Credit: Katie Oswald
Credit: Katie Oswald

5 Socal Summer Destinations You Can Reach by Train

Where to Stay, Dine and Play in These SoCal Cities After Hopping on the Metrolink

It’s not necessary to pack the car for a long road trip or book expensive airplane tickets to enjoy the SoCal sights this summer—a day trip, weekend adventure or vacay is only a train ride away! Located in most major cities across Southern California, Metrolink is offering new summer deals: a $15 summer day pass and a $10 weekend pass. Choosing to take Metrolink is not only eco-friendly, but it also means you and your crew can steer clear of the notorious LA traffic, steep parking fees and increasing gas prices. Pack up your bag and hop on board Metrolink this summer to visit these five destinations that’ll please every type of traveler.

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For the Foodies

Santa Ana 

Metrolink Orange County Line

Best Socal Summer Destinations by Train
Credit: Metrolink

If LA’s not quite your scene, you might want to head over to Santa Ana, OC’s foodie heaven. Jump on the Orange County Line and get off at the Santa Ana Metrolink Station in the heart of the city.


Do: McFadden Public Market

Only a 15-minute walk from the station, McFadden Public Market has it all: booze, bites and board games. The McFadden Public Market is well known for its vintage-chic ambiance and adult arcades, making it the perfect first stop for a weekend away.


Dine: Tacompadre

Credit: Anthony Mongiello

Located inside McFadden Public Market is family-owned and -operated Tacompadre—a Mexican restaurant inspired by the flavors of Mexico City. This Santa Ana favorite is notorious for its off-the-charts al pastor and housemade tortilla chips. The interior is bursting with neon colors, and its menu items, such as fried brisket fries and queso taco de pollo, make everyone drool 


Stay: The Richland Hotel

New to the Orange County neighborhood, The Richland Hotel is a reimagined boutique hotel in the heart of the historic Orange Plaza. It’s cute, it’s cozy, and it’s centrally-located to nearby Orange and Santa Ana attractions (and approximately a 10 minute drive from the Santa Ana Metrolink station). With only 12 guest rooms, you’ll feel right at home in this quaint neighborhood gem.



For the Trendy Couple


Take any Metrolink train to LA Union Station

Best Socal Summer Destinations by Train
Credit: Metrolink

Downtown LA is the mecca of historical landmarks, iconic dining scenes and cultural districts in SoCal. From the symbolic Pagoda-style buildings of Chinatown to the charming streets of Little Tokyo, a visit to DTLA this summer will leave no room for boredom. 



Stay: DTLA Proper

Credit: The Ingalls

Take a 10-minute rideshare to your home for the night—the Downtown LA Proper Hotel. With interiors designed by Kelly Wearstler, DTLA’s Proper Hotel’s eclectic setting will feed your creativity and fill you with inspiration. 


Dine: Flor Y Solera Spanish Tapas Bar 

Credit: Wonho Frank Lee

After settling in, head over to the Arts District for one of its best-kept secrets—Flor Y Solera Spanish Tapas Bar. Recently opened and already overflowing with high ratings, Flor Y Solera  celebrates Spanish cuisine with a modern twist. Mouthwatering menu items include fried swordfish and Spanish marinated mussels, so don’t be afraid to try something new! 



Do: LA Pride Festival

LA Pride Festival is coming in hot this summer with performances by Megan Thee Stallion and Mariah Carey at the Los Angeles Historic State Park on June 9 and 10. Get ready for a party scene like no other—but be sure to get your tickets in advance. 


For the Family  

San Juan Capistrano

Metrolink Orange County Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line

Best Socal Summer Destinations by Train
Credit: TJ Martin / Metrolink

San Juan Capistrano has been a stomping ground for wanderers and travelers alike for over 200 years. Ditch the car and hop on Metrolink’s Orange County Line or IEOC Lines to downtown San Juan Capistrano, where your hotel is only a five-minute walk away from the station.


Stay: The Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano

Credit: Inn at the Mission

Surrounded by rolling emerald hills and a historic downtown, San Juan Capistrano is the quintessential weekend trip, and The Inn at the Mission is the ideal place to stay. With a pronounced Spanish design and a luxury spa overlooking the Mission San Juan Capistrano, this hotel is perfect for those in search of cozy, hacienda-inspired accommodations. 

