Madison to Chicago bus

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Madison - Chicago Bus Timetable

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Journey Information

There are 71 intercity buses per day from Madison to Chicago. Traveling by bus from Madison to Chicago usually takes around 3 hours and 34 minutes, but the fastest Coach USA bus can make the trip in 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Distance122 mi (197 km)
Shortest duration2h 55m
Cheapest price€16.51
Trips per day78
Most frequent serviceCoach USA
Bus lines4

Bus Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Average score for buses from Madison to Chicago

(Based on 66 ratings and reviews)




7 July 2024- Visiting family

FlixBus US

Pros: Driver was very serious and conscientious about her job! You could tell she took pride in her work. She kept a decent rapport with the passengers. I actually felt very safe with her! Cons: Nothing really. Tips: Really really pay attention to what your ticket says the name of the bus is because they have several buses around the same time going to pretty much the same places with small variations of the name.



24 June 2024- Visiting family

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: very easy and smooth, arrived on time. Cons: N/A. Tips: highly recommend.



24 April 2024- Solo travel

Coach USA

Pros: Excellent service. Cons: The pickup location mentioned on the e-ticket was different, but the linked location was correct.



13 March 2024

Coach USA

It was a very smooth trip.



18 January 2024- Business

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: The driver was nice and courteous. We did not encounter any problems along the way. Cons: N/A.

How much is a bus ticket from Madison to Chicago?

Bus tickets for a trip from Madison to Chicago cost €34.03 on average. Opting to take a bus is a wallet-friendly way to make this trip. If you book your trip ahead of time using Wanderu, you can easily find bus tickets at or below this price.

Average prices by travel date


If you're planning to travel by bus from Madison to Chicago in the next month, the average ticket price is expected to range from €34 to €36. The cheapest bus tickets available in the next few weeks are for trips departing on 16 July 2024.

If you’re looking to travel to Chicago this week, bus tickets are available starting at €34.

Monthly average prices

Traveling from Madison to Chicago by bus will cost you about the same throughout the year. In general, bus ticket prices for this route are fairly consistent, so expect to pay around €35 whenever you decide to travel.

Prices as travel date approaches


Most bus companies charge higher ticket prices closer to the date of travel, so it’s a good idea to buy your bus tickets as early as possible. To find the cheapest bus tickets, book your trip at least 14 days in advance. This way, you can save up to €6.24 on your bus ticket compared to booking last-minute.

What bus companies travel from Madison to Chicago?

There are 4 bus lines from Madison to Chicago available for you to search and compare on Wanderu. With 48 daily trips, Coach USA usually has the most buses running on any given day. Here are some time and price comparisons for all the available options:

BusDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak Thruway113h 52m€39.48
Coach USA483h 11m€34.98
FlixBus US65h 4m€34.57
Greyhound64h 19m€35.59
  • Amtrak Thruway, also known as Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, is a system of intercity passenger buses operated by Amtrak to connect train stations to areas that are not served by the carrier’s railroads. On the bus, passengers can enjoy comfortable reclining seats with leg rests and access to onboard restroom facilities. Amtrak Thruway bus tickets from Madison to Chicago start at €39. On average, there are 11 Amtrak Thruway bus trips on this route every day.

  • Book Coach USA from Madison to Chicago from €35. There are 48 trips per day offered by Coach USA from Madison to Chicago and you can expect on average to pay for a Coach USA ticket to Chicago. In Madison, Coach USA departs to Chicago from Phillips 66 and one other station. In Chicago, Coach USA arrives at Terminal 5 Station, O'Hare Intl Airport and one other station.

    An average trip on Coach USA from Madison to Chicago takes 3 hours and 11 minutes , while the fastest available Coach USA trip will get you to Chicago in 2 hours and 55 minutes .

    On weekends, Coach USA offers 48 trips per day. A one way ticket costs for a weekend trip to Chicago.

  • FlixBus US is the American branch of German bus company FlixBus, known for providing sustainable, affordable, and modern bus travel. The company offers cheap bus tickets to popular urban destinations throughout the United States. FlixBus US buses include many amenities, including comfortable seats, free WiFi, power outlets at every seat, and an online portal for free entertainment. On average, FlixBus US operates 6 trips per day from Madison to Chicago, and the average ticket for this route costs only .

  • Greyhound is the largest nationwide coach carrier in the United States, offering cheap, safe and reliable service across the country. Greyhound has become a household name, serving over 16 million passengers per year with daily trips to over 2,400 destinations. Greyhound performs about 6 bus trips from Madison to Chicago every day, with the average journey taking around 4 hours and 19 minutes to complete. Bus tickets for Greyhound trips to Chicago usually start from €17.

