Tag Archives: historic buildings

Sacramento, CA

Of Interest: downtown Sacramento, old Sacramento

Lodging: yes

Tourist Office: no

There are two hotels close to Sacramento Station, but the city makes it a little hard to walk there. The hotels are in front of the station to the right, but to cross the street in front of station, you have to go left from the station. In fact, to get to those hotels, you have to cross the street three times. You have to cross the street to the left of the station then cross the street in front of the station then cross the street that is to left of the station again (this time going right). Are you lost yet? You need to cross the street in the crosswalk because cars drive on and off the highway on this street, and you need the lights AND the crosswalk to keep from dying horribly.

(In California, cars are required to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. This doesn’t actually help pedestrians since crosswalks are often badly placed. Remember you must have [indirectly] killed at least one small animal on any significant trip to get any respect.)

Once you have crossed the street, just walk along the street that runs in front of the station until you see the first one, a motel. In back of that is a Denny’s and in back of that is a Holiday Inn.

Luckily, the hotels.com page for Sacramento is accurate as long as you can find the link to the Sacramento Amtrak station under the landmarks list. (They are getting better. Near the Holiday Inn, there is an underpass to Old Sacramento (see picture). There are some historic buildings and a railway museum here.

Walking left from the station will take you downtown which also has its fair share of historic buildings, although this area is further away from the station than Old Sacramento. There is a mall right next to the station. You will see it during the twenty minutes you spend crossing the street.

Oh, one of Sacramento’s light rail lines stops at the station. No one knows where it goes. I know because somebody asked. The cars are empty. (Gee I wonder why.)

Sacramento is the last stop for most Capitol Corridor trains. It is three hours from San Jose and two hours from Berkeley. The route is beautiful and environmentally friendly too. There is one Capitol Corridor train daily to and from Auburn which is about an hour away. Also the California Zephyr (to Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Chicago) and the Coast Starlight also stop here daily. Both these trains also cover the Capitol Corridor route.

The San Joaquin has twice daily service to and from Stockton (an hour away) and Bakersfield (three and a half hours) with bus connections to Los Angeles.


San Jose, CA

Of Interest: downtown San Jose, historic San Jose, HP Pavilion

Lodging: yes

Tourist Office: No

San Jose Diridon Station is a major rail hub. Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor stops several times a day while the once daily Coast Starlight connects San Jose to Los Angeles to the south and Portland and Seattle to the north. Both lines take about three hours to get to Sacramento after passing through Oakland and Berkeley. It is the terminus for both the Caltrain and the Altamont Commuter Express. The former takes about an hour to get to San Francisco International Airport and two hours to get into San Francisco itself. Express trains that run during rush hour only take an hour to get to San Francisco. Trains are frequent during rush hour. Frequency drops to once an hour during the middle of the day and on weekends. The ACE runs a two hour route to Stockton. Three trains come into San Jose in the morning and three trains go back out to Stockton in the evening.

Santa Clara County’s light rail system, the VTA has a separate platform behind the station and another station within walking distance. The VTA will be operating a historic trolley on Saturday afternoon in December.

The station was renamed the Diridon Station in 1994 in honor of former Santa Clara County Supervisor Rod Diridon, a long time California rail supporter.

The station is close to two hotels. The Arena is a budget hotel to the west of the hotel. The Hotel De Anza is to the east and is much more luxurious. It is often a good value compared to other downtown hotels. The Hotel De Anza is on the edge of downtown, and there are many more hotels, most expensive, within walking distance. Likewise there are other budget hotels and motels further to the east beyond The Arena.

Downtown San Jose is home to large office buildings as well as several museums. Local festivals are also held in the area as well as a farmers’ market every Friday from May to the middle of December.

Las Vegas, New Mexico

  • Lodging: not visible from train station, but in walking distance
  • Of Interest: railroad avenue historic district, historic downtown
  • Safe at night:  I hope such a small town would be safe.  All trains arrive in the afternoon.

Note: This is not the casino town, but a historic town in New Mexico

In 2001 the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Las Vegas, NM as a distinctive travel destination.  Founded in 1835, the town became a stop on the Santa Fe trail.  Currently 918 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places including some of the first adobe buildings built in the town.  Several old buildings have been preserved near the railway station.