Getting to and from O’Hare Airport. O’Hare International Airport is about 17.5 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. There are multiple transportation options available to and from the city: public transit, airport shuttles, taxicabs, car rental, biking and Uber.
O’hare has information booths in all four terminals; most are on the baggage claim level. The hours are daily 9am to 8pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
The least expensive and fastest option is to take the CTA Blue Line L train (the “L” as in elevated) to/from the city. How to ride the CTA here.
It takes about 40 minutes and trains run every 6 to 10 minutes during the day and early evening, and every half-hour at night. The CTA is located in Terminal 3 on the baggage level. If you are in another terminal take the ATS (Airport Transit System) aka the People Mover to Terminal 3.
Airport Transit System
The Airport Transit System (ATS) is a quick and convenient way to get around O’Hare International Airport. The ATS is a free, 24-hour rail system that operates between the three domestic terminals (1, 2 and 3), the international terminal (5), all parking facilities, the Kiss ‘n’ Fly drop-off point, and the PACE Bus stop.
The CTA makes several stops downtown at Clark and Lake, Washington and Jackson. If you are staying outside of the Loop you may have to connect to another train or bus. Check CTA routes and schedules here.
Uber is generally less expensive than a taxi unless you’re under surge pricing.There are 4 terminals at ORD. Choose your pickup location when prompted by the app. If you’re unsure of your terminal number, check the signs posted outside.
There are two ways to meet your driver.
- Riders requesting uberX, uberXL, and UberSELECT must meet their driver upstairs on the Departures level. Be sure to meet your driver in the posted “Rideshare Pick Up” zone.
- Riders requesting UberBLACK or those in the International Terminal (5) must meet their driver downstairs on the Arrivals level.
When requesting a ride at the airport, you’ll be asked to confirm your terminal number and vestibule. Be sure to meet your driver at the “Rideshare Pick Up” sign nearest to your terminal. Uber recommends contacting your driver using the app to confirm your pickup location.
GO Airport Express offers daily, door-to-door service to/from O’Hare and most city and suburban neighborhoods. The shuttles start running around 4:30AM and depart approximately every 10 to 15 minutes from each terminal. The last GO Airport Express van leaves O’Hare at 11:30PM seven nights a week. The cost to and from the airport varies by destination and method of payment (purchase ahead or at he the counter in the airport) but is approximately $32 one-way from O’Hare and $29 to O’Hare. Group rates for two or more people traveling together are less expensive per person. Children under age 6 ride for free and children ages 6 to 12 ride for $15 each.
Lift-equipped vehicles are available on request for passengers with disabilities. Advanced notice is strongly suggested. To contact Go Airport Express, call 773-247-1200 or 888-284-3826, or visit their website.
If you sign up for a Go Airport Express account they will send you a 10% coupon code from time to time. Also google Go Airport Express promo code for a link. You can usually save a couple bucks per ride.
Members of AAA receive a 10% discount. You will have to provide your AAA membership number.
Location: Shuttles pick up outside the baggage claim areas in the innermost lane of the lower level roadways of the Domestic and International Terminals.
Ticket counters and loading zones for boarding the GO Airport Express van are at the following locations:
- Terminal 1 – Door 1E across from baggage claim 6
- Terminal 2 – Door 2E across from Jet Blue Baggage Claim
- Terminal 3 – Door 3E across from baggage claim 9
- Terminal 5 – Outside Customs just outside door 5E.
If you do not see a van and there’s no one manning the ticket counter, call their toll-free number at 1-888-284-3826, and ask a reservation person to send a van to one of these locations when available.
Tickets can also be purchased at self-serve kiosks located in the baggage claim areas 1E. 2E, 3E and outside door 5D. You can also reserve online, through their free app or call 888-284-3826.
Depending on the time of day the drive to or from downtown can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours. During the morning and afternoon rush hours, during a weather event such as rain or snow, or if there is major construction going on the ride out to or from O’Hare can take as long as two hours. Chicago taxi meters are based on time and distance. The longer you sit in traffic the higher the fare. A cab ride to downtown will cost about around $35 and up plus tip, depending on traffic.
There are Taxi Stands at the lower-level curb front (outside of baggage claim) at each terminal. The city advises that you use the designated Taxi Stands to ensure you have a licensed driver. For your protection, per the City of Chicago, do not accept rides from drivers outside the cab stand or on the departure level (second level) of the terminal roadways. All taxis should have a working meter to calculate the fare based on time and mileage. You can pay with cash or credit card.
Depending on the day and time the line for a taxi can be excruciatingly long (see photo above from 3PM on a recent Sunday) so if it’s not late at night do yourself a favor and take the L.
For current fare information, please check the City of Chicago taxi passenger information website. For wheelchair accessible vehicles, please call: 1-855-WAV-1010.
Shared taxi ride service is available to those who wish to share a ride and pay a flat rate to certain destinations if multiple parties are available for the trip. Shared ride fares from O’Hare include:
- Downtown ($24 per person)
- McCormick Place ($24 per person)
- Midway International Airport ($37 per person)
You don’t need a car in downtown Chicago. Overnight valet parking at most hotels can be as high as $65 or more per night. Virtually every areas of the city is served by some form of public transportation. If not you can use Uber or taxicabs.
If you do rent a car you will need to catch a shuttle bus to the offsite rental locations. All the shuttles pick up in the baggage area of Terminals 1,2, and 3. If you are arriving at or departing from Terminal 5 you can contact the companies using courtesy telephones; they also offer courtesy buses to various pick-up/drop-off areas.
The following car rental companies are present at the airport:
Apparently you can bike to the airport by either securing your bike at the nearest CTA Blue line station and taking the train to O’Hare, or bike all the way to the airport and board at the Airport Transit System (ATS) terminal in Remote Parking Lot E. Outdoor bike racks are provided at the north and south ends of the ATS Terminal. I’m not clear on how long you can leave your bike there and how you bike with luggage but there it is.