Getting from Los Angeles to Chicago

laLos Angeles and Chicago are two of the largest cities in the US, but with thousands of miles separating the two, it’s not easy to get between them if you don’t want to fly from Los Angeles to Chicago. Going by bus or train is possible though, especially if you aren’t in any hurry.

Los Angeles to Chicago

  • Driving distance – 2017 miles/3246 kilometers

Most major carriers, including Southwest, United, American, and Delta airlines offer frequent service from Chicago to LA. Flying is the easiest way to get between the two cities, but flights from Los Angeles to Chicago can be expensive, especially around the holidays and peak travel times. Booking your flights farther in advance can help you score cheap tickets to Chicago.

Journey time: About 4 hours.
Typical price: $200 to $350 round-trip per person

Amtrak trains do travel between Chicago and Los Angeles, but you’ll need to devote several days to the journey. Unless you plan to make multiple stops along the way to get off the train and stretch your legs, flying is usually a better option.  The trains are comfortable and generally on time, and ticket prices range from $150-250  each way.

Journey time: About 50 hours.

Bus is not an ideal way to travel between Chicago and Los Angeles. Greyhound does offer several trips per day, but the journey takes two days and may require a transfer.

Journey time: About 40 hours.


The drive between Chicago and Los Angeles  is a long one and takes around 32 hours. The drive passes through both some flatter, more boring landscapes in Iowa and Oklahoma, but you can also enjoy some beautiful scenery in Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. Plan on making a few stops, or at least breaking overnight to sleep halfway through the trip.

Journey time:  32 hours.

Photo by Storm Crypt