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Chicago to San Diego drive

2 travelers   /   driving   /   5 days   /   no pets


Chicago to San Diego road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Chicago to San Diego. If you're planning a road trip to San Diego, you can research locations to stop along the way. Traveling with a dog or cat? View pet-friendly stops between Chicago and San Diego. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

customize this trip
 Day 1

10:00 am  start in Chicago
drive for about 5 hours

3:15 pm  Des Moines
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 4:15 pm
drive for about 2 hours

6:23 pm  Omaha
eat at M's Pub
stay overnight and leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 7.5 hours
find more stops

 Day 2

10:00 am  leave from Omaha
drive for about 4 hours

2:00 pm  North Platte
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 3:00 pm
drive for about 4 hours

6:48 pm  Denver
eat at Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen
stay overnight at The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver
leave the next day around 11:00 am

day 2 driving ≈ 8 hours
find more stops

 Day 3

11:00 am  leave from The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver
drive for about 5.5 hours

4:23 pm  Moab
stay overnight and leave the next day around 11:00 am

day 3 driving ≈ 5.5 hours
find more stops

 Day 4

11:00 am  leave from Moab
drive for about 5 hours

4:13 pm  Zion National Park
stay overnight and leave the next day around 9:00 am

day 4 driving ≈ 5 hours
find more stops

 Day 5

9:00 am  leave from Zion National Park
drive for about 2.5 hours

11:41 am  Las Vegas
eat at Giada
stay for about 4 hours and leave at 3:41 pm
drive for about 5 hours

8:33 pm  arrive in San Diego
stay at Hotel Del Coronado

day 5 driving ≈ 7.5 hours
find more stops

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Enter a city to drive through on the way from Chicago to San Diego.
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Where does my trip begin?

Your starting point is Chicago, Illinois.

You can enter an exact street address if you want to get precise directions, but this is optional.



How many cars do we need?

Since there are only 2 travelers, we assume you're driving 1 car. You can adjust the number of people traveling at the top. We assume a maximum of 4 passengers per car, but you can change the number of cars to fit your situation.



Where should I stop along the way?

Des Moines  (18 answers)
    questions about Des Moines:
        What's the best neighborhood in Des Moines for a first time visitor?
        Any good hiking spots in or near Des Moines?
Omaha  (17 answers)
    Henry Doorly Zoo  (8 mentions)
    Joslyn Art Museum  (3 mentions)
    Lauritzen Gardens  (2 mentions)
    The Durham Museum  (2 mentions)
    Omaha Children's Museum  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Omaha:
        M's Pub
        Stokes Grill & Bar Wood Fired Foods
        801 Chophouse at The Paxton
        Lo Sole Mio Ristorante
    questions about Omaha:
        Best free things to do in Omaha?
        Low-key bachelor party activities in Omaha?
        Dog friendly hotels
North Platte  (2 answers)
Denver  (150 answers)
    Denver Museum of Nature and Science  (15 mentions)
    Denver Botanic Gardens  (12 mentions)
    Denver Art Museum  (11 mentions)
    LoDo  (11 mentions)
    Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre  (11 mentions)
    restaurants around Denver:
        Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen
        Rioja
        Acorn
        Root Down
        Bistro Vendome
    hotels around Denver:
        The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa in Denver
        The Crawford Hotel
        Four Seasons Hotel Denver
        Hotel Teatro
        the Curtis Denver - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
    questions about Denver:
        Short, scenic drives from Denver?
        Best resort for advanced skier?
        Activites to do with children ages 7-11
        Top 5 must see attractions in Denver?
        Restaurant for dinner near Coors Field?
Moab  (33 answers)
    Arches National Park  (27 mentions)
    Canyonlands National Park  (17 mentions)
    questions about Moab:
        Seeking Dog Friendly Adventures in Moab?
Zion National Park  (73 mentions)
    questions about Zion National Park:
        When is the best time to visit/hike Zion national park?
        Canyoneer boots, Keen sandals, or old tennis shoes for Narrows hike?
        What's the best time of year to hike in Zion?
        Poisonous plants/ Venomous animals in Zion Canyon
        Are hiking boots necessary now if I hike Angels Landing
Las Vegas  (273 answers)
    Downtown Container Park  (15 mentions)
    Fremont Street Experience  (15 mentions)
    High Roller  (10 mentions)
    The Mob Museum  (8 mentions)
    Neon Museum  (8 mentions)
    restaurants around Las Vegas:
        Giada
        Mon Ami Gabi
        Wicked Spoon
        Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino
        Lotus of Siam
    questions about Las Vegas:
        Best new restaurants in Vegas?
        What time of year is the best for scoring a cheap deals in Las Vegas
        Best tips and casinos for first time gambler?
        Is it better to stay on or off the Las Vegas strip?
        Top things to do in Las Vegas that don't include gambling?




Where does my trip end?

Your final destination is San Diego, California.

You can enter the exact street address of your destination, but this is optional.



Where's the best place to stay in San Diego?

Are you going straight to a hotel, or looking for a vacation rental or Airbnb?

The best resource on neighborhoods, areas, and hotels is the Trippy page on where to stay in San Diego.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Hotel Del Coronado, which was mentioned 28 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Glorietta Bay Inn  (2 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in San Diego? Click the blue button below.





Where's the best place to eat in San Diego?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest The Prado at Balboa Park, which was mentioned 10 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Hash House a-Go-Go  (10 mentions)
Extraordinary Desserts  (6 mentions)
Juniper & Ivy  (5 mentions)
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery  (5 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in San Diego? Click the blue button below.





What are some things to do in San Diego?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

Balboa Park  (40 mentions)
San Diego Zoo  (25 mentions)
Mission Beach  (25 mentions)
Old Town San Diego  (16 mentions)
Ocean Beach  (16 mentions)

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about San Diego. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Holly from Calgary asked:
Fun for a family with small children (NOT Disneyland!)  (11 answers)

profile  Beverly from San Luis Obispo asked:
Weekend road trip from LA to San Diego  (8 answers)

profile  Liv from Cape Cod asked:
Wondering which beach is better to stay at? Ocean Beach or Mission Beach?  (8 answers)

profile  Lily from Los Angeles asked:
Restaurant & activities ideas for couples weekend getaway in San Diego  (8 answers)

profile  Kenneth from Portland asked:
Best burritos in San Diego?  (7 answers)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to San Diego.





Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a San Diego to Chicago drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Chicago to San Diego. Or get a full Chicago to San Diego flight plan.

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend. Maybe try typing in a faraway location like London, Hong Kong, or Sydney, and get inspired for your dream trip around the world.

And if you know Chicago well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Chicago!






Return to top of page
At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 2,077 miles
driving time of 29 hours, 25 minutes
San Diego is 2 hours behind Chicago
270 Chicago travel answers
18 Des Moines travel answers
17 Omaha travel answers
2 North Platte travel answers
150 Denver travel answers
33 Moab travel answers
273 Las Vegas travel answers
219 San Diego travel answers





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