At 8 hours 35 minutes, an inter-city bus between Minneapolis and Chicago might not be quick, but it is convenient and cheap.
The 400-mile trip between Minneapolis and Chicago winds through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, taking up most of the day or night. More economical than a flight and quicker than taking the train, it’s the best option for budget-minded travellers who don’t mind travelling for most of the day or night to reach the Windy City. America’s inter-city bus network has come a long way in the past few years, and most operators allow customers to bring multiple pieces of luggage and bicycles on board too. Since Megabus cancelled its daily service in 2021, there are now two bus networks to choose from. If you’re considering travelling between two cities, we’ve compared the best bus services based on price, journey, duration, customer reviews, onboard facilities and ease of booking.
North America’s iconic intercity bus service was acquired by FlixBus at the end of 2021, but it’s retained its own identity, bus fleet and route network. The main difference is that you can now choose to book your bus directly through either Greyhound or FlixBus. Greyhound offers four services per day, from 05:35 am until 08:50 pm. It’s the best option for travellers looking to arrive into Chicago as early in the daytime as possible. Journey times take between 8 hours 35 minutes and 9 hours 45 minutes, depending on the time of day and the number of stops along the way.
Ticket prices are generally similar or slightly more expensive than FlixBus, though the difference is marginal. Prices include one piece of luggage (stored under the bus) and you can pay for two further pieces if you’re making a long trip. You can also pay to select your seat or choose to travel ‘neighbour-free’. Coaches have come a long way in the past few years: air-conditioning, free WiFi and individual power outlets are all standard.
In a short few years, FlixBus has grown to become the biggest bus company in Europe and the United States. Currently, the company only offers one service per day, which departs at 09:00 from Fourth Street North Transit Station. Journeys average 8 hours 50 minutes and arrive at 5:50 pm, just in time for dinner. Prices tend to be cheaper than other bus companies, making it the best option for budget-minded travellers.
Travellers with bikes can book a dedicated bike slot for an additional fee, though you’ll need to book these in advance as spaces fill up quickly. All buses offer free WiFi, power outlets and air conditioning on board. You can purchase low-cost snacks and drinks from the driver throughout the journey too.