The desire to get the hell out of L.A. for the weekend is a familiar one, but a new appreciation for the delights of the City of Angels can be found by heading into town, instead of hightailing it out. Riding Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner into Union Station from points south on a Friday night forces you to remember that you live in an exciting urban center, as you share close quarters with a motley crew of exurbanite dreamers making their way to The Big City. The anticipation is palpable as plans are hatched against the clickety-clack soundtrack. The gentle rocking of the train and the tiny bottles of wine conspire to make you feel like the star of a 1940s movie as you sway your way back to the bar car, past a steady stream of young men on leave from Camp Pendleton. They sport rosy-apple cheeks and high-and-tight haircuts, their eyes hungry for the weekend of earthly delights that awaits them once they are spilled out into the station's deco splendor. Show your gratitude as you please. (800) USA-RAIL,

—Devin Flanigan

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