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

Should you visit Chicago or Wisconsin Dells?

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 Wisconsin Dells 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.

Wisconsin Dells

Located in central Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells offers natural beauty, fun rivers, and some of the area's most famous theme parks. Wisconsin Dells is one of the two towns that make up "The Dells." The other town, Lake Delton, is another popular Midwestern tourist spot.

Wisconsin Dells is about an hour north of Madison and two hours from Milwaukee. It's famous for its striking rock formations and scenic bluffs. The town's name comes from the Dells of the Wisconsin River, which is an impressive gorge that was originally formed by a glacier.

Which city is cheaper, Wisconsin Dells 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 Wisconsin Dells is $114. 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 Wisconsin Dells 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.

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $56. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Wisconsin Dells the cost is $112 on average.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Chicago $152
    Wisconsin Dells $56
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Chicago $304
    Wisconsin Dells $112

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.

The average traveler spends about $34 per day in Wisconsin Dells for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Chicago $37
    Wisconsin Dells $34
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

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.

The average price of local transportation around Wisconsin Dells is $28 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Chicago $29
    Wisconsin Dells $28
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:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport ORD to Chicago City by SUV: $96
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport ORD to Chicago by Sedan Car: $79
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport to Chicago City by Minibus: $333
  • Chicago Airport Private Arrival Transfer by SUV: $115
  • Chicago Airport Private Arrival Transfer by Sedan: $96
  • Chicago Airport Private Departure Transfer by SUV: $115
  • Chicago Airport Private Departure Transfer by Sedan: $96
  • Chicago Airport Transfer by Private Sedan: $119
  • Chicago Airport Transfer: Midway Airport MDW to O'Hare Airport ORD in Luxury SUV: $133
  • Chicago Airport Transfers : Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD by Luxury SUV: $119
  • Chicago Airport Transfers : Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD in Business Car: $100
  • Chicago Airport Transfers : Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD in Luxury Car: $123

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.

Wisconsin Dells's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $37 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Chicago $34
    Wisconsin Dells $37
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:

  • A Storied Neighborhood: Dance the dialectic with Bill Ayers on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Discovering Vintage The Loop Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Chicago Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Millennium Park Exploration Game & Self-Guided Tour: $12
  • Skip the Line: American Writers Museum Admission Ticket: $14
  • Pilsen Walking Tour of Local Publicly Displayed Art: $15
  • The Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour: $18
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Historic Chicago Theatre: $18
  • Chicago Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Chicago Skydeck Experience Ticket: $22
  • Ghosts of Lincoln Park Walking Tour: $22
  • Best Architecture Walking Tour for Design Lovers: $22

Tours and Activities in Wisconsin Dells

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

  • City and History Trolley Tour in Wisconsin Dells: $24
  • Haunted History Trolley Tour in Wisconsin Dells: $25
  • Wisconsin Dells 1 Hour Land & Water Duck Tour: $31
  • 1-Hour Guided WildThing Jet Boat Tour in Wisconsin Dells: $31

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.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Wisconsin Dells may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.31 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Chicago $20
    Wisconsin Dells $7.31

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


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Chicago and Wisconsin Dells, we can see that Chicago is more expensive. And not only is Wisconsin Dells much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Wisconsin Dells would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Wisconsin Dells 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 Wisconsin Dells.

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Chicago vs. Wisconsin Dells Travel Comparison

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