Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Midwest
Reload this Page >

Memorial Day travel in Chicago

Memorial Day travel in Chicago

Old May 21, 13, 11:45 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 2
Question Memorial Day travel in Chicago

A little complicated, but flying into Midway on Friday 5/24, driving to Madison, WI. Reversing this on Monday 5/27 for a 6:00pm departure from Midway. Does anybody happen to know about traffic patterns/congestion heading back into Chicago on Memorial Day (Monday)? Trying to figure out how long to allow for the return drive from Madison
bsodc is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 5:11 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: ORD/AUS
Programs: SW A-List and HH Diamond
Posts: 188
Memorial Day travel in Chicago

It will be hell
cks30 is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 5:45 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Formerly at PIT, now planted near MSP.
Programs: No flights since April 2019 (Medical Issues). Lost all my status.
Posts: 1,483
Originally Posted by cks30 View Post
It will be hell
Imagine the worst non-accident traffic jam you've ever been in, then double it.

My only advice is that you use the toll-ways rather than the free roads. The toll-ways will be moving slightly faster.
RRDD is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 6:01 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: ORD
Programs: UA 1K, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 136
Memorial Day weekend is the first weekend of the summer and, traditionally, all the Chicagoans head to their cabins in Wisconsin on Friday night. On Monday, they will all come home. Traffic from Wisconsin back to Chicago starts backing up at the Wisconsin Dells, which is way north of Madison and crawls all the way back. It's no better if you try to cut across Wisconsin and come down from Milwaukee.

I'm actually not joking when I tell you to plan for around a 5-6 hour commute for what should be less than a 3 hour drive. And that may be cutting it close.
dj506 is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 6:11 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 69
I live off I 90 and I 90 between Rockford and Elgin area 36 mile stretch is under construction
It is a nightmare expect your drive from Madison to Midway to minimum 5 hours. A lot of cars return from Wisconsin Memorial Day Monday so it is bad.
johndadevski is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 7:04 am
  #6  
Used to be 'g_leyser'
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Land of Lightfoot
Programs: AA Plat, AS MVP, HH Dia, Bonvoy Gold, IHG Gold, Reno Air MEGA Platinum
Posts: 9,788
It may be faster to walk.
aisleorwindow is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 8:32 am
  #7  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25,927
Please continue to follow this thread in the Chicago Forum.
Thanks..
Obscure2k
TravelBuzz Moderator
obscure2k is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 9:58 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA Plat, HH Gold, Marriott Amb
Posts: 410
If the weather is nice, traffic will be worse late in the day, since most people will try to linger at the cabin/lake/etc. The earlier you leave, the better off you will be.

90 will most likely be a mess because of the construction. This may seem silly, but you might consider taking I-39 south from Rockford to I-88, then I-294 to I-55 to Midway. Google Maps shows this route as 176 miles, 2:49 as opposed to 153 miles, 2:35 using generic "Madison, WI" as the starting point, your mileage will vary! :-)

Not sure about inbound holiday traffic on I-88, but I would venture a guess it is not nearly as bad as I-90

I-39 is right before the construction, so you will miss the lane reductions, but I am sure the traffic will be backed up way before that.

Google Maps and the traffic layer will probably be your best friend in plotting your route on Memorial Day.
mmayer is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 1:48 pm
  #9  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: MCI
Programs: AA Gold 1MM, AS MVP, UA Silver, WN A-List, Marriott LT Titanium, HH Diamond
Posts: 51,193
What time do you fly into Chicago? Are you visiting friends in Madison...is there some flexibility on when you're actually up there?

If you fly in early AM, then you might be okay...hightail it straight out of town and you might beat most of the rush. If you fly in in the afternoon, I would seriously consider just enjoying one night in downtown Chicago and driving up at 5AM on Saturday. (What's wrong with a night out in Chicago in May? Nuthin!! )

I have absolutely no advice for Monday other than maybe walking back to Chicago.

When I lived in the Chicago area, this is one of the nightmarish traffic scenarios I tried desperately to avoid. We went to Wisconsin two or three times and tried to pick very off-peak weekends to do it.
pinniped is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 3:59 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ORD
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 16,803
I'd suggest you throw in the towel on planning to spend much time in Wisconsin on Monday and just get in the car and hightail it for Chicago as early as you're comfortable getting up.

