Call to book1-877-929-7245
Tour Search

Empire Builder Experience - Chicago to Seattle

4.3 stars(15 reviews)

Marvel at the lush mountain, forest, plain and coastal scenery of the northern United States from the comfortable cars of the iconic Empire Builder.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
5 days From $648 per person
Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2023 Tour code: TU-EBEW-23

About the tour

If it is the experience of a lifetime you seek, look no further than a scenic tour through the country aboard the legendary tracks of the Empire Builder. Totaling over 2,200 miles in length, this journey shows us glimpses of seven of the northern-most states and the beautiful Pacific Coast. The expedition begins in the heart of the Midwest - Chicago - with a tour of the city on the Chicago River. Next, opt to explore the Navy Pier, check out a museum, or walk along the Magnificent Mile for top-notch shopping. The next morning, board the Empire Builder at Chicago's Union Station and enjoy the train's vast amenities as the journey commences. From the Mississippi River to the Bear Paw Mountains and Glacier National Park, the scenery is unbeatable; take it all in from the train's glass-enclosed Sightseer Lounge. We arrive in Seattle after two days of train travel and enjoy a full day of independent sightseeing through the city's most famous sites. After an overnight in the heart of Downtown Seattle, your tour comes to a close.

This vacation is available from Seattle to Chicago, based on your travel preference.


What’s included


Day 1 - Chicago

Begin the Empire Builder experience on the Chicago River with an iconic sightseeing tour of Chicago's architecture and history by boat. Spend the rest of your day exploring all Chicago has to offer. From Navy Pier, Millenium Park and the spectacular lakefront, to the Magnificent Mile shopping, world-class parks and museums, you will wish you had a few more days. Overnight Chicago.

*Speak to a Rail Specialist if you would like to add additional nights or sightseeing activities in Chicago.

Day 2 - Empire Builder to Seattle

Arrive at Union Station for your mid-day departure on Amtrak's Empire Builder. For those passengers with sleeping accommodations, check into Amtrak's first-class Metropolitan Lounge for complimentary beverages and snacks, or take a walk through historic Union Station. Once onboard the legendary Empire Builder, settle into your seat and prepare yourself for the 2300 mile journey through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. Enjoy a full-course dinner in the dining car this evening. All meals onboard the train included with your sleeping accommodation. Relax as the train makes its way through the Wisconsin Dells and St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota tonight. Overnight train.

Day 3 - En Route

As you awake this morning, the train makes its way through the grasslands of the "Northern Prairie State" of North Dakota. Wildlife is in abundance in this area, so be sure to have your camera ready! It is not uncommon to spot bison, elk, prairie dogs, foxes, muskrats, white-tailed deer and bald eagles in this region. Delicious meals are available in the Dining Car, or lighter fare is available in the Sightseer Lounge car. As the train continues on through the day, the landscape gives way to rolling hills, canyons, gorges, and rugged mountain terrain. Relax in the Sightseer Lounge this evening. The floor to ceiling glass windows will ensure that you won't miss any of the spectacular scenery as the train rolls through Glacier National Park. Overnight train.

Day 4 - Seattle

The train is scheduled for a mid-morning arrival in Seattle, Washington. Transfer independently from the rail station to your downtown hotel. Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and Pioneer Square are steps from your doorway. Explore the thriving music and theater scene, vibrant galleries, and one-of-a-kind museums or relax with some of the best coffee in the country at one of the hundreds of cafés' and coffee shops! Overnight Seattle.

Day 5 - Conclusion

Today ends your Empire Builder Experience. Independent transfer to the airport or rail station.

Additional information

Hotel Accommodations

Hotels are centrally located, 3.5 to 4-star properties, selected based on quality and availability.

Pricing Plans

Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette and Bedroom. 

Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest and access to the Sightseer Lounge car.

Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night.

Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower.

Upgrades to Roomette and Bedroom sleeping accommodations include all meals aboard the train.

Please note

Please be aware Amtrak may experience occasional schedule changes and service disruptions.  Vacations By Rail recommends visiting the Amtrak web site prior to your departure for the latest information.

Arrival and Departure times are subject to change without notice. Please be advised that passengers traveling on Empire Builder Trains may encounter delays of approximately three to six hours due to heavy congestion, speed restrictions and other operating conditions.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Amtrak's Empire Builder

Enhance your holiday


Elevate Your Adventure
Rail Your Way


4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 15 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

Gerard Van de Vyver

2 stars

Submitted 11/Mar

Unfriendly employees Cold food in dining car Limited menu Spotty internet if any No temperature control in sleeping car. Absolutely Filthy air vents! Dirty windows in sleeping car Filthy mirror in room. Colby our Room Steward was new and nice. The ONLY one who smiled. Alan in Dining Car very rude. When we asked for oatmeal and French Toast, he rudely said “One or the other, Lady. We’re not a restaurant.” Then she said “Just the oatmeal then. I don’t need the rest of the stuff.” He replied “That’s what it comes with.” I said “That’s a waste of food.” They finally brought just the oatmeal.

Collected by Trustpilot

Donna Sewall

4 stars

Submitted 14 Nov 2022

I would have preferred anyone of the other rooms because A, which I had, was the worst configured of them all.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 10 Nov 2022

staff was very good and attentive to our needs

Collected by Trustpilot

Donna Sewall

4 stars

Submitted 30 Oct 2022

Car could have been better.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 09 Oct 2022

It’s was a lot of fun!

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 07 Oct 2022

The staff was wonderful, especially Lori & Nick, in dinning room....Erika in the sleepercars! Food was good too. Definitely enjoyed the trip! The large windows, could use a major cleaning, also there was a bad smell every once in a while.

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews
Global Rail Adventures Brochure

Global Rail Adventures Brochure

The definitive guide to our 2023 Global Rail Adventures

Download brochure
Related inspiration from our journey blog