USA: Amazing Train Trip from Chicago to Seattle
There is so much to see in America, and on this cross-country adventure, you will get to see the joys of the country from many different cities, as well as pass through eight states. On the train, you will go past prairies, lakes, and mountains that are picture-perfect. Each stop offers something different to enjoy for every traveler. Enjoy the following USA itinerary and start dreaming of your next trip.
Price Range: $$$$
Recommended Days: 14 Days
Riding Hours: Approx. 45 hr
Distance: 2,130 miles
Chicago, Illinois: The Windy City
Chicago, the capital city of Illinois offers something for everyone with wonderful theater productions, museums, and the world-famous deep-dish Chicago pizza. There are plenty of monuments to visit and unique art to see. You can catch a baseball game at the stadium or in one of the sports bars. Or if you time your trip right you can enjoy one of the many music festivals that the city hosts.
As Chicago is known for its comedy, it would be a shame to miss out on hitting up a comedy club. Head to The Second City, iO Theater, Zanies & The Comedy Bar, or ComedySportz for a laugh. Many legends started on the Chicago comedy stages, like Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Mike Myers, so who knows. Maybe you will catch the next legend! You can also head out on the lakefront path either by bike, running, or walking along Lake Michigan and stop by parks and beaches along the way.
Make your way up the Riverwalk too for some other views of the city. Make a visit to the Chicago Institute of Art, Field Museum, Millennium Park for the iconic Bean. Hop on a mini architectural river cruise making its way through the big skyscrapers. Head to Navy Pier for entertainment, down the Magnificent Mile for some shopping, or watch a Cubs game at the notorious Wrigley Field.
If you’re looking for some entertainment while having some drinks? Head to Headquarters Beercade or Emporium Arcade Bar for old school pinball machines and arcade games to keep you and your friends amused for quite a while.
Chicago Union Station → Wisconsin Dells Amtrak Station | Duration: 3:34h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train
Hop on the Empire Builder Train from Chicago to Seattle and hop off in Wisconsin Dells. There are 2 direct trains daily that start at 2:15 pm. Book Here
Wisconsin Dells: Waterpark Capital
Probably one of the top tourist destinations to visit due to being considered the ‘Waterpark Capital of the World’ with over 20 water parks. There is plenty more to enjoy from golf courses, boat tours, and walking trails around the nearby Mirror Lake State Park. Wisconsin Dells has a bunch of waterparks with many being open year-round. There are outdoor and indoor parks but you will have more options for activities in the summer and fall.
There’s a great little downtown to meander through before you head off to the lanes to bowl, go ax-throwing, get your jump on at the trampoline park, or attend a lumberjack show. There are boat and jet ski rentals in the Dells, as well as Duck Boat rides, and sunset dinner cruises. There are also opportunities to visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Noah’s Ark Water Park is the largest waterpark in Wisconsin Dells with a whopping size of 70 acres (28 hectares). You can enjoy the endless lazy rivers, children’s water play areas, wave pools, and a variety of slides. Mount Olympus is another great waterpark to visit with a variety of water attractions and land attractions. But if those don’t tickle your fancy there is an abundance of other great waterparks in the Dells.
Wisconsin Dells Amtrak Station → Minneapolis Union Depot | Duration: 4:14 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train
Again take the Empire Builder Train from Chicago to Seattle and stop in St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota Union Depot. There are 2 direct trains daily that start at 5:49 pm. Book Here
Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Twin Cities
Often confused as the state’s capital, Minneapolis is twinned with the capital city of St. Paul and is collectively known as the Twin Cities. Two cities separated by the Mississippi River are almost identical in size and population but share different characteristics. In Minneapolis, you can enjoy the diverse nightlife, beautiful sculptures, and stellar concerts. And St. Paul is known for its deep history, wonderful theater performances, and the massive Minnesota State Fair.
It’s often that the two cities are often spoken about together due to their close proximity to one another and with access to light rail, it only makes traveling one city center to the next even easier!
Being one of the largest malls in the country, the Mall of America draws in over 40 million visitors per year. It houses an aquarium, two hotels, 4D attractions, an arcade, over 500 shops, and a theme park smack dab in the middle of it. Head there on a rainy day, or to escape some frigid temps. Whilst in Minneapolis, make a visit to the Walker Art Center, walk across the Stone Arch Bridge. Catch a Vikings game at the US Bank Stadium, or attend a concert at First Ave (notoriously known as where Prince first started).