Frequently Asked Questions

The cheapest bus carrier you can take from Madison to Chicago is Greyhound, which has an average ticket price of $24.40. That said, Greyhound also averages the longest travel time at 5 hours and 54 minutes. To arrive in Chicago sooner, consider traveling on a Megabus, with an average travel time of 3 hours and 43 minutes. Megabus tickets average a few dollars more than Greyhound, but may be worth it to save you almost two hours.
Bus carriers such as Megabus and Van Galder depart from Langdon Street just outside of the Memorial Union building on the east side of the UW-Madison campus. The Memorial Union is on the south shore of Lake Mendota, next to the Helen C. White Hall and across from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The fastest you can expect to arrive in Chicago from Madison is about 3 hours, though the average time is closer to 3 hours and 45 minutes. Nonstop flights from Madison to Chicago take about an hour, but are far more expensive, averaging about $229. For comparison, bus tickets for this route average just $25.08.

The bus takes an average of 3 hours and 34 minutes to cover the 197 kilometers from Madison to Chicago. However, the fastest bus only takes 2 hours and 55 minutes. It's the perfect amount of time to take a nap, get some work done, or watch a movie. Keep in mind that your actual bus may arrive earlier or later than scheduled, depending on whether there is more or less traffic than usual.

Because many passengers travel from Madison to Chicago at the beginning of the work week, Monday is usually the busiest day for buses. If you are planning to travel on a Monday, you should make sure to book tickets well in advance as they may sell out.

On the other hand, Thursday is typically the least busy day for bus travel on this route. If you’re looking for a little extra space, a Thursday ticket is the way to go.

The first bus leaves at 01:00 and the last bus leaves at 20:00. To see the times for all buses from Madison to Chicago, enter your specific travel dates in the search bar.

There are 71 scheduled buses that travel from Madison to Chicago every day, so you have a decent number of options to choose from. This includes 78 direct buses, where you can stay on the same bus without having to transfer to a connecting bus at any point during your trip.

Need more travel options? Consider taking the train from Madison to Chicago; ticket prices start at €38.56.

City Information


Consistently ranking high on the lists of the best places to live in the USA, Madison still maintains its quaint and idyllic small-town vibe despite being the capital city of Wisconsin. Sitting among the city’s most iconic and most popular landmarks is the Madison Memorial Union, which is located within the campus of the University of Madison. The building features a lakeview terrace filled with colorful chairs, allowing visitors to chill out and enjoy the sun. If you are interested in the history of the state or architecture as a whole, head over to the State Capitol building, which was built between 1906 and 1917. The building features lavish council chambers, which were modeled after the famous Doge’s Palace in Venice, along with other architectural highlights. If you wish to stay close to nature, the Olbrich Botanical garden, with its famous Thai Pavilion and Garden, will certainly be a great choice.

As a college city, Madison features numerous cutting-edge establishments that will make your mouth water. For some of the best dining views in town, head over to Graze, where you can also grab some of the best cheese curds in Madison. If you want to enjoy the best brunch in town, Sardine might have what you need.

The busiest bus/train station in Madison is located on Collins Ct. The city is served by the Dane County Regional Airport, 6 miles northeast of downtown.


Known for its innovative architecture, cultural contributions to jazz and house music, and of course that irresistible deep-dish pizza, the many sights and experiences in Chicago make it one of the best urban vacation destinations for millennials and a top destination in Illinois.

You can't beat the views of the city and Lake Michigan from the SkyDeck in the Willis Tower; at over 1,300 feet, this is the highest observation deck in the U.S. Snap that classic selfie with the Bean in Millennium Park, then wander the many museums in nearby Grant Park. Navy Pier is a popular tourist hotspot for its parks, restaurants, and attractions right on Lake Michigan, and baseball fans will find paradise in Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field and sports bars galore.

Chicago's enormous parks offer plentiful opportunities for outdoor activities in gorgeous urban settings. Many companies offer kayak rentals or boat tours on the Chicago River, with special tours running on Saint Patrick's Day, when the entire river is dyed green. When you’re ready to buy some souvenirs from your epic trip, hit the big brand stores on the Magnificent Mile, or shop local in neighborhoods like Andersonville and Wicker Park. And don't miss the chance to laugh until you cry at The Second City comedy theater, famous for launching the careers of comedians like Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

Chicago is one of the biggest transportation hubs in the Midwest, and provides easy access to nearby destinations ideal for day trips, as well as international travel from two airports. Thanks to plenty of bus and train stations throughout the city, getting to the Windy City is a breeze.

Station Information

Where does the bus leave from in Madison?

Main departure station: University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

Buses to Chicago leave from 5 stations in Madison.

All bus stations in Madison:

  • University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

  • Phillips 66

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride Lot

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride (West Lot)

  • University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

Where does the bus arrive in Chicago?

Main arrival station: Terminal 5 Station, O'Hare Intl Airport

Buses arrive in Chicago at 7 stations, depending on which bus line you are traveling with.

Bus stations in Chicago:

  • Terminal 5 Station, O'Hare Intl Airport

  • Chicago O'Hare Bus/Shuttle Ctr

  • Chicago (Union Station), Illinois

  • Bus Station - 630 W Harrison St

  • Dan Ryan Bus Station

  • Chicago Train Station Bus Stop

  • 5800 N Cumberland Ave

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