Tag Archives: hotels

Glenwood Springs, CO

Of Interest: The Hot Springs Pool, scenic location

Lodging: hotel next to station, other hotels within walking distance

Glenwood Springs is famous for its outdoor hot springs and its beautiful location in the Rocky Mountains. The historic Hotel Denver is right next to the station. There has been a hotel on this spot since 1915 with the present hotel dating from 1938.

7th Street was where Glenwood Springs began, but most of the town is now an easy walk across the bridge over the river and highway. Just on the other side from the station. The Hot Springs Pool is the most famous hot spring in Colorado. There are actually two pools. The larger is two blocks long, and its water is 90 degrees. The smaller is 104 degrees.

Glenwood Springs is six and a half hours from Denver and nine hours to Salt Lake City via Amtrak’s California Zephyr. All trains arrive and depart in the early afternoon.


Denver, CO

Of Interest: downtown Denver, Coors Field, Tattered Cover bookstore, Denver Performing Arts Center, local and intercity buses, light rail

Tourist Office: Yes, at 16th and California

Hotels: multiple (mostly expensive, most about twenty minutes walk or more)

Denver’s Union Station is on the edge of dowtown Denver, and is on one end of a free shuttle ride that will take you all the way Colorado’s Capitol building. You are probably going to have to take this shuttle to get to your hotel or to the tourist information office. The tourist information office is about a half hour walk from the station, and the closest hotel is about a fifteen minute walk.

Almost all of Denver’s downtown attractions are on or visible from the 16th Street Mall, the pedestrian route that is served by the free shuttle. The Tattered Cover is one of the largest independent booksellers in the US, and their downtown location is about ten minutes from Union Station. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts on 14th and Curtis is visible from 16th Street. The DCPA is also served by the D, F, H, and D light rail lines.

The C and E lines serve the station as well as a couple of locations that are not easy to walk to, like Mile High Stadium.  All light rail lines head into the south Denver Metro area.

It is a fifteen minute walk in a different direction to Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies. The walk will take you past a lot of sports bars, and a couple of art galleries. To get to this baseball field, walk left from the main exit of the station.

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.

Glenwood Springs, CO

  • Lodging: Hotel Denver
  • Of Interest: hot springs, mountains
  • Safe at Night?: Yes (trains are scheduled to arrive in the early afternoon)

Glenwood Springs is a famous hot springs resort a few hours from Denver.  The Hotel Denver is right next to the station.  Other hotels and most of the town are on the other side of the river and I-70. Luckily, there is a pedestrian bridge for easy access.

The hot springs are highly recommended for both families and romantic couples.  And of course the mountains are beautiful.

Reno, Nevada

  • Hotels: Yes
  • Of Interest: Casinos, river walk, University of Nevada
  • Safe at night: Probably.  Currently trains arrive during the day.

The first time that I went took the train from San Francisco to Denver, I stopped in Reno, Nevada.  I like trains, but I don’t like to spend days on a train, and trains in the US are slow.

I did a search on hotels.com because at that time (summer 2007)  that was the only site that allowed me to search for hotels in the vicinity of the train stations.  At that time the website listed the Sands Regency as the hotel closest to the train station.  I notice that now the site is more accurate, as that is NOT the closest hotel.  However, it is close enough and really cheap.

There are a huge number of cheap hotels in Reno because most of the hotels are casinos too.  I lost about $1o during my stay, and I am sure that most people lose more.  I also ate at onsite. There is a really good diner in the same building.  I really like diner food.

Casinos are not the only thing to do in Reno.  Downtown Reno and the University of Nevada are within walking distance. Downtown Reno is really attractive. The Truckee River is set up to be convenient for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Emeryville, California

  • Hotels: Yes, expensive
  • Of Interest: not much
  • Safe at night: ?

The first hour out of the Emeryville station going north is stunning.  However, the area around the station is not.  The Emeryville Amtrak station is the main station serving San Francisco with buses too and from that city.  However, it is faster to take the BART to the nearest station and then take the bus.

I think the station is next to an interstate interchange.  There are several cookie cutter hotels within walking distance, although the walk may not be comfortable at night.  Also, because of the large scale of the parking lots, a walk from one end of the hotel strip to the other is probably quite a hike.  This area is accessible by walking across the tracks behind the station. At the time that I visited, most of the hotels were very expensive.  I just did a search on the Amtrak site, and it looks like hotel prices have come down significantly.

I was leaving early in the morning, and the only restaurant open for business was a Subway. It looks like the station is surrounded by offices.  Where do the people who work there eat?