road trip chicago to minneapolis driveLooking for a Chicago to Minneapolis road trip? If you haven’t got the time to drive straight across the continental United States like my buddy and I had, Minneapolis is a fantastic starting point for a road trip and the drive to Chicago allows you to pass through some interesting scenery.

You’ll not only be reaching one of the greatest cities in America but the entire drive is a trip that you’re sure to remember for years to come.

If you’re looking to make use of the freeway, the journey should take you around 6 hours in total however I recommend taking the backroads as that’s where all the magic happens and you can find some really good off-the-beaten-path restaurants here.

Here you can take as much (or as little) time as you’d like.  One of the key things you must remember about a road trip, and about any trip for that matter, is about being able to enjoy the journey itself.

Chicago to Minneapolis drive

As you make your way out of Minneapolis, you’ll soon be greeted by the rolling farmland that typifies the eastern edge of Minnesota and so much of Wisconsin. You may well choose to take the route that runs parallel to the Mississippi River, taking you directly to La Crosse.

Mississippi River St. Louis Missouri road trip chicago to minneapolis drive

About halfway between Minneapolis and Chicago drive, it is a great place to take a break for lunch.  If you’d really like to go all out, from La Crosse you can actually board a traditional steam paddle boat, allowing you to experience the thrill of cruising on the mighty Mississippi.  The park at Grandad’s Bluff, which can be found at the very top of Main Street, is another highlight of any visit to the city. From this site, which is almost 600 feet above the town, you can see 3 separate states: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. It’s a view with particular resonance for this road trip, which involves traveling through all 3 states.

La Crosse has a rich and varied history. When you walk through the downtown area at night, with the old-fashioned street lights lit, it can almost seem like a step back in time.  As might be expected, the city has a number of excellent restaurants, together with a variety of wonderful hotels.  The Pearl Street Brewery is also worth a visit, allowing you to taste beer that has been brewed on the site.

road trip chicago to minneapolis drive

It can seem like something of a shame to leave La Crosse.  Many people decide to stay here for longer than was originally planned, in order to experience its undoubted charms.  But eventually, it will be time for you to continue on your way to Chicago.

Chicago is a city where everything seems to be done on a grand scale. From extraordinary skyscrapers to massive food portions in restaurants, this is clearly a place where it’s expected that life should be about perfection.

Children will be thrilled to visit Lincoln Park Zoo, where they can enjoy watching the animals similar to what you would find on a wildlife safari in Busch Gardens while adults can enjoy the temptations on offer in Chicago’s cocktail bars and rooftop restaurants.  With a thriving cultural scene, you can even watch a live band or visit one of the highly regarded comedy clubs.


As with many American cities, Chicago really comes alive on special occasions.  The Thanksgiving Parade is particularly striking and there’s something enjoyable about visiting a city at a time when local people are so happy and enthusiastic.

Having made the journey from Minneapolis, you will undoubtedly notice that there are a number of contrasts between these two major US cities.  You will also discover that there is much to enjoy in each.

Chicago to Minneapolis Road Trip

If you’re interested at the thought of a road trip from Minneapolis to Chicago, it’s best to rent a car in Minneapolis before traveling.  Make sure to choose a vehicle that’s suitable to your requirements; if you’d like to go on a backcountry journey to the Black Hills National Forest or if you’re sticking to the cities, the smartest car will be the one that offers you the most comfort and room.  By doing so, you can be sure that you will enjoy a truly fantastic travel experience and a road trip to remember for years to come!

Have you ever been on the Minneapolis to Chicago drive road trip?