stayed in a nice vacation rental in the middle of town, lots of restaurants and wine tasting rooms! It's a small, walkable town.
posted by wsquared at 3:12 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Chico definitely. Downtown is a few short blocks east of the station. Lots of places to eat and a few hotels/motels in walking distance. At least one AirBnB downtown; probably lots.
posted by bricoleur at 5:08 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, Chico has the extremely lovely Bidwell Park, the western end of which is located downtown (it stretches east for several miles, up into the hills). If you like this sort of thing, watch the old Errol Flynn Robin Hood before you go. Its outdoor scenes were filmed mostly in Bidwell Park.
posted by bricoleur at 5:11 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Centralia Wa.! The train station is one block off the main street. There's a brewpub/hotel (McMenamins Olympic) steps away from the station. Antique stores and other shops abound. Old logging town with plenty of character!
posted by Zedcaster at 7:45 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll third Santa Barbara as a great train station, compact, walkable to beach, pier, and compact downtown commercial/shopping district -- a great place, if spendy. I've ridden the train there many, many times. Also, up and coming is the LAX union station. The train station on its own is amazing, and the surrounding neighborhood is finding its own. It's not as 'easy' to love as Santa Barbara, but it's now a totally walkable, livable area. (Which it probably wasn't 15 years ago, and is definitely not as 'cute' as SBA or SLO.
posted by Doc_Sock at 8:57 PM on July 12, 2017

Best answer: And how could I forget? Dunsmuir Station is right downtown and there's a $95/night motel a couple of blocks away. Great history in Dunsmuir, a lightly-touched old railtown, and you get Mt. Shasta too.
posted by rhizome at 9:30 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you go to Dunsmuir, there are apparently hobo tags dating back to the thirties under a railroad bridge somewhere in town. I'm a train geek and probably you're not (there are allegedly better things to do with one's life), but if you end up going to Dunsmuir drop me a MeMail and I'll figure out specifics!
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:52 PM on July 12, 2017

I've never got off the train in Klamath Falls, but it's looked rather appealing whenever I've passed through and the journey along the side of the lake is one of my favourite parts of a Coast Starlight trip.
posted by kelper at 2:03 AM on July 13, 2017

Response by poster: So many great answers. Dunsmuir is perfect, Chico is a great second option. THANK YOU.
posted by quarterframer at 8:53 AM on July 13, 2017

Just so you're not surprised when you get there, there's also a whole thing about aliens living inside of Mt Shasta. Depending on your sensibilities you might want to allow an extra day!
posted by rhizome at 10:53 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

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