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The Ultimate East Coast Train Crawl With Your Crew

The East Coast is a blast, and unlike its western counterpart, it’s a whole lot easier to sight-see by train. With smaller states, you can bounce from one big city to another rather timely and seamlessly by rail—and there’s something classic about traveling in such fashion.

So we put together an extensive guide for you and your friends, with plenty of options for eating, drinking, staying, and shopping while on the Great American Rail Trip. We figured such an adventure would look something like this: Washington, DC → Pennsylvania → New Jersey → New York City via booking with Amtrak's multi-city ticket.

Check it out and then better get a move on.

By: Jake Kilroy 
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First Stop: Washington DC

Washington DC
Explore the best things to do, places to stay, eat and drink at in the U.S. capitol. 
Photo: The Line DC
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Stay at: The Line DC learn more

This hotel makes for one of the most unique scenes in town. Take a historic 110-year-old church and give it new life in a 24-hour neighborhood that features live music seven nights a week. Not only that, you're surrounded by early morning coffee shops and all-night diners. Plus, you can find plenty to do in the afternoon amid local book stores, flower shops, and vintage boutiques.
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Photo: Salt & Sundry
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Shop at: Salt & Sundry

Washington DC
If you want your house to be the coolest one on the block, this place is the find of all finds. This shop maintains an ever-changing collection of handcrafted furniture, dinnerware, linens, and killer vintage finds. It also sells all the ingredients you need for stunning small-batch foods and craft cocktails. Finally, if you’re in town at the right time, the shop plays hosts to special events and demonstrations featuring local chefs, bartenders, and food experts.
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Eat at: Tail Up Goat

Washington DC
This beloved bistro was founded by three friends—all of whom worked years in the local restaurant scene—as they wanted to open a neighborhood joint they themselves would frequent. It’s a one-of-a-kind place with a lot of personality. The eatery serves up crafty Mediterranean cuisine alongside Carribean-esque drinks, all with an inviting contemporary atmosphere.
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Stay at: Kimpton Hotel Palomar

Washington DC
At this spirited award-winning hotel off Dupont Circle, you find yourself feeling at home with cozy decor and a familiar warmth. Its vibe invites artists, philosophers, and self-manifested creatives for a hearty stay. The hotel staff wants to make sure you have the best stay in town, so their concierges have the lowdown on your new favorite neighborhood bar, restaurant, gallery, or shop.
Photo: Masseria
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Eat at: Masseria

Washington DC
If you're in the mood for a sincere celebration of Italian flavors, this place will do you more than right. Delight in coastal cuisine amid a chic, comfortable, and celebrated atmosphere. Altogether, the eatery is a beautiful mix of Italian farmstead mentality, the local Union Market scene, and the chef-owner Nick Stefanelli's heartfelt tribute to the region of his heritage.
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Experience: National Cherry Blossom Festival

Washington DC
How can you not love cherry blossoms? They make everywhere seem like a dream and this gorgeous festival is no different. Celebrating the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, this beloved festival in the nation's capital pays tribute with live performances, parties, fireworks shows, and even a kite festival.
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$355 avg. room rate
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Stay at: The Jefferson, Washington DC learn more

It only takes a moment to see why this luxury hotel is known as the second most prestigious address in the capital. Only blocks from the White House, with an interior inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello, this five-star boutique hotel has suites to make you feel presidential and a petite spa to that'll treat you like royalty. The hotel also features Michelin-starred restaurants Plume and Quill.
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Photo: Mr Tin DC
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Eat at: Peregrine Espresso

Washington DC
Opened by a couple who met while working at rival cafés, this coffee shop is all about sustainability and community. Behind the counter are baristas who have competed at regional and national competitions to further their coffee education and make the shop more fun and forward-thinking. Plus, it’s quality coffee along with croissants, scones, muffins, cookies, and tea cakes. What’s not to love?
Photo: Jeff Elkins
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Drink at: Columbia Room

Washington DC
A memorable cocktail experience awaits! At this bar, there are three distinct spaces for a romping good time; the Tasting Room features several-course menus with cocktail pairings while the Spirits Library and Punch Garden are open seating. As a whole, the bar was started to celebrate the history, techniques, ingredients, and presentation of cocktails. The team behind the place avoided gimmicks because they wanted to use whatever tools, whether past or present, to deliver beautifully made handcrafted cocktails.
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Next Stop: Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh + Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Explore the best things to do, places to stay, eat and drink at in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Photo: Anna Wu
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Eat & Shop at: Terrain learn more

