10 attractions on the Sunset Limited route to plan a trip around

San Antonio River Cruise

The Sunset Limited travels through the U.S. South and Southwest and has a variety of scenery that you can enjoy from your seat. There are also interesting sights and cultural experiences near many stations if you want to get off the train and explore. Here are the 10 best attractions along the Sunset Limited route to plan a trip around. Note that you will need to book each leg of the trip separately as well as accommodations for when you’re not on the train.

This website is reader supported and we may earn a small commission from links on this page. Visit Amtrak.com for current train schedules by route and station.

French Quarter

Photo by llambrano from Pixabay

Established in the 1700s, the French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and is full of European architecture and history. You’ll find famous Bourbon Street here along with Jackson Square, the French Market, and unique shops, restaurants and bars. Choose from many different French Quarter tours (historical, ghost and food) and hotels to immerse yourself in the culture.

National World War II Museum

B17 plane at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans
Photo by NolaBob/Wikimedia Commons

If you’re into history, a visit to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans is a must do. The massive museum is in four buildings, and a 4D theater and exhibits tell the story of the war. There’s even an interactive submarine experience based on an actual battle.

You can reach the museum via the hop-on-hop-off tour bus, St. Charles streetcar and rideshare. Or stay at a hotel in walking distance: the Higgins Hotel, Holiday Inn Express St. Charles and Sonesta ES Suites Convention Center are closest to the museum.

Cajun Food and Music

Cajun food in Lafayette, Louisiana
Photo by pointnshoot/Flickr.com

Lafayette, Louisiana is a wonderful place to visit to experience Cajun culture. You can go on a food tour, listen to live music, attend a festival, and visit the Vermilionville Village and Acadian Village to learn about the history of the area.

For a convenient place to stay, Choo Choo Lofts is next to the station and is great for families or small groups. In downtown Lafayette, which is about 10-minutes away on foot, Buchanan Lofts has rooms with full kitchens in an old department store. Lyft and Uber are available to reach other lodging, attractions and top Cajun restaurants.

Lake Charles Casinos

L'Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles
Photo by Jburge123/Wikimedia Commons

For a resort and casino getaway, plan a trip to Lake Charles on the Sunset Limited. The L’Auberge Casino Resort (pictured above) is one of the top destinations. There’s a lazy river, poolside bar, spa, live entertainment and a large casino. The Golden Nugget is another popular place to stay and play. It also has live entertainment, a casino and lazy river, plus a lakefront beach and marina.

Houston Performing Arts

Miller Outdoor Theatre - Symphony performance
Photo by Adam Baker

You don’t have to go to New York City to see a Broadway show. Houston has a 17-block Theater District near the Amtrak station where you can see performances of all kinds. For an outdoor experience, use Lyft or Uber to reach the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park (pictured above).

Consider staying at the Lancaster Hotel, which is a top-rated place to stay near the theaters. Or the ZaZa Hotel is a short walk away from the Miller Outdoor Theatre, two of Houston’s art museums, the natural science museum and the butterfly center. View the event calendar to plan your trip.

Space Center

Photo by Wally Gobetz

Space Center Houston is one of the top attractions in Texas. It’s a 30-minute car ride from the Houston Amtrak Station; rideshare is available or rent a car at Enterprise (pickup service available). With tours and over 400 space program artifacts (including flown aircraft) you can easily spend the day here.

Extended Stay, Microtel Inn & Suites and Courtyard by Marriott hotels are across the street and make visiting the Space Center easy. The Armand Bayou Nature Center is also nearby and worth a visit, especially if you are traveling with kids.

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk
Photo by desmarsol from Pixabay

Enjoyed by people of all ages since the 1940s, the 15-mile-long San Antonio River Walk is full of things to see and do. You can go on a cruise, watch a boat parade, explore shops and artist markets, eat a meal on the riverfront and check out the nightlife. For easy access, stay at a hotel near the river walk and consider the multi-day hop-off-hop-on bus with river cruise to see the river and the city without a car.


The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas
Photo by photolibrarian/Flickr.com

The Alamo is the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, where Texas fought for independence from Mexico. Long before the battle, the Alamo was Mission San Antonio de Valero, and you can explore the church, barrack building, gardens, exhibits and more. For the full history of the area, check out all five San Antonio missions (tour with hotel pickup is an option).

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park
Photo by Joe Parks

About 25 minutes away from downtown Tucson, Saguaro National Park has giant cacti, hiking trails and stunning sunsets. You’ll need to rent a car to get there — the nearby Enterprise office can pick you up with a reservation. Consider visiting the nearby Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum while you’re exploring the area. It has a zoo, botanical garden, art galleries and a museum.

After a day outdoors, enjoy the amazing restaurants in town — Tucson is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. For a convenient place to stay, Hotel Congress and AC Hotel Downtown Tucson are closest to the Amtrak station (walking time is less than five minutes). View the best places to stay in the city for more ideas.


Chinese Theatre Los Angeles
Photo by Steve Boland

Hollywood is a Los Angeles neighborhood and an entire film culture. Popular activities include exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame and visiting Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (pictured above) and Dolby Theatre. Nearby you can also check out celebrity homes, view the Hollywood sign and have fun at the Universal Studios theme park (which includes a studio tour).

The Sunset Limited stops at the Los Angeles Union Station, where you can rent a car or use rideshare to get around. Bus tours are also a helpful way to see the sights. For places to stay near all the activities, check out hotels in HollywoodWest HollywoodBeverly Hills and Santa Monica.

More Information

Top photo by Kent Kanouse (Boats on the San Antonio River)