A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Chicago vs. Milwaukee

Should you visit Chicago or Milwaukee?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Chicago and Milwaukee can help you decide which place is right for you.

Chicago

Located in the Midwest, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. It has a population of almost 3 million and a metropolitan area that covers more than 10,000 square kilometers. It is also a hub for music, comedy and theater. It's skyline is beautiful with modern skyscrapers and Lake Michigan as a backdrop. It is easy to stay entertained in Chicago for weeks. There are world class museums, upscale or eclectic shopping opportunities, and impressive architecture.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is a city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin on Lake Michigan's western shore. It's known for its breweries, many of which offer tours chronicling its role in the beer industry. Overlooking the Menomonee River, the Harley-Davidson Museum displays classic motorcycles, including one of Elvis Presley's. Nearby is the Milwaukee Public Museum, with its large-scale European Village and a recreation of old Milwaukee. In summertime, festivals let loose by the lake almost every weekend. These attractions along with stylish eating and shopping areas have turned Wisconsin's largest city into an interesting and attractive destination.

Which city is cheaper, Milwaukee or Chicago?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Chicago is $221, while the average daily cost in Milwaukee is $141. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Chicago and Milwaukee in more detail.




Accommodation

Chicago's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $304. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $152.

Travelers usually pay around $158 for a double occupancy room in Milwaukee If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $152
    Milwaukee $79
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $304
    Milwaukee $158


Food

The price of a meal in Chicago can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $37 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $15 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

Food in Milwaukee costs travelers about $41 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Chicago $37
    Milwaukee $41
Typical Food prices in Chicago

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:


  • Dinner for 1
    $24
  • Dinner for 3
    $118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chicago

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Chicago.

  • Traveling Spoon Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour: $46
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49
  • Chicago Crime & Pizza Walk: $50
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Chicago History and Food Tour: $59
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour: $61
  • Signature Food Tour at Chicago's Navy Pier: $64
  • Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour: $64
  • Private Fusion Cooking Class in Downtown Chicago: $64
  • Skip the Line: Tommy Gun's Garage Dinner and Show Ticket: $67
  • Small-Group Chicago Food Tour: Gold Coast and Old Town: $75
  • Best of Chicago Tour Including a Deep-Dish Pizza: $75

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Milwaukee

For Milwaukee, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Milwaukee: $90
  • Milwaukee Secret Food Tour w/ Private Tour Option: $193


Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $29 per day to get around in Chicago.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Milwaukee than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $31 on transportation in Milwaukee on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $29
    Milwaukee $31
Typical Local Transportation prices in Chicago

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chicago:


  • Parking
    $19
  • Taxi Ride
    $10
  • Taxi from Airport
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chicago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:

  • Transfers in Chicago: $107
  • Transfer to Chicago Premium Outlets: $288
  • Transfer from O'Hare International Airport to Chicago: $93
  • Private transfer: Chicago to Chicago International Airport (MDW): $105
  • Private transfer: Chicago International Airport (MDW) to Chicago: $105
  • Private Transfer: O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Chicago: $133
  • Private Transfer: Chicago to O'Hare International Airport (ORD): $133
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (ORD) Airport: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago City to Chicago (MDW) Airport: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (ORD) Airport to Chicago City: $113
  • Private Transfer from Chicago (MDW) Airport to Chicago City: $113
  • Private Sedan Transfer from Chicago Downtown to O`Hare airport: $100

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Milwaukee

Also for Milwaukee, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Milwaukee - General Mitchell Airport One Way Transfer: $64
  • Private Transfer Milwaukee Airport MKE to Milwaukee in Business Class Car: $67
  • Private Transfer Milwaukee Airport MKE to Milwaukee in Luxury Class Car: $100
  • Private Transfer Milwaukee Airport MKE to Milwaukee in an SUV: $83
  • Private Transfer Milwaukee to Milwaukee Airport MKE in Business Class Car: $67
  • Private Transfer Milwaukee to Milwaukee Airport MKE in a Luxury Car: $100
  • Private Transfer Milwaukee to Milwaukee Airport MKE in an SUV: $83


Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $34 per person, per day in Chicago. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing expenses in Milwaukee, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $21 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $34
    Milwaukee $21
Typical Entertainment prices in Chicago

Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Sears Tower (family of 4)
    $102
  • Aquarium for 4
    $118
  • Water Taxi (family of 4)
    $22
  • IMAX Movie for Two
    $35
  • Shakespeare Play (2)
    $116
  • Art Institute (2)
    $36
  • U-Boat Tour (2)
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Chicago

Here are a few actual costs in Chicago for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Chicago Art and Architecture Segway Tour: $71
  • 2 Hour Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago: $65
  • 2 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private Stretch Limo / 8 Passengers: $250
  • 2-Hour Chicago City Lights and Skyline Segway Tour: $76
  • 2-Hour Chicago Fireworks Segway Tour: $76
  • 2-Hour Chicago Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour: $73
  • 2-Hour Haunted Segway Tour of Chicago: $76
  • 2-Hour History of Chicago Architecture and Art Segway Tour: $75
  • 3 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $392
  • 3-Hour Segway Tour of Chicago: $76
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck Admission: Skip the Ticket Desk: $25
  • 4 Hours Chicago Sightseeing Tour - Luxury Private SUV, ALL Inclusive: $220

Tours and Activities in Milwaukee

For Milwaukee, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • The Grand Walk: An audio tour through Milwaukee's historical and cultural heart: $5.00
  • Skip the Line: Museum Admission Ticket - Grohmann Museum: $5.00
  • Skip the Line: Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear Admission Ticket: $6.00
  • Skip the Line: North Point Lighthouse Admission Ticket: $8.00
  • Harley-Davidson Museum General Admission Ticket with Audio Guided Option: $22
  • Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour: $35
  • Ticket: $40
  • Cruisin' Karaoke Tour: $41
  • Discover Iconic Milwaukee Tour: $41
  • Fun Milwaukee Tours: $45
  • Fun Public Milwaukee Tours: $45
  • Christmas Past, Present and Future Light Tour: $70


Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Chicago may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $20 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting Milwaukee spend on average $26 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $20
    Milwaukee $26

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Chicago:

  • Haunted Chicago Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $25
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Barrel Bus Craft Distillery Tour: $90
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $90
  • Ultimate Girl's Night Out in Sparkling Wine, Photo Shoot, Burlesque: $900

Sample the Local Flavors in Milwaukee

Also in Milwaukee, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Milwaukee Bar Hunt: Milwaukee Bar Crawl: $12
  • Operation Mindfall Brewery District in Downtown Milwaukee: $35
  • Operation Mindfall Bar Crawl on Brady Street: $35



When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chicago and Milwaukee, we can see that Chicago is more expensive. And not only is Milwaukee much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Milwaukee would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Milwaukee and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Chicago would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Chicago than you might in Milwaukee.

Budget Your Trip

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Chicago vs. Milwaukee Travel Comparison

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