how far is chicago from st louis
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How Far is Chicago from St. Louis?

When planning a trip between two cities, one of the most common questions that arise is "how far is it?" This is especially true for travelers looking to explore the Midwest, where cities like Chicago and St. Louis offer a rich blend of history, culture, and attractions. If you find yourself wondering how far Chicago is from St. Louis, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about the distance between these two vibrant cities.

Understanding the Distance

Chicago and St. Louis are both major metropolitan areas located in the United States. Chicago, often referred to as the "Windy City," is situated in the northeastern part of Illinois, while St. Louis is located in the eastern part of Missouri. To determine how far apart they are, we need to consider the driving distance, as well as the straight-line or "as the crow flies" distance.

Driving Distance

If you prefer to travel by car, the driving distance between Chicago and St. Louis is approximately 296 miles. This distance can be covered in around 4.5 to 5 hours, depending on traffic conditions and your driving speed. The most direct route is via Interstate 55, which connects the two cities.

Straight-Line Distance

The straight-line or aerial distance between Chicago and St. Louis is around 260 miles. This measurement represents the shortest distance between the two cities, disregarding any obstacles or detours that may exist on the ground. While this distance may seem shorter, it is important to note that traveling by road will likely take longer due to the actual route taken and various factors that can affect travel time.

Best Modes of Transportation

Now that you have an idea of how far Chicago is from St. Louis, let's explore the different modes of transportation you can choose from to make your journey between these cities:

1. Car

  • Driving your own car or renting one gives you the flexibility to explore both cities at your own pace.
  • Consider the duration of the trip, traffic conditions, and tolls when planning your journey.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and have a GPS or map handy to navigate.

2. Train

  • Amtrak operates train services between Chicago and St. Louis, providing a comfortable and scenic travel experience.
  • The journey takes approximately 5.5 to 6.5 hours, depending on the train route and schedule.
  • Trains offer amenities such as Wi-Fi, power outlets, and food services, allowing you to relax during the trip.

3. Bus

  • Several bus companies, including Greyhound and Megabus, offer affordable transportation options between Chicago and St. Louis.
  • Bus travel may take longer than driving or taking the train, but it can be a budget-friendly choice.
  • Check the bus schedule in advance and consider the duration of the trip, as well as any layovers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long does it take to fly from Chicago to St. Louis?

A: If you prefer air travel, the flight duration between Chicago and St. Louis is approximately 1 hour.

Q: Are there any landmarks or attractions worth visiting between Chicago and St. Louis?

A: Yes, there are several notable attractions along the way, including Springfield, Illinois, where you can explore the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Q: Can I take a direct train from Chicago to St. Louis?

A: Yes, Amtrak operates direct train services between these two cities. However, the availability of direct routes may vary, so it is advisable to check the schedule in advance.


Now that you have a better understanding of how far Chicago is from St. Louis, you can plan your trip accordingly. Whether you choose to drive, take a train, or hop on a bus, both cities offer a wealth of attractions and experiences to make your journey memorable. Consider your preferences, budget, and available options when deciding on the best mode of transportation for your adventure. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and enjoy exploring the wonders that Chicago and St. Louis have to offer!

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