Amtrak has daily service to the Pacific Northwest from the Midwest and California. The Coast Starlight begins in Los Angeles; makes stops throughout California, western Oregon, and Washington; and terminates in Seattle. There are stops in both Portland and Eugene; the 2½-hour trip between Portland and Eugene costs $27–$50.
Amtrak's Cascades begins in Vancouver, British Columbia; makes stops in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Salem; and terminates in 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 I–5. The Empire Builder begins in Chicago; makes stops in Milwaukee, WI; St. Paul, MN; Spokane, WA; and other cities before arriving in Portland. The journey from Spokane to Portland is 7 hours ($70–$85), with part of the route running through the Columbia River Gorge.
Book Amtrak tickets at least a few days in advance, especially if you're traveling between Seattle and Portland on the weekend.
Amtrak. 800/872–7245; www.amtrak.com.