Between Chicago and Seattle

Travel Forums North America Between Chicago and Seattle

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1. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5672 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Some questions:
- Has anybody travelled with Amtrak on the Chicago to Seattle part?
- Any recommendations on what to see and do in both chicago and seattle?
- Any recommendations on adding a stop in between? North Dakota (I heard it is the least visited state in the US, so it is probably quiet;)), Montana?
- Can I rent a car in most places if I want to stop along the route? Even in places like Fargo or small towns in Montana?

Thanks, Michael

2. Posted by KeetSeel (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I have travelled from Seattle to Glacier National Park on the train that goes on to Chicago and then back...Make a stop at Glacier a's beautiful! In Seattle, you'll want to tour Underground Seattle, Pike Place Market...If you have the time and the $$s to do wheels in Seattle and drive south on I-5 to Olympia, then west to Aberdeen, then take US101 north (Kalalock Lodge & Beach are well worth a stop, Hoh Rain Forest is wonderful, Olympic National Park is outstanding)...when you get to Port Angeles, take the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island B.C. (like being in Scotland), take the ferry on through the islands (like sailing through fjords -- eagles, killer whale pods, Friday Harbor, Orcas to Anacortes and then back to Seattle...with any luck the clouds will let you see Mt. Ranier...about an hour or so before sunset Ranier turns a wonderful reddish color and looks like a strawberry sundae...hope this helps

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey Michael - when and for how long are you planning to be in Chicago?? (Depending - we might be able to arrange a mini-meet-up if the timing is right...)

The following thread asked about Chicago in November, but take a look as it's a good start for things to do.

Also, check out Roadside America for some of the more funky things to see along your intended route. Pick a state you'll be passing through and see what they have. Here's what can be found in North Dakota.

I have driven from Chicago to Moscow, Idaho so I will be back to tell you some of the more interesting things to see between the two. (Must look at the diary we kept during the trip...)

Hopefully, you won't be showing up this weekend as we'll be in Calgary, Alberta for a wedding. I'll be back to catch up with this thread on Monday (30th). ;)

4. Posted by rootbelly (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

If you are gonna be in Chicago while the weather is still nice check out a free show at Millenium Park (the bean is cooler at night anyhow), the Pritzker Pavillion is a marvelous peice of architecture and the sound is amazing, they have an extensive schedule on the website The Art Institute Never fails, unless your into local art and a bit more adventerous, then check out the Reader (, and just go for what stikes you, there is so much of it. Live music at the Greenmill, great bars all over, the lakefront, etc., etc.


5. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Most of this is included in that other post Isa linked you to, but just to repeat myself My favorite thing to do in Chicago is The Art Institute. Some of my favorites pieces there are Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, there collection of Cezanne, and Grant Wood's American Gothic - which is a great bit of Americana The Museum of Science and Industry usually is pretty fun. Moving to food, you must be sure to get some Chicago style pizza. As well, there's an amazing gelato place called Canady's le Chocolatier - they even have canolli stuffed with gelato! They are located on Wabash between 8th and 9th Streets. And, if you like opera, the Lyric does really great work. Last on the Chicago note, I hear that Shedd Aquarium has been redone and is even better than before, so this might be a fun stop as well!
Car rental I'm not positive about. I'm assuming this would just be to drive around the area and return to the same place you started from. Really probably depends on the size of the town if they have a rental place or not. If there's a specific town your thinking about try or to see if they do.
Places I might think of stopping on the way would be St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN (really fun place and lots of stuff to do) and Whitefish, MT (this is kind of a summer hot spot with lots of lakes and such - some of the other stops around here might be good as well.)
Have fun planning your trip!

6. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5672 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the great replies! I have some research to do now.
Glacier National Park seems like a good place to break up the trainride, as I noticed it's 46 hours or so and I probably don't want to pay for a sleeper cabin or so, which triples the price.

Isa, I haven't planned things so far, but I was thinking about where I want to go next year. I already have some other ideas like the Amazone and the gorillas in rwanda, but want to to a shorter trip outside Europe as well, including a nice trainride which I like very much. And apart from Japan and Kazachstan which seemed ok, I still want to do an Amtrak ride as well.

But you will be the first to know if I have booked a ticket to Chicago, because that is the place I want to start, so a meet up will be perfect! Guess more members live in that area. Exactly how far is Chicago from where you and beerman live?

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

On car rentals, all but the smallest towns will usually have a car rental place. Certainly a city like Fargo would.

On Seattle, I spent two and a bit months there, but unfortunately was working long hours for most of it, so I didn't see as much as I would of liked, and certainly not as much outside the city as I would have wanted. The top tourist attractions are the Space Needle (big tower built for 1962 world's fair) and the Pike Place Market, a large public market, supposedly the oldest continously operating market in the USA.

When you go to the Space Needle, right beside it is The Music Experience Project, an interactive museum dedicated to all things musical, is beside the Space Needle.

If you are there in late spring, summer or early fall, Seattle would be a good place to catch a baseball game (though not as cool as Chicago's Wrigley Field). Safeco Field, where the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball play, is just south of downtown. If you are there in the fall, you could catch a Seattle Seahawks football game at Qwest field.

A couple famous pieces of public art in Seattle can be found in Fremont. There is a massive art installation of a giant under bridge troll and a statue of Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bloshevik and head of the communist USSR from 1917 until 1924. Seattle resident Lewis Carpenter bought the statue as part of a business venture to open an eastern European restaurant in Seattle. He died before his restaurant got going, and his family donated the statue to the Fremont business district to display until someone buys it. Asking price: $150,000.

Queen Anne is a good area to go to get some nice views of the city itself, plus it has a lot of trendy and upscale bars and restaurants in lower Queen Anne and in Belltown. Other good food can be found in "The International District" just south of Downtown.

Hope this helps.


8. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Just a thought - if you book the ticket as a multi-city ticket you could upgrade to a sleeper for just a section of the trip. It's still going to cost a decent chunk of change, but not nearly as much as getting a sleeper the whole way. Also, if you're going to stop at all this would better than booking individual tickets as you will pay less (though breaking up the trip does cost a little bit more.) Best of luck with your plans!

9. Posted by walkitwils (Budding Member 52 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


In Chicago walking around Sears tower area at night is wicked. Plenty of musicians and people jammin on the street (being a musician myself thats why I fell for Chicago). The Chicago to Denver to San Francisco Line is gorgeous espicially heading out of Denver and within 10 minutes you roll into some of Americas most beatiful nature and that doesnt stop til San Francsico.

Definetely worth taking an Amtrak at least once.


10. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

You mention Montana as a possible stop. I love Montana, the people are awesome and the scenery is beautiful