Chicago's Major Airports

...All the information you need to get through
these very busy airports

Are you planning a trip to Chicago? People located in the Chicago area can use the Metra trains or dive, but most people coming to visit Chicago will be flying in.

Chicago is a major transportation hub and is served by two major airports, O'Hare and Midway Airports. Both are great, but I would choose Midway because the check in and security is better and everything moves faster.

O'Hare International Airport

O'Hare Airport or just O'Hare is one of the major airports located in the northwestern corner of Chicago and is 17 miles northwest of the Loop.

There are four terminals -
  • Terminal 1 - Houses the United Airlines hub
    (Concourse B - 23 gates & Concourse C - 30 gates)

  • Terminal 2 - Houses US Airways, Air Canada, and Delta Air Lines
    (Concourse E - 16 gates & Concourse F - 22 gates)

  • Terminal 3 - Houses the American Airlines hub
    (Concourse G - 26 gates, Concourse H - 21 gates, Concourse K - 22 gates,
    Concourse L - 11 gates)

  • Terminal "5" - Is where all international arrivals are processed, which also handles most non-US carriers and certain domestic low-cost carriers.
    (Concourse M - 21 gates)

All four of these terminals are filled with restaurants, small shops, and other services for people arriving or departing. All the terminals are inter-connected very well, so getting around to different areas in O'Hare is very easy most of the time.

O'Hare Airports Dining

Because O'Hare is one of the world's busiest airports, there are not just a lot of travelers, but there are a lot of hungry travelers! Because of this, O'Hare has many great restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Tortas Frontera, Wicker Park Sushi Bar, and many more.

There are also many small snack shops and stands where you can pick up food and drinks if you are short on time and need something quickly, because flying with no energy is a horrible experience.

For a list of all the dining options visit

Getting to O'Hare Airport

O'Hare is located very close to major highways, so getting there by bus, truck, or car is very easy. Just take I-90 (Kennedy Expressway), or, cars can also get in locally from Mannheim Road.

When you arrive, O'Hare has large facilities for short or long term parking.

The subway trains from the "Blue Line" of the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' depart the terminal from a station underground and is a fast and easy way to get to O'Hare.

Speaking about trains, the Metra commuter trains stop at the O'Hare Transfer station and when you get there, you can take a shuttle bus to get to the Airport Transit System.

As you can see, there are many ways to get to O'Hare and all of them will get you to O'Hare fast and easy mainly because of O'Hare's great location.

Car Rentals

If you want to rent a car, you will find the rental car agencies located near where you pick up your bags at Terminals 1-3. If you are arriving at or departing from Terminal 5 you can contact the rental companies by using the available telephones or using the available buses to various pick-up and drop-off areas.

The rental car agencies that are available to you at the airport include:
  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Thrifty

O'Hare Airport Car Parking

The charges for parking at O'Hare depends on how long you plan to keep your car parked. There are two sets of rates for lots A, B, and C which are daily and hourly.

When deciding where to park, you have four choices: International Lot D, the Valet Parking Lot and Economy Lots E and F.

If you choose the Economy Lot E, you can park and walk to the ATS station, where they will take you to the terminals. You can also take a shuttle bus.

TIP: Leave a half an hour early so you can get to terminals without any problems.

If it’s Economy Lot F you choose instead, then you must get on a shuttle bus that will transport you to the ATS station where you can get to the terminals.

The International Parking Lot D is where you would park if you will be parking for less than three hours and also provides short-term parking for those meeting people at the International Terminal Five.

The Main parking Lot

Then of course, there is the Main Parking Lot, where you will need to decide between the hourly, daily, and valet rates.

Hourly Parking - Located on level one of the garage and is not recommended if you are staying over three hours because it will start to get expensive.

Daily Parking - Located on levels two, three, four, five, and six. It's a pretty short walk to terminals one, two, and three.

Valet Parking - For close access to the terminals one, two, and three - there are two drop off locations on level one.

The Cell Phone Lots

There are also Cell Phone Lots where you are allowed to park free of charge until family, friends, or business associates have collected their bags and telephoned to be picked up.

The whole purpose of these parking lots is to reduce the traffic at the arrivals sections, as well as preventing cars from having to circle around the airport multiple times.

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Midway International Airport

Located on the Chicago's southwest side, eight miles from the Loop, Midway Airport or just Midway is the other major airport in the Chicagoland area.

At Midway, there are three concourses that serve three major airlines where are Continental, Delta, and Southwest, which is the carrier that is transporting the most passengers from Midway.

