Experience Pride up and down the West Coast with Amtrak’s Coast Starlight

Photo courtesy Amtrak

Travelers are rediscovering their love of train travel this summer, leaving the hassle behind and instead opting for the convenience and ease of multi-stop itineraries that can whisk them away to the best Pride events of the summer.

Amtrak crisscrosses the country with over 500 destinations. During Pride Month, there’s no better way to experience three Pride celebrations in one epic trip than the Coast Starlight train, which travels from Los Angeles to Seattle, with plenty of scenic stops along the way.

E-ticketing, schedules, and boarding information are located via the Amtrak app and real-time agent access for when spontaneity kicks in. But even the carefree traveler can use some insider tips, especially with so many Pride events to experience.

Here’s a look at three Pride celebrations and destination recommendations for any time of year.

Los Angeles

LA Pride in the Park and LA Pride (June 11-12) deliver two days of celebration and revelry. Grammy winner Christina Aguilera headlines the music event in LA State Historic Park, while the parade the following day returns to Hollywood Blvd. with more than 120 participating groups.

Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles

West Hollywood is one of L.A.’s most popular neighborhoods. The recent opening of Heart WeHo, co-owned by Lance Bass and billed as the “biggest gay nightclub in the U.S.,” makes for a high-energy night out. For craft cocktails and a neighborhood vibe that will resuscitate your inner Heartstopper, the high school-themed Hi Tops offers outdoor space and trivia nights to kick up a conversation.

There’s plenty to explore on the culinary front. Head to Silver Lake for tapas at Bar Moruno, where you’ll find Spanish-inspired small bites and a gin-centric cocktail menu. Another Silver Lake find is out chef Lior Hillil’s Bacari, featuring Mediterranean fare and a bottomless brunch.

Several new hotels prove that L.A. remains stylish. Legendary designer Kelly Wearstler leaves her mark on the new L.A. Proper with bold patterns and textures. Closer to Pride action and the Design District, Kimpton La Peer provides post-celebration soaking tubs and yoga mats.

Tip: Los Angeles’s Union Station, built in 1939 and featuring Mission Moderne architecture, is one of the country’s most majestic train stations.

Los Angeles Union Station


The Columbia River serves as a backdrop for the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade (June 12-19). In 2021, a team of artists collaborated to paint “Never Look Away,” a 120-foot mural celebrating the lives of leaders Marsha P Johnson, Kathleen Saadat, Rupert Kinnard, Lynn Nakamoto, David Martinez, Angelica Ross, Asa Wright, and Aydien Dowling. The mural is located at 720 NW Davis Street.

Portland features plenty of neighborhood bars and clubs. Located downtown, Scandals has been a well-established watering hole since 1979 and offers outdoor seating during warmer months. Head north to the Florida Room, where the dog-friendly atmosphere attracts clientele for draft beer, pinball, and pool.

Reservations aren’t required for the food cart pods that gather plenty of bites in one location. Don’t be intimated by Hawthorne Asylum, named for the 19th-century psychiatric hospital. The location at 1080 SE Madison Street is home to more than 20 food carts ranging from barbecue to vegan. For a full-service option, restaurateur Akkapong Earl Ninsom’s latest venture, Phuket Cafe, brings a taste of Thailand to Portland with traditional recipes and a tropical-leaning cocktail menu.

View of Portland’s downtown skyline from the Willamette River.

Stay in the center at the new Moxy Portland Downtown. The Pearl District is steps away, where you’ll find plenty of local retailers and tax-free shopping. The neighborhood is also home to the Harlow Hotel, named after seafarer John Harlow dating back to 1882 and recently restored. 

Tip: Book a bedroom on board the Coast Starlight. Amenities include plenty of sleeping space, an ensuite bathroom, complimentary meals, and a dedicated Sleeping Car attendant.

Photo courtesy Amtrak


Riding northbound, the Coast Starlight’s final stop is the Emerald City. With Mount Rainer as a backdrop, Seattle’s Pride festivities culminate on June 26 with a parade down 4th Avenue, attracting more than 500,000. 

Allow a few extra days — and nights — to explore Seattle. Start the night with happy hour at Union in Capitol Hil, then catch a show at  Julia’s on Broadway, home to Le Faux Productions and some of the city’s most celebrated drag queens (including the launching pad for RuPaul’s Drag Race winner, Season 5, Jinkx Monsoon). 

Finally, for a nightcap, head to the welcoming Wildrose, one of the last remaining lesbian bars in the country. 

Seattle’s rainbow crosswalk in Capitol Hill.

Seattle isn’t short on coffeehouses to kick off a day of tooling around town. Italian for “coffee thief,” Caffe Ladro sources and roasts its beans in-house and is one of the locals’ top picks. For a casual lunch, gay-owned Marination Station offers Hawaiian-Korean fusion with riffs on kimchi fried rice and luau plates. And for a fiery finish, Lionhead in Capitol Hill sizzles with a Sichuan-inspired menu and local beers by Seapine Brewing Company. 

Consider the Philippe Starck-designed Lotte Hotel, located within Downtown’s soaring 44-floor F5 Tower, for a splurge-worthy finale. A forestry theme runs through the design, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer expansive views of Elliott Bay. If you march to a different tune, Hotel Max celebrates art and music with original works throughout the property and in-room turntables and vinyl records to spin to your heart’s content.

Tip: Don’t wait to celebrate! Save up to 20% by booking train travel in advance, and ensure that your route and preferred accommodations are available. 

RELATED – Amtrak Acela: your ticket to a stylish East Coast Pride getaway

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