Your Guide To Taking The Train From Chicago To Minneapolis

Looking to travel in comfort and style from the Windy City to the City of Lakes? Then hop aboard an Amtrak train! The journey between Chicago and Minneapolis by rail is scenic, relaxing and more sustainable than flying.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: You can take Amtrak’s Empire Builder train directly from Chicago’s Union Station to Minneapolis’s Midway Station in about 8 hours.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to travel by train between Chicago and Minneapolis, including ticket options, the route, schedules, and tips to enjoy the journey.

Amtrak Train Options and Schedules

When it comes to traveling from Chicago to Minneapolis by train, Amtrak is the go-to option for many travelers. With its comfortable seating, scenic routes, and reliable service, Amtrak offers a convenient and enjoyable way to reach your destination.

Let’s take a closer look at the train options and schedules available for this route.

The Empire Builder Route

One of the most popular train routes between Chicago and Minneapolis is the Empire Builder. This iconic route takes you through the heart of the Midwest, offering breathtaking views of the countryside along the way.

The Empire Builder is known for its spacious seating, onboard amenities, and attentive staff, ensuring a pleasant journey for passengers.

During your trip on the Empire Builder, you’ll have access to amenities such as a dining car, observation lounge, and free Wi-Fi. Whether you want to relax and enjoy the scenery or stay productive during your journey, the Empire Builder has you covered.

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, consider booking a roomette or bedroom on the Empire Builder. These private accommodations offer added comfort and privacy, with amenities such as a bed, private bathroom, and complimentary meals.

Daily Schedules and Travel Times

Amtrak offers daily departures from Chicago Union Station to Minneapolis-Saint Paul Union Depot, making it easy to find a departure time that fits your schedule. The travel time between the two cities varies depending on the train you choose and any potential stops along the way.

On average, the journey from Chicago to Minneapolis takes approximately 8 to 9 hours. However, it’s important to note that travel times can be subject to delays or changes due to various factors, such as weather conditions or maintenance issues.

To ensure you have the most up-to-date information on schedules and travel times, it’s recommended to check the Amtrak website or contact their customer service. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate and current information regarding your train journey.

So, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, consider taking the Amtrak train from Chicago to Minneapolis. With its comfortable seating, stunning views, and convenient schedules, it’s a great option for those looking to enjoy a relaxing and efficient journey.

Choosing and Booking Your Train Tickets

When planning a trip from Chicago to Minneapolis, one of the first things you need to do is choose and book your train tickets. This step is crucial to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

Coach vs Sleeper Car

One of the main decisions you’ll need to make is whether to travel in a coach or a sleeper car. Coach seats are a more budget-friendly option and provide comfortable seating for shorter journeys. They are a great choice if you’re looking to save money and don’t mind sitting for an extended period of time.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more luxurious and private experience, a sleeper car might be the better option. Sleeper cars offer private cabins with beds, allowing you to rest and sleep during the journey.

While they may be a bit more expensive, they provide a higher level of comfort and privacy, especially for longer trips.

Booking Tips to Save Money

Booking your train tickets in advance can help you secure the best deals and save money. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Be flexible with your travel dates: If you have the flexibility to travel on different dates, you may be able to find cheaper fares. Use online booking platforms to compare prices on different days and choose the most affordable option.
  • Consider off-peak travel times: Train tickets are often cheaper during off-peak hours. If you can plan your trip to avoid peak travel times, you may be able to score a better deal.
  • Sign up for email alerts: Many train companies offer email alerts for promotions and discounts. By signing up for these alerts, you’ll be notified of any special offers that can help you save money on your ticket.
  • Check for group discounts: If you’re traveling with a group, some train companies offer discounted rates for group bookings. Be sure to inquire about these discounts to see if you’re eligible.

By following these booking tips and considering the pros and cons of coach and sleeper car options, you can make an informed decision when choosing and booking your train tickets from Chicago to Minneapolis.

The Experience of the Train Journey

Traveling by train from Chicago to Minneapolis is not only convenient but also provides a unique and enjoyable experience. The journey takes you through picturesque landscapes, offers a range of amenities, and allows you to relax and unwind while enjoying the scenery.

Scenic Highlights Along the Route

As the train winds its way from Chicago to Minneapolis, passengers are treated to breathtaking views of the Midwest’s diverse landscapes. From the lush green fields of Illinois to the rolling hills of Wisconsin, the scenery is a feast for the eyes.

Be sure to keep your camera handy to capture the beauty of the countryside.

One of the highlights of the journey is crossing the Mississippi River. As the train glides over the river, you’ll have a chance to admire its grandeur and appreciate the importance of this waterway in connecting the two cities.

Another scenic highlight is passing through the charming town of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Nestled between the Mississippi River and the bluffs, La Crosse offers stunning views of the river and a glimpse into small-town life in the Midwest.

Amenities and Dining Options Onboard

The train from Chicago to Minneapolis offers a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable journey. Passengers can relax in spacious seats with ample legroom, enjoy free Wi-Fi to stay connected, and take advantage of power outlets to keep their devices charged.

For those looking to satisfy their hunger, the train also features a dining car where you can enjoy a delicious meal. From freshly prepared sandwiches and salads to hot entrees and desserts, there’s something to please every palate.

And don’t forget to savor a cup of freshly brewed coffee while taking in the scenic views.

Additionally, the train offers a lounge car where you can socialize, stretch your legs, or simply sit back and enjoy a good book. The cozy atmosphere and panoramic windows make it the perfect spot to relax and watch the world go by.

Arriving in Minneapolis

Deboarding at Midway Station

Once you arrive in Minneapolis, your train will most likely stop at Midway Station. Located in the heart of the city, Midway Station provides convenient access to various transportation options and attractions.

As you deboard the train, make sure to gather all your belongings and follow the signs to the exit. The station is equipped with helpful staff members who can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.

Midway Station offers amenities such as restrooms, ATMs, and Wi-Fi, allowing you to freshen up, withdraw cash, or connect to the internet if needed. If you have some time to spare before continuing your journey, you can explore the station’s shops, cafes, and restaurants for a quick bite to eat or some last-minute shopping.

Getting to Your Final Destination

After deboarding at Midway Station, you’ll likely need to find transportation to your final destination in Minneapolis. Fortunately, there are several options available to suit your preferences and needs.

If you prefer public transportation, Minneapolis has an extensive bus and light rail system. The light rail system, known as the METRO, connects various parts of the city, including downtown, the Mall of America, and the airport.

You can easily access the light rail from Midway Station and purchase tickets at the station or through the METRO Transit app.

Another popular option is to hail a taxi or use ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft. These services are readily available in Minneapolis and can take you directly to your destination. Just make sure to have the corresponding app installed on your phone and check for any surge pricing during peak hours.

If you prefer the convenience and flexibility of having your own vehicle, you can rent a car from one of the rental car agencies located near Midway Station. This option allows you to explore Minneapolis and the surrounding areas at your own pace and convenience.

Before deciding on your transportation method, it’s a good idea to consider factors such as cost, travel time, and the location of your final destination. Additionally, you can use online maps or transportation apps to plan your route and get real-time updates on traffic conditions to ensure a smooth and efficient journey.


Traveling from Chicago to Minneapolis by train with Amtrak is a relaxing and sustainable way to journey between these two Midwestern hubs. With daily departures, comfortable seats or private rooms, and picturesque views out your window, it’s an adventure not to be missed.

We hope this guide gives you all the tips and info you need to plan your train trip. All aboard for Minneapolis!

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