Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the California Zephyr
Meet your tour manager and fellow travelers in the Metropolitan Lounge of Chicago's Union Station by 1:00 pm, board the famous California Zephyr, and prepare for your 2:00 pm departure. Relax in your private Roomette accommodations or visit the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge as the train begins its travels west. Overnight train. (D)
Day 2 - En Route to California
When you awake this morning, look westward and thrill to the sight of the Colorado Rockies in the distance. After a hot breakfast, find a seat in the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge or relax in your private compartment with its large picture window. Today's scenery will be outstanding! Once the Zephyr departs Denver it begins its climb over the Front Range of the Rockies. About an hour later you'll encounter the famous 6.2-mile long Moffat Tunnel and go under the Continental Divide. Throughout the day the train will wind around sharp mountain curves and through numerous tunnels with streams winding through valleys far below. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Arrive in Emeryville
Awake this morning to a changing landscape. Leave the rugged terrain and pine trees behind as you begin to surround yourself with lush greenery and palm trees. The train is scheduled to arrive in Emeryville at 4:10 pm. Then it's on to the world-famous "City by the Bay," San Francisco. Check into your hotel with the evening at leisure. Overnight Handlery Hotel. (B, L)
Day 4 - San Francisco Sightseeing
The morning is free to ride a cable car or wander through the city's great shops and galleries. At 1:00 pm, we'll embark on a 3 ½-hour sightseeing tour of San Francisco including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Jackson Square, the Mission District, Telegraph Hill, the Presidio, and Fisherman's Wharf, where your sightseeing excursion ends. Discover the market, import houses, souvenir shops, and excellent restaurants on your own, perhaps electing to dine at one of these establishments tonight.
Plan on using the hotel lobby as your base during the day and early evening as well as a place to store your overnight bags prior to our evening departure for the Emeryville Amtrak Station. At 10:07 pm, we'll board the famous Coast Starlight for our journey north along the Pacific Coast. The heart of this famous train is the Pacific Parlour Car. Available only to sleeping car passengers, this double-decker "living room on rails" features three types of luxurious seating, a full bar, food serving area, and a movie theater.* Overnight train.
Day 5 - Coast Starlight into Oregon / Newport, OR
This morning have a full breakfast in the dining car or a continental breakfast in the Pacific Parlour Car. Set your own leisurely schedule today as you continue to enjoy all of the activities aboard this train. You won't want to miss the spectacular sights of the towering, snow-covered Cascade Mountains with 22 tunnels and innumerable hairpin turns that are outside your wide train window this morning. The train is scheduled to arrive in Eugene, OR at 12:44 pm today. From here we'll travel to the beautiful and rugged Oregon Coast.
Later this afternoon we'll arrive at Newport, OR, known as "the Dungeness Crab Capital of the World." Our hotel this evening sits atop bluffs overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. This evening you can visit the quaint downtown area and scenic Yaquina Bay. Overnight Hallmark Resort. (B, L)
Day 6 - Newport / Portland
This morning we'll be joined by a team of naturalist guides for a fun and exciting 2-hour cruise aboard the deluxe 65-foot Discovery. Keep an eye out for gray whales, harbor porpoise, seals, sea lions, pelicans, bald eagles, and an abundance of marine birds. Enjoy the incredible scenery of the bay, river, and coastline featuring the largest fishing fleet on the Oregon Coast, the historic bridge and two lighthouses.
Following our cruise we'll visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a world-class attraction nestled on beautiful Yaquina Bay. The Aquarium is a living classroom with 14 exhibits including Aquarium Gardens, Estuary Trail, Sea Bird Aviary and Giant Pacific Octopus. Experience the ethereal magic of jellyfish and magnificent colors of the many varieties of fish as well as the antics of sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions. Later this afternoon, we'll check into our hotel. Early this evening we'll board The Portland Spirit for a wonderful dinner cruise with live entertainment. Overnight Courtyard by Marriott City Center. (D)
Day 7 - Portland / Seattle
This morning we'll strike out on a tour of Portland, the "Rose City." Your three-hour guided excursion explores the best that Portland has to offer. Our resident experts unlock some of the best kept secrets of the Bridge City. Visit some of Portland's most scenic historic districts including Old Town Chinatown, once the second largest Chinese-American community on the West Coast and now home to the Classical Chinese Garden; Nob Hill, one of the city's most picturesque boutique shopping areas; and, the Pearl District, Portland's hip new area for arts and entertainment.
Following our sightseeing tour, we'll transfer to Portland's Union Station where we'll board Amtrak's Cascades for Seattle. The Cascades feature newly-refurbished European-designed Talgo trains. Enjoy the oversized windows and free WiFi. The European-style Bistro car offers fresh entrees, salads, sandwiches, and beverages including local microbrews and coffees for an on-your-own lunch. The train is scheduled to arrive in Seattle's King Street Station at 3:45 pm. Overnight Roosevelt Hotel.
Day 8 - Seattle Sightseeing
Set off late this morning for a three-hour sightseeing tour of the Seattle area. Highlights include Chinatown, concrete floating bridges, Lake Washington, the arboretum, the University of Washington, and sweeping views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. We will also visit the Space Needle, with incredible photo opportunities from the observation deck, and Pike Place Market. The tour ends at the Seattle's King Street station for a 4:40 pm departure on the Empire Builder. Board the train and relax in your private Roomette accommodations as the train begins the 2,200 mile journey to Chicago. Overnight train. (D)
Day 9 - En Route to Chicago
Enjoy a delicious dining car breakfast and then head for the Sightseer Lounge car. Around 8:00 am, a dramatic panorama of snow-covered Rocky Mountain peaks will begin to rise above the horizon, becoming increasingly dramatic as we approach Glacier National Park. The scenery is striking as we wind past waterfalls, river gorges, and other sights. The rest of the day we'll cross the remote flatlands of eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Arrive in Chicago
Enjoy breakfast and lunch aboard the train as the final leg of your journey comes to an end. The Empire Builder is scheduled to arrive in Chicago's Union Station late this afternoon, where your tour comes to an end. (B, L)
*The Pacific Parlour Car occasionally requires being pulled for maintenance without notice. Prices are land-only, per person. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking.