Coast Starlight Route Overview
The Amtrak Coast Starlight was born from combining two Southern Pacific trains, the Starlight and the Coast Daylight. The train has been in continuous operation since 1971, it was the first to offer direct service between Los Angeles to Seattle.
The Coast Starlight goes between Los Angeles and Seattle via Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area.
|Top Speed||79 Mph|
|Average Speed||40 Mph|
On the Coast Starlight you can purchase tickets in these categories (sample summer fares for 2 people shown):
- Coach ($225)
- Business ($316)
- Superliner Roomette ($592)
- Superliner Bedroom ($1,168)
- Superliner Family Bedroom ($1,294)
The Coast Starlight has a special Business Class car with seats that are the same as coach, but are finished differently. In business class you’ll also get free drinks.
Amtrak often runs 2 for 1 sales on coach tickets as well as roomettes. If you are planning well in advance, check out our guide to getting 2 for 1 tickets during the BOGO sale.
Meals and Metropolitan Lounge access are included for all sleeper car passengers.
The Coast Starlight is a grand west coast adventure. It is regarded as one of the most spectacular train routes on Amtrak. The Coast Starlight links two great cities on the west coast, Los Angeles and Seattle. The scenery is unsurpassed, from dramatic snow covered peaks of the Cascades Range to Mount Shasta. You will also be treated to lush forests, fertile valleys and long stretches of the Pacific Ocean shoreline.
Most people vacationing on the Coast Starlight are riding for the views along the coast of the Pacific ocean. You may even get to see Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier on the east side of the train as you arrive in or leave Seattle.
The major and notable stations on the Amtrak Coast Starlight are Los Angeles, Oakland, Emeryville (San Francisco), Sacramento, Portland and Seattle.
The Amtrak Coast Starlight travels from California into Oregon and finishing in Washington. There are many notable stops along this route.
The Coast Starlight route has terminus stations of Los Angeles on one end and Seattle on the other. Only the Los Angeles station has a Metropolitan Lounge to make your wait before boarding more enjoyable.
Both stations also offer free checked baggage, up to 2 bags per person of 50lbs.
Union Station – Los Angeles
Union Station in Los Angeles is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the western US. It opened in 1939 replacing the LA Grande Station and Central Station. The station has been used in many popular films, including Blade Runner, Pearl Harbor, The Dark Knight Rises and Bugsy, to name a few. There are several restaurants where you can purchase food and bring back to enjoy in the Metropolitan Lounge. The lounge at this station is located on the second level just past ticketing and the check in counters. Arrive early to take the time to walk around the station and enjoy some of the history.
If you need to stay near the station, the closest hotel is the Metro Plaza Hotel, which is acceptable. For a little better place to stay you could choose the Millennium Biltmore. We stayed there on our last Amtrak trip and recommend it, but this would require a short taxi or Uber to the station.
There is a car rental location on site at the station.
King Street Station- Seattle
The King Street Station is a surprise, as it has a beautiful interior and good location downtown next to the Seattle sports field complexes. There is no food available inside, but there are a few restaurants and cafes within walking distance. There is also no Metropolitan Lounge at this station.
The King Street Station may have the most convenient hotel near it in the entire Amtrak system. If you are staying a night or two in Seattle we recommend the Embassy Suites Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square. The hotel is just steps from the Amtrak station and we could see the entrance to the station from our room. On top of that we found the hotel to be amazing and the staff was very friendly to us.
The Coast Starlight is a great train trip to link with a few other trains. If you are looking for a longer vacation, consider something like our 14 day Amtrak trip. On this trip we took the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle, the Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago, and the California Zephyr from Chicago back to San Francisco.
You could also link the Coast Starlight with the San Joaquins train to see more of California and visit Yosemite. If you ride from Seattle to Los Angeles you can link with the Sunset Limited and ride across the US to New Orleans.
Note that the Amtrak stations in Los Angeles and Seattle are not near the airports, so if you are flying into those cities to start this route you’ll need to get a cab or Uber to the Amtrak station.
Tickets for Amtrak can be booked at Amtrak.com or using their app on your phone. Reservations can also be made by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.