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Empire Builder Experience - Chicago to Seattle

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
5 days From $694 per person
4.2 stars(21 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.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2024 Tour code: TU-EBEW-24

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 or during the winter, the Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food & Walking Tour during this winter. 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.


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4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 21 reviews

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


4 stars

Submitted 26/Apr

Great staff members. Went above and beyond to help us. Great views of the mountains.

Collected by Trustpilot

JEANINE Philadelphia

5 stars

Submitted 20 Oct 2023

It was a fun experience. You get to meet a lot of nice people from all over the country/world. The train staff were friendly and helpful. I would suggest the longer version of this trip where you get a chance to get off and spend the night in some of the stops. That's my only regret!

Collected by Trustpilot

Lynn Hansen

2 stars

Submitted 08 Aug 2023

When we arrived, we were notified that we had been downgraded from a sleeper to coach and that all sleepers were occupied. Several phone calls later it was resolved but caused much distress and anxiety. The windows were filthy, which wasn't conducive for a scenic journey.

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3 stars

Submitted 13 Jul 2023

Great staff. Poor bedding. Worn equipment.

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 05 Jul 2023

Great idea overall. However I was wondering if you could offer your customers at least stopping and spending the night is some of the amazing towns along the way?

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5 stars

Submitted 30 May 2023

Personnel were great compared to train from Austin to Chicago. Very professional and helpful when needed. Train rooms and bathrooms were clean

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