Local Insight: The Inn at the Mission offers Metrolink riders 10% off food and beverage and spa services as well as a shuttle service that picks you up from the station. Just show your ticket when checking in!


Dine: Heritage Barbecue

Credit: John Troxell

Less than an eight-minute walk from your hotel is Heritage Barbecue—some of the best authentic Texas BBQ in SoCal. With meats that melt in your mouth, ice-cold beer and family-style picnic tables, this casual lunch or dinner spot is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy one of the best meals in town.


Do: The Ecology Center

After lunch, head over to The Ecology Center for a full farm-life experience. The Ecology Center offers free admission to explore the grounds and boasts informative farming demonstrations along with an organic farm store. While the whole family would enjoy stopping by The Ecology Center, we also recommend cruising down to Capistrano Beach. With its aquamarine coastline and easy waves for bodysurfers, Capistrano Beach is the low-key escape every member of your family has been craving.  


For the BFFs


Metrolink Antelope Valley and Ventura County Lines

Experience the charm of Glendale this summer with a delightful Metrolink journey. Relax and enjoy the scenic route as you arrive to this vibrant city north of Los Angeles. Grab your bestie and add this place to your summer bucket list.


Dine: King’s Kitchen + Glendale Tap

Before checking into your hotel, visit King’s Kitchen for some of the best kabobs in LA. From sizzling kabob wraps to burgers and crispy chicken sandwiches, King’s Kitchen is a casual, lively spot for good eats. And if you’re feeling like hitting a buzz, walk across the street to Glendale Tap for a selection of more than 50 craft beers (our hoppy place). This old-school ale house is the perfect place for afternoon drinks and a game of pool.


Stay: The Glenmark, Glendale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The Glenmark stands as a beacon of comfort and convenience in the heart of Glendale. Boasting modern amenities and stylishly designed rooms, this hotel offers a delightful retreat for both business and leisure travelers. Dine at the on-site restaurant Olia, enjoy views of the city and experience the local art scene from your sophisticated, artfully curated room. 


Do: Museum of Neon Art

Credit: MONA

The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale is a captivating homage to the artistry and nostalgia of, you guessed it, neon signs. This unique museum showcases a vibrant collection of restored and illuminated vintage signs, preserving the visual heritage of the region. Visitors are transported back in time as they explore the colorful displays, which offer a glimpse into the golden age. The Neon Museum in Glendale is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an immersive and enchanting experience!


For the Solo Traveler 


Metrolink San Bernardino Line 

Best Socal Summer Destinations by Train
Credit: Metrolink

Sometimes, you just have to get away, and just outside of LA lies one of SoCal’s hidden gems—Claremont. Many equate Claremont with quiet suburbs, but it is much more comprehensive than that. Resting at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, jump off to your next destination at the historic Claremont Train Station. This suburban city is home to several colleges, and every Friday from 6-9 p.m. from May to October, there is a free music event in Claremont Village!


Stay: Hotel Casa 425

Credit: Four Sisters Inns

Only a five-minute walk from the station, drop off your luggage at Hotel Casa 425, where relaxation and delicious cuisine are on your agenda. Nestled in the heart of the historic Claremont Village, Hotel Casa 425 caters to every traveler. Whether a bike ride downtown is up your alley or you’d prefer to sit under a canopy with a cocktail in hand, Hotel Casa 425 will suit your style.



Dine: Aruffo’s Italian Cuisine

For dinner, take a stroll over to Aruffo’s Italian Cuisine. With their classic red and white Italian storefront, you can easily spot this neighborhood gem, which has been a staple since 1985. Equipped with a chef’s garden out back, fresh ingredients come first at Aruffo’s.


Do: Claremont Packing House

Credit: Claremont Packing House

If you feel like walking off your dinner, head over to the Claremont Packing House for a stroll (and crepes, cocktails and art galleries). Discover the captivating allure of Claremont Village through this cherished landmark and the largest historic building in the area. From art classes and shopping to food and drinks, this is a must-visit destination.

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Noelle Dahl graduated from Sonoma State University in 2020 with a BA in English. Currently living in Huntington Beach, Noelle spends her days throwing pottery, combing the beach for seashells or planning her next adventure.


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