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Empire Builder Experience - Chicago to Seattle

4.6 stars(9 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.

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5 days From $945 per person
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2022 Tour code: TU-EBEW-22

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 day full of exploration at will. See Navy Pier, 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 with an independent arrival into Chicago. Check-in to your downtown hotel and spend the day exploring all Chicago has to offer. From Navy Pier and the spectacular lakefront to Magnificent Mile shopping, world-class parks and museums, you will wish you had a few more days. Overnight 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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4.6 stars4.6 / 5 · 9 reviews

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

Melinda C., Greenbrier, AR

5 stars

Submitted 28 Sep 2021

We had no idea what to expect and we're happily surprised at the ease and enjoyment of our trip. I haven't had a vacation that relaxing in a long time.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Leslie A, Myerstown, PA

4 stars

Submitted 19 Dec 2018

We loved being able to sit back, relax and watch the world go by. My husband and I were both able to enjoy the scenery. The Swift Current Boat trip wasn't so exciting but probably worth taking.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Susan D, Beaufort, SC

4 stars

Submitted 17 Dec 2018

We were pleasantly surprised at the whole train experience with Empire Builder. The bedroom was more than spacious during the day, though a bit tight at night (but cozy). We found the food far exceeded our expectations and the staff very friendly and entertaining. Our room in the Palmer House in Chicago was marginal, but the room at the Westin in Seattle was quite 'over the top' with a prime view of the city. All in all we found the Amtrak experience wonderful, in comparison to our many travels by train in Europe.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Gayle G, Bel Air, MD

5 stars

Submitted 07 Dec 2018

Our trip on the Empire Builder was a 60th birthday present for my train loving husband and we had a great time. met many interesting people in the Observation Car as we traveled along the rails. The hotel selections were especially excellent, and even with our early morning arrivals at both hotels, we were readily accommodated with a very nice room immediately upon arrival. Thank you! We will definitely travel with you again!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Robert K., Atlanta, GA

5 stars

Submitted 26 Apr 2018

The roomette was very good, the staff on the train was excellent, the food exceeded all expectations and the scenery was amazing! We met many great people along the way and the trains ran on time!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Thomas S, Alden, NY

4 stars

Submitted 06 Feb 2018

We enjoyed the experience of traveling by train. It was the first time we had traveled for more than a few hours this way.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Show all 9 reviews
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