Itinerary Highlights
  • Cross the United States from east to west following pioneer trails aboard the California Zephyr, a legendary train
  • Private cabin, spectacular panoramic views and full board for travelling in the best conditions
  • Chicago & San Francisco in charming hotels. Cruises and jazz are pre-booked
  • Pre-loaded app, access to our clued-up Concierge, suggested addresses: the usual additional services

Contact one of our USA specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120

TRAIN TO CONQUER THE WEST

The California Zephyr is one of the country's most legendary rail lines, nicknamed 'Silver Lady' because of its locomotives and chrome cars, with daily connections between Chicago and San Francisco. From the Great Lakes region to the Pacific, there are almost 2,500 miles, 52 hours and some 30 stops across seven states. This remarkable cross-continental journey allows you to follow in the footsteps of the explorers and gold-miners who came to conquer the West in search of a better life and prosperity, from the Midwest Plains to the great outdoors of the American West, through the Rockies, the Colorado River Rapids, the ochre canyons of Utah, the Great Salt Lake and the Sierra Nevada.
The train has been designed to give you the full benefit of the show, with large windows, a panoramic roof and elegant observation lounges with swivel seats.
We have chosen the most comfortable cabin for you on the top floor of the train, so you can travel in greatest comfort. Here, it's a bit like being in a hotel, with upper and lower bunks, an armchair and a sofa, a sink, a loo with private shower, clean towels and bed linen, soap, hospitality products and individual services (morning and evening bed preparation, coffee and a newspaper). Meals are also included in the trip.

CHICAGO & SAN FRANCISCO - YOUR URBAN STOPS [

Chicago - The Windy City is a true architectural gem, the birthplace of the blues and a safe green haven. It's a city that's just as impressive vertically as it is horizontally. Strolling in parks, boating on Lake Michigan and visiting quality museums offer great sights for those keen to explore.
San Francisco – Is the pearl of the West Coast, the perfect place to sample the Californian way of life. We love it for its gentle living and European atmosphere, steep streets climbed by cable car, the lively neighbourhoods of Union Square and Nob Hill and its harbour, where you can enjoy walking in the early morning.
In the itinerary - Two cruises are pre-booked: the first is on the Chicago River for admiring the city's landscapes; the second is in a catamaran in San Francisco Bay, for an aperitif at sunset. A jazz party is also pre-booked in Chicago – a must. For the rest of the time, you are free to choose your own pace and itinerary, with useful dossier addresses to assist you. If you have any last-minute requests, our Concierge team can be reached by phone during your journey.

Route

Everything is 100% tailored to you
DAY 1

International flight to Chicago

Private transfer to your hotel close to the Magnificent Mile. Three-nights' accommodation in contemporary accommodation with personalised service and minimalist aesthetics – with subtle neutral tones, dark wood, marble, slate and contemporary art on display throughout the hotel.

DAYS 2 & 3

Chicago

Two days to take the pulse of the Windy City, a true architectural achievement, the birthplace of the blues and a safe green haven.
Things to do and experience – Stroll through the parks, especially the Millennium Park by Lake Michigan, which is dotted with sculptures and interactive fountains with giant screens. Take a walk along Lake Michigan. Visit one of the countless museums. In the evening, attend a stand up-show performed on Broadway or a sporting event. Chill out in a little blues or jazz bar.
In the Itinerary - An architectural cruise along the Chicago River to admire the city's most beautiful buildings from the water. Though a fire devastated it in 1871, Chicago was rebuilt by the greats of 20th-century architecture (Sullivan, Burnham and Frank Lloyd Wright), and it bursts with creative inspiration. It has an almost futuristic style that gives this city unprecedented architectural value. Embark on a cruise aboard the First Lady, among skyscrapers, to admire the city's fifty most beautiful buildings, including the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Merchandise Mart and Lyric Opera. The guides are all volunteers for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. An evening at Andy's Jazz Club (dinner and show) is also pre-booked. This is one of the legendary clubs on the South Side and West Side where jazz greats have performed.

