Flying from Minneapolis to Chicago
Easily the fastest way to get from Minneapolis to Chicago is to fly - Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is right in the middle of the Twin Cities metro area, and flights take just over an hour to get from MSP to Chicago area airports. A return flight can cost as little as $110 off peak from Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, and several other carriers.
The Amtrak station in the Twin Cities is in midway St. Paul. There is one direct train a day in each direction. The train from St. Paul to Chicago leaves in the early morning, and the train home from Chicago to St. Paul leaves Chicago's Union Station in the early afternoon. The journey takes about 8 hours.
Amtrak tickets from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Chicago start at around $55 one way, and $110 for a return, with discounts for seniors, active military personel, veterans, AAA members, students and children.
Did you know the Greyhound Bus company was founded in Minnesota? There are several Greyhound Bus stations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including stations in downtown Minneapolis, at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, on the University of Minnesota Campus, at the Amtrak station in St. Paul, and near the State Capitol in St. Paul.
Greyhound doesn't take reservations for buses, rather passengers show up and it's first come, first served. Greyhound operates several buses from Minneapolis and St. Paul to Chicago daily, usually five or six with departures around the clock, but it's the slowest way to get to Chicago. With transfers and layovers, the journey can take over 12 hours. Ticket prices begin at $25 one way or $50 return.
Megabus is the other of the two bus lines connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Megabus stops in Minneapolis just east of Downtown, and at the University of Minnesota campus. An average of three buses a day run non-stop from Minneapolis to Chicago, including an overnight service.
Unlike Greyhound, Megabus does take reservations for seats. Despite advertising on the side of buses for $1 tickets, most are not quite that cheap - ticket prices range from $5 to $50 one way, plus a small booking fee, depending on demand. The trip takes about 8 hours, and buses arrive near Union Station in Chicago. And Megabus has another advantage over Greyhound - free wi-fi internet on the bus.
Driving from Minneapolis to Chicago
Downtown Minneapolis and downtown Chicago are 410 miles apart by the fastest freeway route, and a non-stop journey with no traffic or weather delays takes around 6 1/2 hours.
When calculating the cost of your journey, figure in around $10 extra each way for tollways on the way into and out of Chicago on top of gas prices, and depending on your destination, parking charges in Chicago.