This Train Ride From NYC to New Orleans Is One of America's Most Underrated Routes

Amtrak’s Crescent Route allows you to go from eating a slice of pizza in Manhattan to enjoying jazz music and beignets in New Orleans — with plenty of exciting stops along the way.

Northbound Crescent crosses Lake Pontchartrain after leaving New Orleans
Photo: Courtesy of Amtrak

The popularity of "slow travel" continues to increase as the tourism industry rebounds and adjusts COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. Travelers want to immerse themselves in their experiences and take their time going from place to place — and a great way to do so is traveling by train.

Amtrak's Crescent Route runs daily between New York City and New Orleans, servicing 32 stations across the southeastern United States. While you can buy a ticket that will take you the entire length of the route (a 30-hour journey with plenty of amenities), travelers looking to get off and explore different destinations should purchase stop-specific tickets. Whether you're looking to go from Philadelphia to Atlanta, or Charlotte, North Carolina, to Wilmington, Delaware, the Crescent Route brings you from Point A to Point B with ease.

Here are some of the key stops along Amtrak's Crescent route, but you can view the full route here.

New York City - Moynihan Train Hall (NYP)

The journey begins (or ends, depending on the direction of service) in the heart of Manhattan. Take at least a day to see as much of New York City as you can. Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Line, and the Empire State Building should all be on first-time visitors' lists. Expect all of that walking to work up an appetite: Grab an NYC bagel for breakfast and a slice of pizza for lunch or dinner.

Washington, D.C. - Union Station (WAS)

As the train pulls into Union Station, you'll begin to feel the thrum of the country's political epicenter. While you could spend weeks exploring Washington, DC's cultural elements, a few hours walking around the National Mall means you'll get to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and many other significant sites. If you time it right, the cherry blossoms may be in bloom.

Charlottesville, VA - Charlottesville Union Station (CVS)

High Aerial Shot of Downtown Charlottesville, Virginia with Market Street Park
Hal Bergman/Getty Images

Virginia's bucolic hills come into view as you near Charlottesville, home to the prestigious University of Virginia, award-winning wine, and a range of culinary destinations that benefit from the city's farm-to-table culture. There's something for every traveler exploring Charlottesville — from meandering along the brick-paved Historic Downtown Mall to cheering on the 'Hoos at Scott Stadium to traversing the area's hiking paths and loops.

Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Peachtree Station (ATL)

Cityscape skyline modern view in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia
Getty Images

It would take months to experience everything in the bustling city of Atlanta, including its iconic green spaces, local cuisine, and top-tier museums. If you only have a few days, though, be sure to stretch your legs along the BeltLine, get tickets to the Georgia Aquarium, and sample the unlimited flavors at Ponce City Market.

New Orleans, LA - Union Passenger Terminal (NOL)

View of street in New Orleans
Benjamin Schützenhofer/EyeEm/Getty Images

The final stop on the Crescent Route is New Orleans, Louisiana, where jazz music, cajun and creole food, and amazing architecture come together to create a one-of-a-kind city. New Orleans may be known for Mardis Gras, but visitors can come any time of the year to partake in the celebratory nature of the Big Easy.

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