There are a handful of ‘must-eats’ in Minnesota but the number one you can’t leave without trying is the famous Juicy Lucy / Jucy Lucy. A burger with cheese in the middle of the meat creates molten lava of cheese when you bite into it. There are two restaurants that claim to have invented this, Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club who have legal rights on the names and spellings of this all-American burger. Either order from them or visit the Blue Door for their rendition on this Minnesota staple.
Minneapolis Union Depot → Glacier National Park | Duration: 21:20 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train
There are 2 daily night trains from Minneapolis to the Glacier Park. The journey starts at St. Paul-Minneapolis Union Depot at 10:20 pm and arrives on the next day at East Glacier Park at 6:40 pm. Book Here
East Glacier Park, Montana: National Park Wonder
Next up on this USA itinerary is East Glacier, a great place to visit within the Glacier National Park with its hiking trails that allow views of the protected glaciers. Wildlife like the bighorn sheep and plenty of activities to keep you busy. You can enjoy boat tours of the park.
With over 820 miles of trails within the Glacier National Park, there are plenty of trails to choose from for your hike. You can enjoy walking through the trees, getting the chance to find waterfalls, walk along the lakeside, and maybe even have the chance to see some of the local wildlife.
Not many can say that they have golfed in a national park, but at East Glacier Park you can. The Glacier Park Lodge Golf Course is the oldest golf course in Montana and you can enjoy the course with mountain views. If you want to see the park from a different perspective, enjoy a true western adventure with a horseback riding experience.
East Glacier Park → Spokane Amtrak Station | Duration: 7:55 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train
There are 2 daily trains from East Glacier Park to Spokane. The Empire Builder Train starts at 6:45 pm and arrives on the next day at 1:40 am. The price for a coach starts from $46 and $283 for a room. Book Here
Spokane, Washington: Outdoor Paradise
Spokane is a vibrant city that has a variety of activities to be enjoyed, from outdoor to arts and more. You will have the chance to explore colorful parks. Head out on walking or biking trails, enjoy a night at the theater or even have a delicious wine tasting. There is something for everyone in Spokane.
Riverfront Park is considered to be an iconic landmark in the city, occupying 100 acres of land and water to enjoy. You may also even get the chance to enjoy one of the many community events that are held in the park throughout the year. The Centennial Trail is 37 miles long and heads along the border of Washington and Idaho.
Heading along the Spokane River, you will have the chance to enjoy rural and urban sights along the way. The Arbor Crest Winery is home to a selection of wines to be tasted and plenty of concerts to see throughout the summer.
Spokane Amtrak Station → Seattle King Street Station | Duration: 8:10 h | Transfers: 0 | Transport: Train
Seattle is the last stop of this journey and of the Empire Builder Train. There is one daily train from Spokane to Seattle that starts early in the morning at 2:15 am. Instead of a train you can take a bus that starts at 8:50am. The train cost $58 for a seat. Book Here
Seattle, Washington: Modern Beauty
Known for its rainfall and coffee, Seattle is a modern city that has plenty to see and do. Enjoy a bit of the local flavor by heading down to the docks for the fresh catch of the day. Explore Seattle’s weird and wild side with its galleries, museums, and murals.
Pike Place Market is a must-visit due to it being one of the USA’s longest-running farmer’s markets. Set on Pike Street, you will have the chance to find delicious local produce, as well as instruments, kitchenware, and artisanal finds in this eclectic market. The Museum of Pop Culture is perfect for those interested in music, film, TV, and video games. Each time you visit it will never be the same due to the constantly changing exhibitions.
Head out to Elliott Bay on a boat cruise where you can see the beauty of Seattle from a different perspective. Seen from every part of the city is the Space Needle, probably the most famous landmark in the city. With a flying-saucer-shaped observation deck, you will have panoramic views all around you.
Wander around Capitol Hill where you will find plenty of craft breweries, independent coffee shops, indie stores, and the acclaimed Starbucks Roastery. People love to stand for outrageous amounts of time outside of the original Starbucks to say they’ve been, but we suggest visiting the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Here the baristas are making all sorts of drinks not made in your average Starbucks, and there is also a full bar and a high-end French bakery.
*Disclaimer: Due to the fluidity of transportation schedules, the information seen on RailwayHero may not be up to date at the time of readíng. Always double-check with the operator for the latest information.