Getting to Madison from Chicago

Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin are a little over two hours away from one another by car, or three hours by bus. Flights connect the two cities as well, but are the most expensive option.

Chicago to Madison

  • Driving distance –148 miles/238 kilometers

US Airways, United, American, Continental, and several other airlines fly between Madison and Chicago, but the airport is small and flights are expensive. Southwest is generally the cheapest option for direct flights.

Journey time: about 45 minutes
Typical price: $300-500 round-trip per person on the legacy carriers; $200 or less on Southwest.

Amtrak connects Madison to Chicago by bus.

Journey time: About 3 hours.

Megabus runs several buses between Madison and Chicago each day. Tickets generally cost about $20-$30 each way, but if you can get a deal by booking in advance, you could pay as little as $20 round trip.

Journey time: About 2 hours and 40 minutes.


The drive between Chicago and Madison is around 150 miles north from Chicago through southern Wisconsin. Coming in or out of Chicago you’re likely to hit traffic so time your drive carefully.

Journey time: 2.5 to 3 hours depending on traffic.

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