If you've ever wondered where professional tastemakers and trendsetters of your favorite brands like to hang out, look no further. This home goods store doubles as a garden café, much to the delight of everyone. Seriously, this place has quite the family too, given that its sister stores are Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, and BHLDN. It's even a greenhouse nursery too! Across all its operations, the team here always celebrates nature, community, seasonality, and self-expression.
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Photo: Lauren Fair
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Experience: Philadelphia's Magic Gardens learn more

A whimsical and wonderful time awaits you at this visionary art environment, gallery, and community center. It's also a massive 3,000-square-foot outdoor mosaic sculpture. It covers half a city block and a sense of magic winds throughout.
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Stay at: Kimpton Hotel Palomar

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Now this is how you do eco-friendly luxury! At this award-winning boutique hotel, you can relish in an atmosphere of total class and comfort. Likewise, the staff wants the very best for you, which is why there's a yoga mat in each room and free bicycles available for getting around town. Also, make sure you treat yourself to in-room spa services. Seriously, you only live once.
Photo: Harp & Crown
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Eat at: Harp & Crown

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
You won't find a bar in town that does a better job blending old-world glam and casual modern class. This place is a timeless sense of luxury, with its glass façade, 24-foot ceilings, four chandeliers, funky wallpaper, and natural tones throughout. Below the main room, you'll find a bar with a two-lane, reservations-only bowling alley, where there's pizza, charcuterie, and cocktails to be had.
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Stay at: AKA Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
On the corner of 18th and Walnut, this majestic 12-story historic landmark has been given new life with stylish contemporary interiors. Travelers can find short-term and long-term solace in the hotel’s sophisticated furnished apartments as well as dedicated, friendly concierges. Around the hotel, you'll find some of the city's finest dining, along with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
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Eat at: a.kitchen + bar

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Each of these critically acclaimed restaurants, both inside AKA Rittenhouse Square, blow away guests and critics alike with bold flavors of natural hardwood charcoal and a notable seafood-inspired menu. You'll also find one of the country's most innovative wine and spirits programs here, so treat yourself to the wine list and some seasonal house cocktails.
Photo: The Dandelion
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Eat at: The Dandelion

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
You can be totally transported to the U.K. at this beloved pub. With its modern take on British cuisine, and the decor and atmosphere to match, this charming and lively spot serves up the grandest of times with a craft beer or two. Truly, with its brass, red booths and stools, and rich dark wood, you very well might lose track of the time here.
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Drink at: Hop Sing Laundromat

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Go full swank with this early 20th Century-inspired bar that could easily be a speakeasy that’s somehow traveled out of time. The secret ingredient for their cocktails is time, as the bartenders want each drink to count as a new favorite of yours. Dark colors suit the joint’s sharply attired guests, as there is indeed a dress code; so does the rare whiskeys and tequilas they’re known to serve.
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Experience: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden learn more

If pretty locales suit your interests, then strolling through one of the nation's oldest and largest Victorian greenhouses ought to suit you. Truly, this magnificent green oasis in Pittsburgh's vibrant Oakland neighborhood is something to behold. It's been a world-class garden experience since opening in 1893. Wander around and enjoy breathtaking seasonal flower shows and free-with-admission activities for all ages. Plus, there's an award-winning café for when you work up that appetite.
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Next Stop: New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
Explore the best things to do, places to stay, eat and drink at in and around Jersey City.
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Stay at: Wanderland Pop Up learn more

Maybe you should add a pop-up hotel stay to your bucket list. This mobile venue treats you to beautiful Lotus Belle glamping tents and outdoor lounge setups, so you can live like a well-to-do nomad, if only for an evening. What better way to make a night unforgettable?
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Eat at: Light Horse Tavern

Jersey City, New Jersey
This upscale restaurant and tavern keeps a comforting sensibility, being such an open two-level space with rich wood trimmings. Its extensive menu offers big-ticket items such as porterhouses and ribeyes as well as pub classics like baked meatloaf and fish and chips. But it’s the appetizers and oyster bar servings that stir up the idea you can eat and drink here forever.
Photo: Dullboy
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Drink at: Dullboy

Jersey City, New Jersey
American dishes get taken for a spin at this cozy bar of exposed brick walls. With a fully stocked bar and a few crafty cocktails, this intimate joint welcomes neighborhood regulars and momentary locals. It's a dim spot with small bites and vintage vibe—quite the hard spot to leave.
Photo: Legal Grounds
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Get coffee at: Legal Grounds

