Meet Amtrak's City of New Orleans train, which goes through some of America’s best music cities in one journey.
Amtrak may be best known for its commuter rails through the Northeast Corridor and down the California coast, however, it’s time for train travelers to get to know more of its routes. Including the epic City of New Orleans train, which takes travelers through some of America’s best music cities in one journey.
The City of New Orleans train originates in Chicago, where Amtrak suggests visitors take in a show by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — it was founded in the late 19th century and still puts on more than 150 performances a year. Travelers can board with tickets for coach class seats, roomlets, or the one-bedroom suites, which come with a private in-room bathroom complete with a shower. (They just might be the ideal room for a trip traveling the nation's length from North to South.)
And, those who book a room also get access to Amtrak’s complimentary Flexible Dining menu, which includes hot breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, along with a selection of add-on wine, beer, and spirits. Guests who book a room also get access to an exclusive onboard lounge.
The train then continues on its 900-mile route, making several stops throughout Illinois before crossing the state border, stopping in at Fulton, Kentucky. Though the small town of fewer than 3,000 residents isn’t known for its musical prowess, it’s interesting nonetheless, as it’s known as the “banana capital of America.” Not because it grows them, but because 70 percent of imported bananas used to pass through the town before shipping navigation changed. But, it honors this heritage with the yearly Banana Festival, which Amtrak travelers can attend.
The train then pulls into Memphis, Tennessee, where travelers can head to Beale Street, AKA the “Home of the Blues.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a day on the calendar without a live performance on deck at the number of music venues on Beale Street and the surrounding neighborhood. Just visit bealestreet.com and see who’s performing when you pass through.
Next, the train pulls into Mississippi. While it makes several stops in this state as well, music lovers should get off in Jackson to enjoy even more of the blues. The “City with Soul” has live performances, including its District Thursdays outdoor live music events held every Thursday in September and October.
After making a few more stops, travelers will finally pull into New Orleans at Union Passage Terminal. Once there, you can indulge in all the jazz you can handle, especially by making your way to the French Quarter. Of course, you can pair your music with the delectable New Orleans cuisine, including plenty of Creole and all the beignets you can handle. Then, when you’re ready to leave, just hop back on the train and do the whole 900 miles in reverse.
To learn more about the train and all the stops it makes, visit amtrak.com.
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