This post is about how to get to downtown Chicago from O’Hare International Airport. If you’re flying in or out of Midway, we have a post on that as well.
The Chicago Transit Authority is open 24/7 and the Blue Line will take you all the way from the airport to the center of town. This is probably one of the cheapest ways to get you to your destination.
You’ll save on parking and rental fees if you’re renting a car and taxi fares in the process.
The Blue Line ‘L’ train will take you from O’Hare to downtown in about 45 minutes for about $5.00.
You can get the Blue Line from Terminals 1, 2, and 3 easily by just following the signs posted at the airport that say “CTA Trains” or “Trains to the City.” It’s an easy walk from the baggage claim to the train in just a matter of minutes.
This section will cover some of the best shuttle services available in Chicago. These shuttles depart from the airport every 10-15 minutes servicing many of Chicago’s downtown hotels.
If you’re looking for the shuttle pick-up point, you can find it just outside the baggage claim area at Door 1E for terminal 1, Door 2E for terminal 2, Door 3E for terminal 3, and Door 5E for terminal 5.
This is one of the most popular shuttle services from Chicago airports to the city center, and they offer direct transportation to most downtown hotels.
Customers are allowed 1 standard-sized suitcase and carry-on each, but anything extra may require a private van. In order to ensure the safety of your baggage, it will not be taken from your presence at any time.
This bus service provides airport transfers to and from both O’Hare and Midway. Customers are permitted up to 2 bags for free, but any additional baggage may cost extra.
The nice thing about this option is that they offer drop-offs in several locations in both Illinois and Indiana.
If you’re looking for a private alternative to shuttles, there are many options to choose from. This section will cover each of the private cars and limos you can take from O’Hare or Midway to Downtown Chicago.
There are several different companies providing this service. Prices range from $25-$45 per person on average depending on which option you choose.
Most private transfers will require you to pay a flat fee for the service, but they won’t charge anything more for additional passengers up to a certain limit.
We’ll cover some of the best options and how many people are allowed per group below.
Outside of the airport terminal, dispatchers are waiting to get you into a car and headed to your destination without too much waiting or hassles.
From O’Hare international, the taxi fare will be approximately $50 + tip and should take about 35 minutes. If you choose to travel with one additional passenger, there is a flat rate of $24 per person for shared taxis.
Visit the City of Chicago’s taxi passenger information page for details on calculating the cost from the airport to your final destination.
Speaking of shared rides, you can also use a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft to get from either airport to downtown Chicago.
This service will set you back about $30 from O’Hare International Airport. In order to find your Uber or Lyft driver, make sure to follow the Rideshare Pickup sign nearest to your terminal.
It will be necessary to download either app onto your smartphone in order to use these rideshare options.
This section lists the two places you can easily find transportation discounts.
Both of these discount sites frequently offer airport transfers, and they also provide additional coupon codes (typically an additional 10% – 20% off) you can use to save even more money.
Make sure to check both the top and bottom of the page for banners that may include coupons you can use to increase the amount of your discount!
While there aren’t any passes that include transfers from the airport to the city center, it’s worth noting that you can use a tourist pass to save money on several popular activities in Chicago.
If you’re visiting on vacation or you have some time to explore the city, these services could be a great way to ensure you stick to a budget.
For those short on time, you may want to consider a build your own pass option, which allows you to save 20% off 2 or more attractions.
This is the easiest option for anyone who only plans to visit a few locations while in Chicago, as you can save a few bucks without getting carried away.
Of course, if you want to see a lot of attractions while you’re in the windy city, you may want to consider either an all-inclusive or pick your attraction option.
All-inclusive passes include admission to dozens of activities for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, or 5 days). The more you use the pass, the more money you’ll save overall.
If you want to save 50% or more off general admission prices with this pass, it will be important to use it for at least 4-5 attractions per day.
Alternatively, the pick your attraction pass will allow you to pay one flat price for a set number of activities (3, 4, or 5).
At its best, you’ll only pay about $24 per activity with this pass. While that would obviously be a great deal for services $40-$60 or more, you might want to consider a build-your-own-pass for anything that’s already somewhat affordable.
Here are a few of the most popular attractions included with these tourist passes:
For more details, please read our post covering Chicago tourist passes.