Amtrak has daily service to Union Station. The Empire Builder takes a northern route through Minnesota and Montana from Chicago to Spokane, from where separate legs continue to Seattle and Portland. The Coast Starlight begins in Los Angeles; makes stops throughout California, western Oregon (including Portland), and Washington; and terminates in Seattle.
Amtrak's Cascades trains travel between Seattle and Vancouver and between Seattle, Portland, and Eugene. The trip from Seattle to Portland takes roughly 3½ hours and costs $34–$44 for a coach seat; this is a pleasant alternative to the rather dull drive along Interstate 5. The Empire Builder travels between Portland and Spokane (seven hours, $70–$85), with part of the route running through the scenic Columbia River gorge. From Portland to Eugene, it's a three-hour trip; the cost is $20–$30.
Book Amtrak tickets at least a few days in advance, especially if you're traveling between Seattle and Portland on the weekend.
Amtrak. 800 N.W. 6th Ave., Old Town/Chinatown, Portland, Oregon, 97209. 800/872–7245; www.amtrak.com.