How To

How to Travel from Chicago to Milwaukee

Traveling from Chicago, Illinois to Milwaukee, Wisconsin is relatively convenient due to the short distance of 93 miles between the two cities. There are several transportation options available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Flying from Chicago to Milwaukee is an option, but it may not be the most time-efficient choice when you consider the additional time needed for airport transfers and waiting for the flight. Moreover, flights tend to be more expensive compared to other modes of transportation.

Taking a bus is another possibility, but the travel time of approximately two hours can vary depending on traffic conditions. Additionally, the comfort level may not be on par with traveling by car or train.

Renting a car for the trip is an alternative, but it’s important to factor in the extra costs such as gas, tolls, and potential traffic congestion. It’s worth noting that driving can be a bit stressful, especially in busy areas.

The Amtrak train is often considered an optimal option for traveling from Chicago to Milwaukee. The train ride takes around 90 minutes and offers a smooth, quiet, and clean experience. This mode of transportation allows you to relax and enjoy the journey without the hassles of driving.

Once in Milwaukee, if you don’t have a car, you can rely on the city’s public transportation system to get around. It is a convenient and reliable resource for exploring the city and reaching various destinations.

In summary, while there are multiple ways to travel from Chicago to Milwaukee, the Amtrak train is often favored for its efficiency and comfort. However, considering your preferences and circumstances, you can choose the mode of transportation that best suits your needs.

How to Get from Chicago to Milwaukee 

  •      Train: 1 hour, 29 minutes, from $27 (fastest)
  •      Flight: 59 minutes, from $200 (most expensive)
  •      Bus: 2 hours, 20 minutes, from $11
  •      Car: 1 hour, 29 minutes, 93 miles

By Train

Choosing Amtrak as your mode of transportation is an excellent option for traveling from Chicago to Milwaukee, particularly due to the convenience it offers between these two major cities. Amtrak trains operate regularly, with departures typically available every two to four hours. Ticket prices range between $27 and $40, depending on factors such as the specific route, operator, and distance covered. The journey takes you from Chicago Union Station to Milwaukee Intermodal Station.

To enhance your travel experience, you can make use of the free Amtrak mobile app, which allows you to track your train, purchase and store tickets, and receive helpful travel advice directly on your smart device. Alternatively, you can buy tickets online or in person at Union Station.

One of the significant advantages of traveling by train is its speed, affordability, comfort, and directness. By opting for the train, you eliminate concerns about traffic congestion or having to drive in unfavorable weather conditions. Additionally, if you’re traveling with companions, you can enjoy socializing and spending quality time together instead of focusing on the rules of the road.

In summary, Amtrak provides a quick, cost-effective, comfortable, and straightforward means of transportation from Chicago to Milwaukee. Its reliability and amenities make it an attractive choice for travelers seeking a hassle-free journey between these two vibrant cities.

By Bus

Opting for bus travel is a cost-effective choice for your journey from Chicago to Milwaukee, although it is important to note that it typically takes longer compared to other transportation options due to potential traffic and weather conditions. Travel times can vary between one hour and 45 minutes to two hours and 40 minutes.

The Greyhound bus station in Chicago is located at the Chicago Amtrak Bus Station, situated within Chicago Union Station at 225 S. Canal Street. Another option is to consider taking a Megabus, which offers up to four services per day. Megabus tickets cost $24.99, and the travel time is typically around two hours.

One of the advantages of bus travel is the availability of multiple departure times, including overnight options. Bus fares are generally affordable, making it a budget-friendly option. Onboard amenities often include complimentary Wi-Fi access, allowing you to stay connected during your journey. Additionally, power outlets are available, enabling you to charge your devices and stay powered up.

In summary, traveling by bus offers affordability and flexibility, with various departure times to choose from. While it may take longer than other modes of transportation, the amenities such as free Wi-Fi and power outlets can enhance your travel experience. Consider these factors when deciding which mode of transportation best fits your needs for the Chicago to Milwaukee journey.

By Car

Traveling by car is considered one of the most convenient and cost-effective options for getting from Chicago to Milwaukee. Following traffic rules, being mindful of traffic conditions, and practicing road etiquette are essential for a smooth journey. The route involves taking I-90/I-94 west, which provides a straightforward path along the shores of Lake Michigan. Along the way, you will pass through Illinois towns such as Des Plaines, Riverwoods, and Gurnee before crossing the state lines. Once in Wisconsin, you’ll travel through Kenosha and Racine before reaching Milwaukee.

When budgeting for your car trip, you can expect to spend around $9 to $14 on gas. Additionally, there will be tolls to consider, ranging from $2.35 to $4.70 depending on payment method (cash or transponder). Finding parking in Milwaukee is generally manageable, particularly if you’re visiting a venue or hotel.

There are several advantages to traveling by car. You have the freedom to set your own pace, carry as much luggage and gear as needed, and upon reaching Milwaukee, you’ll have your own vehicle for local transportation. This is particularly beneficial when traveling with children. Moreover, the overall cost of travel can be lower compared to other modes of transportation, especially when sharing the expenses among multiple passengers.

By Plane

If you prefer to travel by plane, there are options available from Chicago to Milwaukee departing from both O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway Airport (MDW). United Airlines and American Airlines operate flights between these cities throughout the day, providing flexibility in terms of scheduling. The flight duration is approximately one hour, but pricing may vary.

However, it’s important to consider some drawbacks when choosing air travel. Firstly, it is typically the most expensive mode of transportation. Additionally, flying can be time-consuming due to various factors. You need to account for the time required to travel to the airport, whether by public transportation or ride-share services. O’Hare International Airport is located 18 miles from Chicago’s Loop, while Midway Airport is 11 miles away. Travel times from the Loop to O’Hare are around 50 minutes via the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Blue Line, and approximately 37 minutes to Midway via the CTA’s Orange Line. After arriving at the airport, you’ll need to go through the check-in process and wait for your flight to board.

In summary, flying from Chicago to Milwaukee provides a relatively quick travel option. However, it is important to consider the higher costs associated with air travel and the additional time needed for airport procedures. Take these factors into account when deciding on the most suitable mode of transportation for your journey.


Milwaukee offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in seasonal events, festivals, brewery tours, casinos, or live music venues, the city has something to offer for everyone. Milwaukee is also constantly evolving, with new developments and attractions continually being added to its landscape. For example, the Fiserv Forum, a state-of-the-art sports arena where the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team plays, is a notable addition to the city.

In terms of accommodations, there are several new and renovated hotels to choose from. The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel, opened in 2016, and The Westin Milwaukee, opened in 2017, provide comfortable and modern options for travelers. Additionally, the dining scene in Milwaukee has seen significant growth, with new restaurants and markets emerging. Sherman Phoenix, Crossroads Collective, Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern, and La Merenda Marketplace are just a few examples of the diverse culinary experiences available.

When exploring Milwaukee, there are several notable attractions to consider. Families and friends can enjoy a visit to the Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Art Museum, or the Harley-Davidson Museum. For a romantic outing, The Pabst Mansion, Milwaukee Riverwalk District, and attending a Brewers game at Miller Park are popular choices.

Milwaukee offers a vibrant and ever-changing cityscape with a wide range of attractions and experiences. From cultural landmarks to entertainment venues and culinary delights, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this bustling city.

In summary, traveling by car offers flexibility, convenience, and cost savings for the Chicago to Milwaukee journey. It allows you to maintain control over your schedule, carry personal belongings, and have a vehicle at your disposal upon arrival in Milwaukee. Consider these advantages when deciding on the best mode of transportation for your trip.