Jersey City, New Jersey
With an old school coffee shop vibe, this cozy hangout serves up good joe with neighborly ambiance. You can see what makes it a local favorite right from the get-go.
Photo: Zeppelin Hall
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Drink at: Zeppelin Hall

Jersey City, New Jersey
This European-style beer garden and restaurant makes for one of the liveliest times around. We’re talking 140+ beer taps at its full bar and a variety of gourmet sausages, schnitzels, burgers, and pretzels. Plus, there’s live music sometimes! What more could you want?
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Last Stop: New York City

New York, New York
Explore the best things to do, places to stay, eat and drink at in The Big Apple.
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Eat at: The Musket Room learn more

You wind up with a striking atmosphere when you put stylish furniture and decor between lime-washed exposed brick walls. Such is the case of this Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a modern spin on homestyle New Zealand cuisine. The charming eatery also features a rustic-chic 20-foot walnut timber bar and a backyard garden.
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$349 avg. room rate
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Stay at: The High Line Hotel learn more

Welcome to a hotel that looks and feels like your coolest friend's awesome city loft. Housed in the landmark red brick headquarters of the General Theological Seminary, this 19th Century gothic sanctuary has been reborn with a colorful style and locally sourced furniture. It features everything from a refurbished 1960s Citroen coffee truck to a Parisian-like garden illuminated by gas lamps. You’ll feel right at home.
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Eat at: Morgenstern's Ice Cream learn more

Find your favorite flavors of ice cream and sorbet here, along with some wild new ones, such as Sweet Potato Mello Caramel and Black Coconut Ash. It's a modern parlor that focuses on small batches with gourmet toppings and no additives. Dessert is the destination here—maybe dessert for dinner?
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Photo: SIXTY Soho
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$500 avg. room rate
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Stay at: SIXTY Soho learn more

Experience big city style and friendly warmth at this dreamy boutique hotel in SoHo. It’s a downtown gem that blends bohemian chic and modern sophistication, from the lobby to the suites to the in-hotel hot spots. Whether you're at sipping a cocktail at the recently redesigned Gordon bar or enjoying an Italian dinner at the signature restaurant Sessanta, this place is sure to see you again.
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Drink at: The Happiest Hour learn more

There aren't many bars in the Big Apple that remind you of California and Florida resorts from back in the day, but that's the scene at this cool breezy lounge. With cartoon palm trees on the wall, you feel like you’re on a retro vacation while pairing killer cocktails with burgers and sandwiches. Embrace the jazzy vibe of this tiki-inspired watering hole, where pretentiousness has no place.
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$775 avg. room rate
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Stay at: Crosby Street Hotel learn more

On a quiet cobbled street in the heart of SoHo, this sleek contemporary hotel keeps a minimalist brick, steel, and glass façade to match the area's industrial history. Inside, however, the hideaway’s stylish design is as vibrant as it is unique, as chic as it is cozy. You don't typically find such luxury in one of the country's most environmentally responsible hotels. Stay a while, especially when you can rest easy at The Crosby Bar or in the private leafy garden.
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Drink at: JIMMY at The James learn more

See what old and new bring together with this contemporary interpretation of a classic pub, spun with a 1970s New York twist. It comes with seriously killer views too, given that it's 18 stories up and atop the James Hotel in Soho. True, it’s hard to beat a cocktail lounge with a rooftop deck, but this one especially comes ready to impress.
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Eat at: ACME learn more

With its faded mirrors, checkerboard-tiled floor, brick walls, and candlelit recesses, this hot spot feels like a celebration of a bygone era. Known for its French and Italian fare, along with its selection of wines and cocktails, the relaunched bistro and lounge has made quite the name for itself.
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Photo: Norwood Club
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Go to: Norwood Club learn more

If you’re looking hideaway from the chaos, this haven for diners and drinkers is your lucky draw. This artfully curated social club spreads out across five floors in one of the city's most iconic brownstones. You’ll find a full restaurant, two bars, a screening room, and a walled garden. Although it looks distinguished and proper from the outside, its interior is wild and retro, giving the impression it’s more of a clubhouse.
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Eat at: Saxon + Parole learn more

This equestrian-themed eatery focuses on meat-centric eats and housemade whiskey, making for quite the outing. Named after raising horses, this downtown favorite has a kitchen run by Michelin-starred Chef Brad Farmerie as well as a multi-award winning beverage program. Its rich design and modernist details curate a chic look with an inviting atmosphere.
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