I did a quick check just now and lots of things here will be open - Art Institute and Museum of Science and Industry, for example, are both open, and the Architectural Foundation boat tours will be operating (and with a fair amount of availability through midday.) The Michigan Avenue stores will be open, so there's lots to do. Restaurants should be open. Even with MD traffic, I can't imagine the trip out to MDW would take more the 45 minutes or so, and from the Museum of S&I you can just head straight out 55th/Garfield and be there in no time.
milepig is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 8:06 pm
  #11  
Moderator: CommunityBuzz!, OMNI, OMNI/PR, and OMNI/Games & FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: ORD (MDW stinks)
Programs: UAMM, AA ExPlat, Marriott lifetime Titanium, IHG Spire/Ambassador
Posts: 23,040
Every Memorial Day/Labor Day & ~15 weekends other times of year I go up to northern Wisconsin (Minocqua/Eagle River area) from greater Chicago. I do EVERYTHING in my power to not drive during prime Friday and prime Sunday hours (or on holidays). For this coming Memorial Day we'll thankfully be able to leave the north shore ~2:30pm, we'll come back either crack of dawn on Monday or hopefully wife & I can clear our Tuesday schedules & we'll drive back on Tuesday.

I-90 is under construction west of Elgin, lots of narrowed 2 lane areas and 45 MPH zones, it is not fun during heavy holiday traffic, let alone with construction.
Originally Posted by bsodc View Post
Trying to figure out how long to allow for the return drive from Madison
If possible, I'd spend a FULL day in Madison on Sunday, then leave ~8:30/9pm (I would probably leave ~10pm if visiting family/friends), and drive to the Schaumburg or ORD area for a cheap hotel, then see Chicago on that Monday.
Sweet Willie is offline  
Old May 22, 13, 11:44 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 2
Thanks

Thanks for all your input. Gives me some perspective. Didn't realize it would be THAT bad, but sounds like it will be. Can probably leave Madison fairly early on Monday for my 6:00pm flight. Any other insight would be appreciated.
bsodc is offline  
Old May 24, 13, 4:04 pm
  #13  
Used to be 'g_leyser'
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Land of Lightfoot
Programs: AA Plat, AS MVP, HH Dia, Bonvoy Gold, IHG Gold, Reno Air MEGA Platinum
Posts: 9,788
Originally Posted by mmayer View Post
If the weather is nice, traffic will be worse late in the day, since most people will try to linger at the cabin/lake/etc. The earlier you leave, the better off you will be.

90 will most likely be a mess because of the construction. This may seem silly, but you might consider taking I-39 south from Rockford to I-88, then I-294 to I-55 to Midway. Google Maps shows this route as 176 miles, 2:49 as opposed to 153 miles, 2:35 using generic "Madison, WI" as the starting point, your mileage will vary! :-)

Not sure about inbound holiday traffic on I-88, but I would venture a guess it is not nearly as bad as I-90

I-39 is right before the construction, so you will miss the lane reductions, but I am sure the traffic will be backed up way before that.

Google Maps and the traffic layer will probably be your best friend in plotting your route on Memorial Day.
Agree with this route completely. (Checking Google Maps first, of course)
aisleorwindow is offline  
Old May 24, 13, 6:02 pm
  #14  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: PHX and LIH
Programs: AA: 2 MM
Posts: 81,422
Originally Posted by dj506 View Post
Memorial Day weekend is the first weekend of the summer and, traditionally, all the Chicagoans head to their cabins in Wisconsin on Friday night. On Monday, they will all come home. Traffic from Wisconsin back to Chicago starts backing up at the Wisconsin Dells, which is way north of Madison and crawls all the way back. It's no better if you try to cut across Wisconsin and come down from Milwaukee.

I'm actually not joking when I tell you to plan for around a 5-6 hour commute for what should be less than a 3 hour drive. And that may be cutting it close.
Wow! I didn't even know I have a cabin in Wisconsin. Perhaps you can let me know where it is so I can make use of it!
ILuvParis is offline  
Old May 27, 13, 2:32 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA Plat, HH Gold, Marriott Amb
Posts: 410
OP, how did it go?

Appears that due to the mediocre weather today, travel on I-90 in Illinois wasn't too bad.
mmayer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread