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8.25.2017

CLE to DC by Train! Things to Keep in Mind While Traveling by Train

CLE to DC by Train! Photos and a few tips to make it bearable.


The last two weeks have been such a whirl wind for us! School started and we did a quick trip to D.C. We also celebrated my spawn's twelfth birthday! So much to cram into a small amount of time but it was all worth it!

Last year, we started making plans to attend a wedding in Virginia. My husband had lived in the area and worked in D.C. so he thought it would be nice to stop there on the way. The wedding didn't happen but we decided to keep with the plan. Only, this time we'd go by train!

Cleveland, Ohio to Washington D.C. by train is almost twelve hours. Twelve hours!


We also only had two days before school started to pull it off. Between my husband's schedule and the rest of us, vacations get complicated.

While visiting our nation's capital could have been enough, we planned the trip inspired by a book. The sculpture that inspired The Seventh Most Important Thing is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. While the book is fiction, the sculpture is very real. My oldest spawn had to read it this summer for middle school.

Our trip began at the (ungodly) hour of 1:30 AM.

CLE to DC by Train! Lakeside train station

Air travel conditioned us to be at the airport early. While you do have to check in early for a train, it's nowhere near the time you need to arrive for a plane. And, there is no WiFi at the Cleveland station. They don't get a whole lot of passengers to warrant it would be my guess.

Our trip to Washington D.C. was in coach. We slept for the first few hours and spent the rest of the trip in the observation train or the diner/cafe car. I didn't mind sleeping in coach. And, it was fine while everyone else was sleeping. But, once I got a taste of the observation train, it was hard to return to my seat.

CLE to DC by Train! Travel games

We upgraded to a family suite on the way back. I didn't realize you could until I was playing with the Amtrak app. But, the cost to upgrade was more than twice than what it cost us by doing it in person. I recommend trying both if you think you want to upgrade later.

CLE to DC by Train! Upgrade to sleeper car

Having the suite was a blessing for us! Bag storage is free with suites. After checking out of the hotel we kept our bags at the lounge while we explored the city. When it was time to leave, we waited in the lounge with snacks, beverages, and WiFi. On the train, the bathrooms are nicer, there is a shower to use, and our dinner is included. Plus, bottled water and blankets were waiting for us. It gets cold on the train at night.

CLE to DC by Train! Things to Keep in Mind While Traveling by Train

Things to keep in mind when traveling by train

  • WiFi is not available on all trains. And, mobile service is spotty. This was actually a bonus for us. It allowed us to spend more time watching the world go by and talking to one another.
  • Snacks and meals are expensive. Bring water and snacks.
  • It gets cold. Bring a blanket or sweatshirt. 
  • Travel games are a must for kids and adults. So are headphones.
  • Suites, roomettes, and bedrooms are worth the extra cost if you can do it. Meals are included and lounges at the station make the cost worth while.
  • The seats have a surprising amount of leg room and not uncomfortable.
  • Check your bags after checking out of your hotel. There is a cost unless you have a suite, then it's free.
  • There is no shortage of outlets in coach and in the Observation and Dining Cars.
  • The app has your ticket and travel times. It's the easiest way to check arrival and departure as well as if the train is running on time. 
  • Bring sunglasses. The observation train is all windows and can be very bright. And, it may help with sleeping or to spy on other passengers. 
6 Travel Apps for Your Next Adventure By Train

As for our stay in Washington D.C. - unforgettable!

We stayed at the historic Phonix Park Hotel which is a short distance from Union Station. We planned to take public transportation or Uber while exploring as well as walking. With the location of the hotel, we were able to save on car costs.

CLE to DC by Train!  Phoenix Park Hotel

I adore this hotel. The front staff is wonderful. I adore the blue and white of the hotel. Wifi is free and coffee service in the morning was a bonus. The best part of our room was the shower. After twelve hours on a train, the shower was heaven.
CLE to DC by Train!  Phoenix Park Hotel

The Hubs and I ate at the Dubliner downstairs from the hotel. While I enjoyed the beet salad, the Guinness burger on a boxy was underwhelming. The potato skins with Trinity cheese sauce was divine. And, Bailey's cheesecake was rich and creamy with the perfect amount of Irish cream.

CLE to DC by Train! Phoenix Park Hotel's The Dubliner

We meet friends at the Dubliner for brunch the following morning. I was blown away by the pancakes and the corned beef hash.

The sights of Washington D.C.

CLE to DC by Train!  Capitol Hill park

CLE to DC by Train!  C-SPAN

CLE to DC by Train! Kids in front of Capitol Hill

CLE to DC by Train! Smithsonian American Art Museum

CLE to DC by Train! Throne of the Third Heaven
The reason for our trip!

CLE to DC by Train! Smithsonian American Art Museum Sylvia Plath

CLE to DC by Train! Smithsonian American Art Museum Sylvia Plyth

CLE to DC by Train! Smithsonian American Art Museum Before Internet Cats

CLE to DC by Train! Smithsonian American Art Museum Before Internet Cats

CLE to DC by Train! Smithsonian American Art Museum


CLE to DC by Train! China Town

CLE to DC by Train! China Town

I took very few photos on our trip. Well, compared to other trips. Several of these photos my Husband took.

It was so hot that it was borderline crazy. I can't wait to go back just never again at the height of summer.

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