See more of Southern California this year. The Pacific Surfliner is one of the most scenic train routes in the country, with sweeping views of sparkling ocean waters, rolling hills, rocky mountain passes, and more. Travel with us to quiet towns with vast open spaces, bustling downtowns, historic sites, beach communities, and world-renowned attractions. 

Here are some trip ideas to include in your 2023 plans:

Disneyland® Resort 100th Anniversary Celebration – Ongoing

Disneyland® is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023. There will be special entertainment, decorations, merchandise, and food to mark the milestone, starting at the end of January. California Adventure is celebrating, too, ringing in the Year of the Rabbit with Lunar New Year festivities between January 20 and February 15. Use your Amtrak reservation number from a recent or upcoming trip to unlock a 5 percent savings on resort admission, including the special 3-Day SoCal Resident ticket. 

How to Get There: Ride the train to the Anaheim Station. 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.

SLO Craft Beer Fest – February

Head to downtown San Luis Obispo for a celebration of craft beer brewers, special food pairings, live entertainment, educational beer seminars, and more. The area is also host to a weekly Farmers’ Market (Thursday evenings) that features local produce, food, and craft vendors, as well as live entertainment. Learn More.

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

Santa Barbara Whale Watching Excursions – February-May

Whale watching can be done year-round in Southern California, but late-winter and early-spring is the best time to see whales and their babies make the trip north from Baja Mexico. Harbor cruises are generally 2.5 hours. While in Santa Barbara, spend some time at the beach, take a stroll along Stearns Wharf, and explore the downtown area. Learn More.

How to Get There: The harbor is a 20-minute walk from the Santa Barbara train station.

Swallows Parade and Mercado – March

The Swallows Day Parade, now in its 63rd year, is one of the largest non-motorized parades in the country, celebrating the annual return of swallows to the area. Equestrians, marching bands, dancing groups, and horse-drawn carriages will make their way through the downtown area. There will also be a mercado at the historic town center with vendors, live music, food, a kids play zone, and other fun activities. Learn More.

How to Get There: The event is within walking distance of the San Juan Capistrano Station.

SLO Film Fest – April

Visit San Luis Obispo during their 29th annual international film festival. Watch contemporary and classic films at the classic art deco Fremont Theatre, the Palm Theatre, and other unique venues. The downtown area will be buzzing with musical performances, workshops, panel discussions, red carpet events, and themed parties during the six-day festival. Learn More.

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

California Strawberry Festival – May

Oxnard is home to one of the top festivals in the state, with food booths, contests, rides, and chef demonstrations all dedicated to strawberries. This event went on hiatus during the pandemic, but will make a sweet return in 2023. It’s the perfect kick-off to the summer, and proceeds go back into the community. Learn More.

How to Get There: Ride to the Oxnard Station. In past years, a free shuttle was provided between the train station and the event.

San Diego County Fair – June

The Del Mar Fairgrounds will be transformed into one of the largest county fairs in the country, with thrilling rides, games, live entertainment, head-turning food creations, animal exhibits, and more. The annual craft brew festival, which features nearly 200 breweries, will also take place at the fairgrounds in June. Learn More.

How to Get There: Ride to the Solana Beach train station and show your train ticket for a free shuttle connection to the fairgrounds.

Comic-Con International – July

The world-renowned comic book and pop culture convention returns to San Diego July 20-23, 2023, featuring workshops, panels, film screenings, and competitions. Even without a convention ticket, it’s still fun to be part of the excitement in the downtown area – see intricate cosplay, attend events and exhibits open to the public, participate in elaborate interactive experiences, and pick up exclusive merchandise. Learn More.

How to Get There: The convention center is a 20-minute walk from the Santa Fe Depot, or a 10-minute ride on the trolley.

Ventura County Fair – August

Soak up summer fun at the “County Fair with Ocean Air” – there will be carnival rides, food booths, concerts, exhibits, and agricultural shows to enjoy. The fairgrounds are a short walk from Ventura’s beaches and downtown area. Make a weekend out of it and visit the area’s local microbreweries, shops, and restaurants. Learn More.

How to Get There: The fairgrounds are adjacent to the Ventura train station.

Solvang Danish Days – September

Visit “The Danish Capital of America” during their annual heritage festival to enjoy parades, dancing, book readings, traditional breakfasts, a beer and wine garden, contests, and more. The area is also rich with wineries and tasting rooms, making it the perfect place to get away for a weekend. Learn More.

How to Get 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.

HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo – October

See the zoo in a new way. Once the sun goes down select nights in October, a celebration of color and lights will take over, with the added fun of special entertainment and interactive festivities. Dance to Halloween hits, watch special performances, and view animal exhibits. Learn More.

How to Get There: From the Santa Fe Depot, catch an Uber or Lyft, or take Rapid Bus 215, for a quick ride to Balboa Park.

Dia De Los Muertos Festival – October

Historic Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles is host to a multi-day festival celebrating Dia De Los Muertos every October. There are nightly processions, community altars on display, and live entertainment. Learn More.

How to Get There: Olvera Street is across the street from LA Union Station, off North Alameda Street.

Downtown Burbank Winter Wine Walk – November

Kick off the holiday season at Downtown Burbank’s annual winter event. A free street fair features local artisans, including crafters, bakers, artists, and others. Pick up the perfect gift and enjoy live entertainment. There is also a ticketed wine walk that features tasting sites throughout the downtown area. Learn More.

How to Get There: Ride to the Burbank Downtown Station and walk about a half-mile to the event.

Capistrano Lights – December

Mission San Juan Capistrano is a wonderful place to visit anytime, but it’s especially fun during the holiday season. Take photos under a giant wreath, watch the tree lighting, enjoy performances by Dickens era Carolers, and visit with Santa on select nights during December. The grounds are beautifully decorated in lights. Learn More.

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

Stop Dreaming. Start Going. 
It’s time to get out there and see more of the place we call home. Make the most of your journey when you ride with us.

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