Snow Zephyr - Chicago to San Francisco

Snow Zephyr

Chicago to San Francisco

Starting at $899

Destinations & Sightseeing
Itinerary and Meals

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See the best of the American West this winter as you travel from Chicago's winter wonderland to the shores of San Francisco. Travel in the winter adds a bit of magic to any itinerary.

As your train travels west, you'll be awed by the plains and prairies of America's heartland blanketed in pristine snow. The Rocky and Sierra Nevada mountains flash their snow-capped peaks. And the mild northern California weather greets you at the end of your journey.

This 5-day winter train vacation includes two nights onboard Amtrak's California Zephyr as well as one night each in Chicago and San Francisco.

* Transportation aboard Amtrak (2 nights on train)
* Hotel accomodations for 2 nights
* All Meals on board the train (Roomette & Bedroom passengers)
* The Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains
* Moffat Tunnel
* Colorado's Gore, Byers and Glenwood Canyons
* Byers and Glenwood Canyons
* Truckee River
* Donner Lake
* San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait

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Map for Snow Zephyr - Chicago to San Francisco

Destination & Sightseeing


Day 1 - Chicago's Winter Wonderland
Arrive in Chicago and spend the day exploring the city's most popular attractions, all dressed in their winter finest. Visit the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, Willis Tower, the John Hancock building, Navy Pier, and Water Tower among other famous city attractions. Take time to explore some of the city's unique neighborhoods, ice skate in Daley Plaza, or during the holidays visit the Christmas Markets or see the store windows on State Street decorated for the holidays. Overnight Palmer House Hilton or similar.

Day 2 - Depart Chicago aboard the California Zephyr
Arrive at Chicago's historic Union Station for your 1:50 pm departure. Once onboard the iconic California Zephyr, settle into your accommodations as you begin your 2,400+ mile journey across the country to San Francisco. As the train slices through the plains of the Midwest, you may wish to visit the Observation Car or head to the Sightseer Lounge Car to meet some new friends and admire the winter scenes passing before you. Enjoy dinner in the Dining Car as you cross the icy Mississippi River. Overnight train. (D Sleeping Car passengers only)

Day 3 - Westward Ho! California Zephyr and the Snow Covered Rockies
You'll awake this morning to a magnificent view of the snowy peaks of the Colorado Rockies on the horizon. Enjoy your breakfast in the dining car as the Zephyr climbs the front range of the Rockies and heads towards the Continental Divide. Visit the Sightseer Lounge Car to admire the winter wonderland. Keep an eye out for wildlife, especially when passing through the ski resort town of Winter Park. Overnight train. (B, L, D Sleeping Car passengers only)

Day 4 - California Zephyr to San Francisco
Watch as the scenery changes from snowy mountains to canyons, lakes and greenery as you enter the final leg of your journey west. By mid-morning, your train arrives in "The Biggest Little City in the World," Reno, Nevada. Cross the border into California, climbing through the legendary Donner Pass, the high point in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Your train is scheduled to arrive at Emeryville around 4:10 pm this evening. A shuttle will be waiting to transfer you to the Ferry building in downtown San Francisco where you can catch a taxi to your hotel.Overnight Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf or similar. (B, L Sleeping Car passengers only)

Day 5 - Winter Escape in San Francisco
San Francisco is yours to explore today! During the holiday season, make a point of visiting the Dickens Christmas Fair to get you in the holiday spirit. Visit the shops and restaurants at Fisherman's Wharf. Hop a trolley or enjoy a leisurely walk to others areas of the city. Don't miss Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, Telegraph Hill, and Jackson Square. Your rail adventure ends today; however, you may wish to extend your stay in San Francisco to further explore this vibrant city. Or transfer on your own to the airport for your return flight home

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