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  1. Default Travelling to Chicago from Minneapolis


    We (Myself,My Husband and our 3 yr old son) planned to travel to Chicago on June 30th for 4 days from Minneapolis.
    Our idea is to take our own car for this trip..Since its 7 hr trip, we thought to have break in between for road side attractions..

    I need help and suggestions of following:
    1) Is travelling in car for 7 hours a correct decision?
    2) What are main roadside attractions from Minneapolis to Chicago and vice-versa?
    3) What are main attractions in Chicago(any day plan if suggested,will be helpful) ?
    4) Which place of booking hotel is best -downtown or suburb?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Minneapolis to Chicago is a pretty easy drive. 7 Hours is a bit optimistic, I'd say 8 would be a minimum, depending upon traffic and then add in more times for stops.

    "Main" Roadside attractions is pretty vauge, as it falls much along the lines of "must sees" that we really can't answer without knowing what you'd be interested in. Pretty generically, Wisconsin Dells is a very touristy town, most famous for its waterparks, but with a lot of other smaller attractions. Madison, and potentially, Milwaukee would be on the route. However, the RTA Map Center can give you a bunch more specific stop ideas.

    In chicago, similarly "main" means a lot of things, and entire guidebooks can offer suggestions. The generic answers would include Navy Pier and the several world class museums like the Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Shedd Aquarium.

    Downtown hotels will certainly be more expensive and often parking is not included in the rate. However, once you are there, it will be easy to get around via the "El" system. If you stay in the suburbs you'll find much cheaper options, but you'll have to commute into the city, and deal with heavy traffic and difficult parking. One option you could look at is staying near O'Hare and then using the Cumberland Park and Ride that is right off I-90 for a ride into downtown on the Blue Line.

  3. Default

    Thanks for your immediate reply and suggestions...Its really useful..Since we are going with kid, we are concentrating on kid attractions too..But i need some information on how to cover the road trip from MN to Chicago and while return from Chicago to MN to take some break in-between.Since i dont have a plan about it, if we delay anywhere it will end up late night(thought to start trip earlier morning).So,if you can help me, it would be helpful..Once again thanks for the info.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Factor it in

    ... if we delay anywhere ...
    On my regular jaunt from St Paul to Boston, this short section is probably my least favourite, simply because of the seemingly endless road construction. So make allowance for it when you plan. I have never checked on the web to see where road works are taking place, but that might be a good idea.

    If you can, with a three year old, get away early it will be a great boost. I normally try to be out of the St Paul metropolis and on to the open road no later than 8am.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a few ideas

    It's a pretty straightforward drive that's a little over 400 miles, which is a good distance, but still a pretty easy distance to cover in a day. There's really not a ton to plan for. Really, the only big question is if you'll take I-90 via Rockford or I-94 via Milwaukee - typically I-90 would be shorter, but if you are looking at staying in the northern suburbs I-94 might be a better choice. I would agree that getting an early start would be a good idea. As lifely mentioned, there is frequently construction, and from my last trip up to MSP the only major one I remember was actually just east of the cities, I think around the menomonie area. Earlier this year, there was a big delay because of a project just south of Tomah, but that hasn't been an issue the last couple times I've been through there (including yesterday). The other big potential issues would be along I-94 near milwaukee, where a few different projects are going on.

    Now for kid specific stops, I mentioned the Dells, which has a lot of options from mini-golf and go-karts, to "duck" and jet boat rides, to even more odd and unusual. Madison would be about halfway, and Ella's Deli and Ice Cream, with a Giant 85 year old Carousel out front could make a good lunch stop and its on your way to the Madison Children's Museum, which just moved into a brand new building near the State Capitol. And continuing down to Rockford, The Discovery Center and Burpee Museum are located right next door to each other. The Discovery Center has been ranked as one of the nation's best kids museums, and Burpee is a perfect stop if your little one likes Dinosaurs, as they found and have "Jane" a juvenile T-Rex on display.

    If you end up going via Milwaukee, there are 2 childrens museum in Milwaukee, along with a very good Public Museum, Imax, and Planetarium. Near Kenosha is the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean factory that would also be a good sugary stop.

  6. Default

    Thanks for your immediate reply..Yup, as you said we have to plan to start earlier morning..also as you said, we will check road constructions before the trip..These suggestions are really helpful...Thanks ....

  7. Default

    Thanks to Michael and LifeMagician...Your suggestions about I-94 route and children musuem are really helpful and I had got ideas and view of plan for the trip.Thanks a lot..

  8. Default Where to park car for a day visit to chicago downtown?

    We planned to go on Thursday this week to Chicago from MN.We booked hotel and attraction pass earlier.My hotel is 30 mins far away from Chicago O'hare Airport..For our 3 days visit to downtown, where can we park car for whole day at low cost?Any suggestions regarding parking would be helpful...

    Link to any old threads related to chicago from MN would also be helpful to know additional information.

    Moderator Note: Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 06-28-2011 at 02:42 PM. Reason: Merged Threads

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Standard Advice

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As with most urban areas where travel by car is difficult and parking that car for a day's sight seeing in the city can be expensive if not downright impossible, we recommend parking the car outside the city and using public transportation into, around and back out of the city. Chicago has a well-integrated public transport system that includes light rail (the "El") busses and commuter rail. You should look through the maps of those systems and find the nearest terminal to your hotel that has a Park 'n Ride designation. Parking lots will be provided at those sites and people park their cars their every day. However, that can be a problem as the lots may fill up. Hopefully, though, there will be a bus or El stop close enough to your motel that you can just leave the car outside your 'own' door and walk to public transport.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would recommend the CTA parking garage at the "EL" station on Cumberland Avenue right off I-90 (Kennedy Expressway), then ride the train in and out. This is the largest parking facility on the whole O'Hare "EL" line (Blue Line) except for the garage at the airport itself, which is expensive, and it's a bit of a walk from the garage to the "EL" station.

    5800 N. Cumberland Ave.
    $4.00 for 12 hours
    $6.00 for 12-14 hours
    $8.00 for 14-16 hours
    $10.00 for 16-18 hours
    $12.00 for 18-24 hours
    Lost Ticket $12.00
    Each additional 24 hours or fraction thereof $12.00
    1633 spaces available

    "EL" fares are $2.25, farecard required, there are vending machines at the station. You can also buy a 3 day unlimited ride pass card for $14, there's a machine for those at the Cumberland station. The pass is good on all "EL" lines and city buses. If you plan on using public transportation in Chicago, here is the CTA website. If you can't take an "EL" or a bus to a particular place, just hail a cab.

    I lived in the western Chicago suburbs for many years and this was the best way I found to do it.

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