Home THE JOURNEY Train Festive Trip Ideas: Ride the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to Southern California’s Top...

Festive Trip Ideas: Ride the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to Southern California’s Top Holiday Events and Attractions

The Amtrak® Pacific Surfliner® is the perfect way to travel to seasonal activities, with stunning views of the Southern California coast, a comfortable ride, and convenient access to some of the most popular events and attractions this winter.

Here are some curated trip ideas for an exciting day trip or weekend getaway:

The Holiday Plaza in Downtown SLO

Open through January 2, 2023

Mission Plaza is the centerpiece of downtown San Luis Obispo, and it’s all decked out for the holidays. This year, guests can visit Santa’s House, ride a Classic Carousel, take selfies in dazzling photo spots, and watch an animated musical light show! Events at the Plaza include the Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony, performances from the SLO County Band and the SLO Youth Symphony, and more.

Getting There: The downtown area is a short walk from the San Luis Obispo train station.


Through January 6, 2023

Considered one of the “10 most Christmassy towns in America,” the Danish village of Solvang brings Old World traditions to the holiday season with beautiful lights, pop-up shops, Santa’s Village, a parade, candlelight tours, and more. 

Getting There: Book a Pacific Surfliner trip to Solvang (SLV). Riders connect to an Amtrak Thruway bus at the Santa Barbara Station for a 50-minute ride to downtown Solvang.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood Presents “Holidays Made Here”

December 22, 2022 – January 1, 2023 (Closed December 25) 

Experience a special holiday transformation at the Warner Bros.’ “Midwest Street Backlot”. Transport yourself to the quintessential winter town of Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow, decked out festively for the holiday season. Take part in holiday-themed trivia, and hear behind-the-scenes stories from holiday fan favorites like Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Getting There: Ride to Burbank Downtown and catch the “Pink Route” from Burbank Bus. Ride for 15 minutes to the Olive/Hollywood Station.

Rose Parade – Monday, January 2, 2023 

Visit Pasadena to experience the historic Rose Parade, an internationally recognized New Year’s Day celebration. This tradition has been part of the community for more than 100 years, with floats that are meticulously decorated with flowers and plants by hundreds of volunteers. Details

Getting There: Ride to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles and connect to the Metro Gold Line which stops near the parade route.

Holidays at The Disneyland® Resort – Through January 8, 2023

Both Disneyland® and Disney California Adventure feature festive sights and events all season long, including special holiday foods, parades, entertainment, and decorations. Use a recent or upcoming reservation number to unlock a 5 percent savings on admission.

Getting There: Ride the train to Anaheim. From there, request a shuttle ride from Anaheim Resort Transit through the A-Way WeGo app (free when you show your train ticket). The bus drops off and picks up passengers at the Disneyland® Main Transportation Center.

Capistrano Lights – Select Nights Through December 30, 2022

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano on select nights for extra holiday fun. Take photos under a giant wreath, watch the tree lighting, enjoy performances by Dickens era Carolers, and take a photo with Santa. The grounds are beautifully decorated in lights. Details

Getting There: Ride to the San Juan Capistrano Station and walk to the Mission.

Visit the Pacific Surfliner newsroom to get insider tips for holiday travel, including guidance on trip planning, booking, and saving money on a train trip. To explore options and prices, visit PacificSurfliner.com.