The airport provides many great shops and restaurants to cater for all your needs. For disabled travelers and for treating medical emergencies, there are facilities and services that are available as well.

Midway Dining

There are many great places to grab a bite to eat while waiting at Midway. There are different restaurants at each concourse and the Midway Triangle.

The majority of the restaurants are located at the Midway Triangle. These restaurants include:

  • Ben and Jerry's
  • Gold Coast Dogs
  • Harry Carray's
  • Hudson's Euro Cafe
  • Illinois Bar and Grill
  • King Wah Express
  • Lalo's Mexican Restaurant
  • Pegasus On the Fly
  • Potbelly's
  • Reilly's Daughter
  • Nuts on Clark

The three concourses (except for concourse C) also has dining options - these include:

Concourse A -

  • Barista
  • e@t&
  • Get Snacked
  • Halsted St. Tap
  • Manny's
  • Tuscany

Concourse B -

  • McDonalds
  • Let Them Eat Cake
  • Luigi Stefani Pizzeria
  • Manny's Express
  • Miller's Pub
  • Oak Street Beach Cafe
  • Red Mango
  • Sprigs
  • Taylor Street Market

Getting to Midway Airport

Getting to Midway is quiet easy, since Midway is less than 30 minutes to reach using the Chicago Transit Authority "Orange Line" transportation, which includes buses, suburban, and downtown shuttles.

If you are planning on driving to Midway, with their being short and long-term parking available, it is very easily accessible by car. Also Midway's parking garage offers direct access to the airport’s terminal building, so everything is connected and easy to access.

Hourly between 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, a shuttle bus connects Midway Airport with O’Hare Airport, so if for some reason you need to get to either major airport you can quite easily.

Car Rentals

Probably the best and most reliable way to get around Chicago is renting a car. If you decide to rent a car, pre-booking the car you desire makes it available to you no matter what.

There are a great variety of car rental firms that Midway provides just like it's big bother O'Hare which include:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Thrifty

Most of the car rental firms above provide vehicles for people with mobility impairments, but if you need a vehicle, make sure to notify them of this requirement two to three days before to make sure there are no problems.

Midway Airport Car Parking

If you are driving to the airport, you will need a place to put or car until you get back. Midway Airport operates hourly and daily parking located just east of Cicero Avenue between 55th and 59th Streets.

If you want Economy Parking, you can get that in three different locations - east and west of Cicero Avenue and on 55th Street.

As for the parking fees, they are based on the time your vehicle is parked. The rate calculations are also based on the area you are parked in, so make sure you calculate what you will owe so everything is covered.

Hourly Parking - You will find the hourly parking area on the first floor of the parking garage. The first floor of the parking garage is close to the terminal, which is east of Cicero Avenue.

You can only park in the parking garage for three hours or less, and it's not for overnight parking. Because of this the hourly parking is for dropping off or picking up people.

Daily Parking - The 4th, 5th, and 6th levels of the parking garage are available if you want daily parking, and is also very close to the airport terminal. If you need rental car pick-up or drop-off, then head up to the 2nd level of the parking garage.

Economy Lots and Garage - East of Cicero Avenue and West of Cicero Avenue on 55th Street is where you will find the Lots and Garage.

Both have a Shuttle Bus Service that you can use to get to the terminal building (They are open 24/7 and depart every 15 minutes). Don't forget to remember the shuttle bus number so that you can find where you parked when you return.

Disabled Traveler Parking - If you are disabled or have disabled friends or family that are traveling with you, head over to the parking garage, next to the main terminal.

There are three elevators that will take you to the 3rd Level to get to the terminal, which is also called the pedestrian bridge. For more information please call (1)773-838-0756.

Need to Park Longer than 30 Days?

If you know for a fact that you will be parking for longer than 30 days, make sure you make the correct arrangements in advance by calling (1)773-838-0756.

If you don't make the correct arrangements and leave your vehicle parked, it will be towed because it will be considered abandoned. That is something you don't want to come back to, so please, take care of this before you leave.

Cell Phone Lot

The Cell Phone Lot is the same as O'Hare Airports in that you are temporary able to have free parking to collect your luggage and get transportation. The Cell Phone lot at Midway has 90 spaces open and is located at 61st and Cicero Avenue, which is south of the main entrance.

Large Vehicles

If you are diving a mobile home, trailer, semi-truck, or any vehicle that takes up more than one parking space, you CAN'T park in the Midway Airport parking areas.

The clearance to park at the Main Parking area is 7'2" and the clearance at the Economy Parking Garage is 8'2". If your vehicle is above the clearance then you CAN'T park.

For more information about Midway or O'Hare Airport, check out