Need to get to or from Chicago’s two airports? Both O’Hare and Midway International Airports serve as accessible hubs for transportation that can take you into downtown Chicago, the surrounding suburbs, and the Midwest region. Check out the various public and private transportation options available at both O’Hare and Midway.
Blue Line train between O’Hare Airport and downtown Loop
O’Hare Airport offers plenty of affordable public transit options. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates a network of trains and buses that connect the city’s neighborhoods, as well as both airports.
The CTA’s Blue Line ‘L’ (elevated) train offers 24-hour service to and from O’Hare, the downtown Loop and Chicago’s neighborhoods. Plane passengers can walk through O’Hare’s newly renovated pedestrian tunnels from Terminals 1-2-3 to reach the Blue Line station, following the overhead signs for “Trains to City.” From Terminal 5, passengers can take the free shuttle known as the Airport Transit System (ATS) to the main terminal complex.
CTA fares can be paid with cash or credit at vending machines outside the Blue Line station. Or tap your phone to use the contactless bank card on your mobile device to pay as you go.
Regional public transit from O’Hare
Metra offers commuter train service throughout the Chicagoland area. Metra’s North Central Service train line offers weekday service connecting downtown Chicago’s Union Station to the north central suburbs. Travelers coming from O’Hare can use the O’Hare Transfer Station to access Metra’s North Central Service trains to downtown or the suburbs. Tickets can be purchased in cash from the conductor on the train, and fares are based on travel between zones.
Pace is the Chicago area’s suburban bus system, part of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). At O’Hare, the Pace drop-off/pick-up location is within the Multi-Modal Facility. Cash is accepted on Pace buses. Several regional buses can transport passengers from O’Hare to areas in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin from the Bus/Shuttle Center.
Orange Line train between Midway Airport and downtown Loop
Midway Airport also offers several options for public transit. The CTA’s Orange Line ‘L’ train service operates between Midway and downtown Chicago’s Loop from approximately 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on weekdays (4 a.m. on weekends). The fully accessible Orange Line train station is located at the Midway Transportation Center, connected to the airport via an enclosed walkway. CTA fares can be paid with cash or credit at vending machines outside the Orange Line station.
Other public transportation at Midway
The CTA offers nine bus routes that serve Midway, dropping off and picking up passengers at the Midway Transportation Center. Seven suburban Pace bus routes service Midway, with drop-off and pick-up locations conveniently located near the Midway Transportation Center. There are also several regional buses that transport passengers from Midway to towns in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Taxi, limo, and rideshare services are easily accessible at both O’Hare and Midway airports. At O’Hare, taxi stands are located outside of Baggage Claim at each terminal. Pre-arranged limos can pick up passengers at designated areas on the lower-level center lane (Lane 2) or the Baggage Claim area. Rideshare drivers pick up passengers from the Terminal 2 upper level and in Terminal 5 at the lower-level Door 5B.
At Midway, taxi stands are located on the lower level of all terminals. Pre-arranged limos can pick up passengers at designated areas on the lower-level center lane or the Baggage Claim area. The loading zone for rideshare services is on the lower level outside of Baggage Claim.
At O’Hare, rental cars are located within the Multi-Modal Facility. Rental cars at Midway’s nearby Rental Car Facility are reached via a 24-hour shuttle. Rental cars are a great option for exploring Chicago or taking off on a Midwest adventure, such as a cruise along historic Route 66, which originates in downtown Chicago!
Learn more about transportation options at O’Hare and Midway International Airports.