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Chicago to San Francisco drive

(tap on any row to expand for more details)

  Chicago
 Des Moines
 Omaha
 North Platte
 Cheyenne
 Rock Springs
 Salt Lake City
 Elko
 Lake Tahoe
   San Francisco 
2 travelers   /   driving   /   5 days   /   no pets   /   no RV

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Chicago to San Francisco road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Chicago to San Francisco. If you're planning a road trip to San Francisco, you can research locations to stop along the way. Traveling with a dog or cat? View pet-friendly stops between Chicago and San Francisco. Camping along the way? View RV campgrounds between Chicago and San Francisco. 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 3.5 hours

6:28 pm  Cheyenne
stay overnight and leave the next day around 11:00 am

day 2 driving ≈ 7.5 hours
find more stops

 Day 3

11:00 am  leave from Cheyenne
drive for about 3.5 hours

2:39 pm  Rock Springs
stay overnight and leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 3 driving ≈ 3.5 hours
find more stops

 Day 4

10:00 am  leave from Rock Springs
drive for about 3 hours

12:48 pm  Salt Lake City
stay for about 1.5 hours
and leave at 2:18 pm
drive for about 3.5 hours

5:35 pm  Elko
stay overnight and leave the next day around 9:00 am

day 4 driving ≈ 6 hours
find more stops

 Day 5

9:00 am  leave from Elko
drive for about 5.5 hours

2:20 pm  Lake Tahoe
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 3:20 pm
drive for about 4 hours

7:28 pm  arrive in San Francisco
eat at Ike's Place
stay at Top of the Mark

day 5 driving ≈ 9.5 hours
find more stops

drive this trip in  


  Change your route
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Enter a city to drive through on the way from Chicago to San Francisco.
Via:
 

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?
        Dog friendly hotels

North Platte  (2 answers)

Cheyenne  (13 answers)
    questions about Cheyenne:
        Driving from Kennesaw ga to Cheyenne wy
        What are some "must see" places in Cheyenne.

Rock Springs  (2 answers)

Salt Lake City  (63 answers)
    Temple Square  (8 mentions)
    Liberty Park  (5 mentions)
    Tracy Aviary  (3 mentions)
    Red Butte Garden & Arboretum  (2 mentions)
    The Beehive House  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Salt Lake City:
        Red Iguana
        Maxwell's East Coast Eatery
        Pig and A Jelly Jar
    questions about Salt Lake City:
        What is your favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City?
        What's the best, cant-miss meal in Salt Lake City?
        Centrally-Located Hotels in Salt Lake City?
        Winter time activities in Salt Lake City
        Places to bar hop and night life in SLC?

Elko  (5 answers)

Lake Tahoe  (41 answers)
    Emerald Bay  (6 mentions)
    Heavenly Mountain Resort  (2 mentions)
    questions about Lake Tahoe:
        Non-snow-related things to do in Lake Tahoe
        Looking for breweries, hikes and restaurants around Lake Tahoe.
        Best part of Lake Tahoe to stay
        Hotel, inns, or cabin rental recommendations in Lake Tahoe?
        What to see, eat, and do in Lake Tahoe?


Where does my trip end?

Your final destination is San Francisco, California.

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


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

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 Francisco.

You can also see most people recommend as the best amount of time to visit. Find out how many days in San Francisco to stay.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Top of the Mark, which was mentioned 13 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Hotel Vitale  (8 mentions)
Cavallo Point  (4 mentions)

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




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

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Ike's Place, which was mentioned 23 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Swan Oyster Depot  (22 mentions)
Kokkari Estiatorio  (21 mentions)
Tartine bakery  (20 mentions)

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




What are some things to do in San Francisco?

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:

Golden Gate Bridge  (130 mentions)
Golden Gate Park  (112 mentions)
Alcatraz  (85 mentions)
Fisherman's Wharf  (82 mentions)
Union Square  (79 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 Francisco. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Jessica from asked:
Best seafood restaurant in S.F.?  (29 answers)

profile  Dina from Dallas asked:
What are the top 5 can't miss tourist attractions in S.F.?  (20 answers)

profile  Julie from Atlanta asked:
Best activities for kids  (19 answers)

profile  Valerie from Los Angeles asked:
What is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?  (19 answers)

profile  harmony from Marina Del Rey asked:
Any restaurant recommendations greatly appreciated for a girls trip  (17 answers)

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




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 Francisco 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 Francisco. Or get a full Chicago to San Francisco 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!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 2,127 miles
driving time of 31 hours, 6 minutes
San Francisco is 2 hours behind Chicago
278 Chicago travel answers
18 Des Moines travel answers
17 Omaha travel answers
2 North Platte travel answers
13 Cheyenne travel answers
2 Rock Springs travel answers
63 Salt Lake City travel answers
5 Elko travel answers
41 Lake Tahoe travel answers
606 San Francisco travel answers





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