DAYS 4 & 5

From Chicago to San Francisco aboard the California Zephyr

Board in the early afternoon at Chicago's Union Station for a unique, two-day, two-night journey from the Midwest Plains to the great outdoors of the American West, via the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada. There are nearly 2,500 miles, 52 hours, seven states and 32 stops between California and our final destination. Often, there isn't a road, only the railway line. Noses are pressed against the window (or looking up through the panoramic roof), marvelling at the landscapes as they go by. Perhaps the most spectacular part is between Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, where the train crosses arid deserts and gradually ascends into the Utah massifs.
To see on the way - Iowa Villages. Sunrise on Nebraska Grain Plains. Climbing through the Rocky Mountain. The Colorado River Rapids. The Utah Ochre Canyons. The Great Salt Lake. The California Lakes and Forests. San Francisco Bay...

DAY 6

Arrival in San Francisco

The train crosses Suisan Bay, San Pablo, and finally San Francisco during the last hour of travel towards the Pacific. Terminus across the bay, in Emeryville. The railway company schedules the transfer to San Francisco and accommodation for three nights just a stone's throw from Union Square, in a quiet and welcoming atmosphere.

DAYS 7 & 8

San Francisco

Between its hills and cable cars, colourful houses are visible from Union Square to Golden State Park. In San Francisco, the bridges surrounding Alcatraz, the winding Lombard Street and the little Victorian dolls house homes create a postcard image of a legendary place.
In the itinerary - Discover the city accompanied by a local. They will guide you as you discover the Ferry Building, its role in the city since the Gold Rush era, and then the wharves of Embarcadero, which offer panoramic views of the bay, and a mural in an old post office. Next, ascend in cable car, the famous funicular of the 1870s, to the summit of Nob Hill to see beautiful palace-hotels and the Grace Cathedral, reminiscent of Notre-Dame in Paris. The tour ends with a visit to the Cable Car Museum. The next day, there's a pre-booked catamaran cruise across the bay. From the sea, in fading daylight, the city presents itself in a whole new way: this is an opportunity to glide under the Golden Gate Bridge to reach Alcatraz.
Optional - A magical seaplane ride over San Francisco Bay and its surroundings.

DAYS 9 & 10

San Francisco - Return flight

Private transfer to the airport and catch your flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.

A la carte

GO CHICAGO CARD

In addition to offering discounts at several restaurants and shops throughout the city, the Go Chicago Card offers access to 26 of the city's top attractions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio and Skydeck Ledge, an observation post located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower with privileged views of Chicago's downtown skyline from its glazed cabins. It also allows you to book an architectural or sunset cruise, a bike ride or family activities... A superb way to experience Chicago to the fullest.
Optional

SAN FRANCISCO BAY IN A SEAPLANE

Head to Sausalito to board a DHC-2 'Beaver', a small seaplane that can accommodate six passengers, each with their own window. An experienced pilot guide provides the commentary on this 30-minute flight, allowing you to enjoy the main sights of San Francisco: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the coastal towns of Sausalito, Belvedere and Tiburon, the immense redwoods of Muir Woods and the golden hills of California's vineyards.
Optional

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
May to November The estimated cost for this trip is £4,300 to £5,400 per person. The final cost of the trip depends on the way we tailor it especially for you. The final cost varies according to several factors, which include the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be shown on your personalised quote. The average price for this trip is £5100 per person.
  • International flights with a scheduled airline
  • Airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Private transfers mentioned in the itinerary
  • Three-nights' stay in Chicago in a double room (accommodation only)
  • Two-night train ride from Chicago to San Francisco aboard the California Zephyr, in a Superliner double cabin with private bathrooms and full board
  • Three-night stay in San Francisco in a double room (accommodation only)
  • Architectural Cruise on the Chicago River
  • An evening at a jazz club in Chicago (dinner and show)
  • Half a day with a guide in San Francisco, exploring its iconic neighbourhoods
  • A catamaran cruise at dusk in the San Francisco bay
  • Our local Concierge service
  • A few of the benefits of travelling with us
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