In this post, we cover how to reach downtown Chicago from Midway International Airport (MDW).
For more details about visiting the windy city, consider reading our Chicago Visitors Guide for budget tips, details about popular attractions, and travel guides.
- Train Service
- Bus/Shuttle Van
- Private Car/SUV
- Drive Yourself
- Chicago Public Transportation
If you are flying into or out of O'Hare International Airport, click here for a post on that.
Midway International Airport is located roughly 12 miles (20 km) from the center of downtown Chicago.
In low to moderate traffic, you can expect a drive to take roughly 30 minutes.
Take the Train From Midway
Those coming on international flights can reach the ‘L’ by following the signs to the Airport Transit System (ATS) where they can get a free train ride to Terminal 2.
From there they can locate the “CTA Trains” to the city. This is Chicago's subway system.
From Midway Airport to downtown the train ride (Orange Line) should take only about 25 minutes and the fare should be around $2.25.
For more details about taking the train in this city, please read our post about navigating Chicago Public Transportation.
Bus/Van Shared Shuttle
The following section provides details about both bus and van shuttles you can use to get from Midway International Airport to downtown Chicago.
If you’re interested in using one of these services, you can find the pickup points just outside the baggage claim area on the lower level roadways of both domestic and international terminals at Door 3.
GO Airport Shuttle
When it comes to van shuttles from Chicago airports to the city center, few services are as popular as this, and they offer transportation directly to many downtown hotels.
You are allowed 1 standard-sized suitcase and carry-on bag, but you may need a private van if you have any additional baggage.
To ensure the safety of your baggage, they will never remove it from your presence.
- $27 per person
- Availability: 24 hrs/day
- Duration: 45 - 60 minutes
This bus shuttle offers airport transfers to and from Midway International Airport.
Customers can bring up to 2 bags for free, but additional baggage may cost a bit more.
The best feature of this service is that they provide drop-offs in several locations in both Indiana and Illinois.
- Prices start at $19
- Availability: Daily
- Duration: 1 - 4 hours (depending on drop-off point)
- Purchase tickets or learn more.
If you’re looking for an alternative to bus/van shuttles, there are many private services in the windy city.
In this section, we’ll provide details about each of the private cars you can take from Midway to Downtown Chicago.
There is a wide range of companies providing this service and prices range from $25-$45 per person on average depending on which one you pick.
Many private transfers ask you to pay a flat fee for the service, but they don’t charge more for additional passengers up to a specific limit.
Here are a few of the best options and the number of passengers allowed per group below.
Private Midway Transfers
- $146.40 per group of up to 3
- $48.80 per person
- Availability: 24 hours/day
- Duration: 20-40 minutes
- $125 per group of up to 7
- $17.86 per person
- Availability: 24 hours/day
- Duration: 30-60 minutes
- $181.25 per group of 6
- $30.20 per person
- Availability: 24 hours/day
- Duration: 35-50 minutes
Taxi or Uber/Lyft Rideshares
Outside of the airport terminal, there will be people waiting to get you into a car and head to your destination without too much of a wait.
From Midway International, the taxi fare should be approximately $40 + tip and take 20 – 30 minutes.
There are flat rates for shared taxis from both airports, so if you ride with at least one other passenger, you can save a bit of money.
This option is only $18 per person from Midway.
Check the City of Chicago’s taxi passenger information page for help calculating how much it will cost to get from the airport to your hotel or other destinations downtown.
Grab an Uber/Lyft
If you’re interested in shared rides, you can also use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft to get from Midway International Airport to downtown Chicago.
This typically costs about $25 from Midway International Airport.
After scheduling your Uber or Lyft, you can find the pickup point where your driver will arrive by following the Rideshare Pickup sign nearest to your terminal.
You’ll have to download either app onto your smartphone to use these rideshare services.
Both of these discount sites usually offer airport transfers, and sometimes they also have additional coupon codes (often an extra 10% - 20% off) which can save you even more money.
Check both the top and bottom of the page for banners that could include coupons you can use to increase your discount.
Although there aren’t currently any passes that offer transfers from the airport to downtown hotels, you should keep in mind that you can use a tourist pass to get 20% - 50% off tickets for many popular attractions in Chicago.
Whether you’re coming here on vacation or you have a bit of time to explore the city, these passes are a great way to help you stick to a budget.
For anyone short on time, consider a "build your own pass" option to save 20% off 2 or more attractions.
This is the easiest choice for anyone who plans to visit only a few locations in the windy city because you can save money without getting carried away.
That said, if you want to see a lot of museums or cultural landmarks while you’re in Chicago, an all-inclusive or pick-your-attraction pass may be more to your liking.
All-inclusive passes cover admission to dozens of attractions for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, or 5 days). The more you use the pass, the more money you’ll save.
In order to save at least 50% off General Admission prices with this pass, it’s important to use it for around 4-5 attractions per day.
On the other hand, pick-your-attraction passes give you one flat price for a set number of activities (3, 4, or 5).
The best deal you can get with this pass is about $24 per activity.
While that’s definitely a great deal for anything that usually costs $40-$60 or more, a build-your-own-pass is better for anything cheaper than $20.
Here are a few of the best attractions included with Chicago tourist passes:
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tour |
- Architecture River Cruise |
- Navy Pier 4-Ride Pass |
- Art Institute of Chicago |
- Adler Planetarium |
- SkyDeck Chicago |
- Tall Ship Cruise |
- Brookfield Zoo |
- Field Museum |
- LEGOLAND |
- And more!
For more information, check our post covering Chicago tourist passes.
Driving yourself to anywhere is always a great choice considering the comfort and privacy it provides.
At a short distance from the terminal, you can find the Midway car rental facility (5150 W 55th Street).
Shuttle buses for rental cars facility leave from the airport terminal's Lower Level Door #2 for this location.
The shuttle bus service is available round the clock in every 15 minutes.
You can rent the car using the link here.
The price and hours of operation differ depending on where and when you park in Chicago.
Hourly parking rates may range from $2.50 to $7 per hour.
Quickest way to get to Downtown from Midway Airport is via I-55 N. Total distance from Airport to Downtown is 11 miles and it roughly takes 20-25 minutes to complete the journey.
- Exit from Midway International Airport
- Get on I-55 N/Stevenson Expy from S Cicero Ave
- Continue on I-55 N/Stevenson Expy. Take Exit 292A to W Ida B. Wells Dr
- Continue on W Ida B. Wells Dr. Drive to East Ida B. Wells Drive
- You will reach Downtown Chicago
If you want to reach Downtown by your own, you can take the help from Google map below.