Chicago Transportation Guide + 5 Cool Places to Visit

Chicago is the 3-rd largest city in the US. Even though the city is huge it is quite easy to navigate by driving, walking, cycling, taxi, and public transportation.

Midway and O’Hare’s airports are two main airports in Chicago. They are strategically located and accessible to various modes of transportation. An interesting fact is that for the last year O’Hare had more than 900,000 departures and arrivals which makes it the busiest airport in the country.

Ways to Get to Chicago Downtown from O’Hare or Midway Airports

One thing is clear, you should definitely find a reliable and suitable mode of transport from the airport to downtown or any other location.

The good news is that there are plenty of options available for getting around Chicago from the two main airports. Even though our guide is quite comprehensive, you should do some digging online by yourself. Let’s give you a kick start. Here are some of the common transportation modes:

Car Rental Services

There are plenty of companies in Chicago offering car rental services to the visitors landing in the city. They have offices at the O’Hare and Midway airport besides downtown.

The good news is that you can use the foreign driver’s license to hit the road with a hired car. Also, you can opt to use an international driver’s license since it is also recognized the laws of the United States.

Visit the agency’s office offering the car rental services and pick the car of your choice. You should note that each model of the car tends to cost differently depending on the company.

The good thing when it comes to renting a car is that it gives you the most flexibility among all of the other options on the list.

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Limo Services

Both O’Hare and Midway airports have offices of companies that offer limo services to executive visitors or people who love the luxury ride. There is a staggering amount of companies on the market. According to research from SUV Chicago Limo, there are more than 500 active limo companies based in Chicago and its suburbs.

The cost of a limo trip from the airport depends on a lot of factors. One of the main aspects of the pricing is what vehicles you are going to book, the most popular ones are luxury sedans and SUVs.  One other thing is what kind of trip you are going to book, point-to-point, round trip or hourly service. Other things can influence the price, like extra stops, meet and greet to name a few.

Bus and Van Shuttle Services

There are plenty of buses and van shuttle that offer transport for the visitors landing at the two main airports. These buses pass in areas that trains cannot navigate around to get to the city.

Locating the bus stop at the airport is quite easy since you will be required to look for a blue and white sign. Each route can be identified by the number and the name of the main street.

You can use the CTA website to locate the number of the bus to use and get around the downtown of the city.

The cost for the ride on the bus is about $2.50 per person when paid on cash and $2.25 per person when paid via the Ventra Card.


The Chicago Transit Authority is known for operating an extensive system of trains through the city both from below-ground and above-ground subway lines. They have a convenient search system on their site that you can use to plan your trip.

The transport system is quite safe and reliable since it tends to run throughout the day without closing for a single minute.

Those landing at the O’Hare airport can use the blue line to the center of the town. This is the cheapest means of transport to get to your destination.

The blue lines are readily available at terminal 1, 2, and 3. Use the clear signs at the airport to get your direction to the blue line stage.

For those landing at Midway airport, they can use the Airport Transit System which offers free rides to terminal 2 to locate the CTA trains.

The trains normally take 25 minutes from the midway airport to the downtown while from O’Hare to downtown be 45 minutes.

Using the CTA will save you from parking fees for a rented car and taxi fares. Train service in Chicago is regarded as public transport and it is the cheapest.

Taxi or Uber

There are plenty of taxis outside of the airport terminals ready to take you to the required destinations. Also, you can use the Uber or Lyft apps and request the driver to take you to the destination of your choice without waiting and giving further notice for your trip request.

The rate of taxis tends to depend on the gas price and the number of passengers. This can be an inexpensive option ideal for getting you around the city cheaply.

Uber ride is the most affordable when compared to taxis. They occur in plenty and easy to use. You can use the rideshare pick up a sign at the terminal and Uber services.

Keep in mind that these services can’t compare to getting a limo or rent a car. The old saying „you get what you pay for” fully applies here.

Must-See Places

Chicago has a lot of things to offer to the visitors after hitting the road from the two major airports. Some of them are world-class museums, vibrant shopping centers, and ample nightlife avenues.

If you are planning a trip to this windy city then the following are must-see places during your stay in the city.

Millennium Park

The park is located in the loop which is in the north part of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is known for holding concerts and festivals.

Besides that, entry into the park is free and you will be able to see the cutting edge art, architecture, and landscaping.

The Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate are among the most beautiful things that lure many visitors in the city.

Museum of Science and Industry

This is the most extensive museum in the city that showcase more than 35,000 artifacts and hand-on exhibits that inspire creativity.

The museum allows you to learn about the Second World War, distant stars and planets. Besides that, it features a host of live demonstrations and Omnimax Theater.

The place is about 9 miles south of the Loop and you only need to walk around the city to locate it. You can also use a bike to tour the museum.

Navy Pier

It offers a good number of ways for family entertainment and it is located around Lake Michigan. The towering Ferris wheel, swing seat ride, and a carousel are some of the things to spot on the foot of the pier.

The charges for a ride among these magnificent tend to be around $5 and $50 per person. Adults can hang out at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Miller Lite Beer Garden.

Shedd Aquarium

This is the world’s largest indoor aquariums and research shows that it tends to house about 32,000 different types of creatures.

The charges depend on the number of hours and age of an individual. The fees for children tend to be quite affordable.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The zoo is the home for zebras, hippos, and sloths. It is about two miles in the north of the Loop in the North Side neighbourhood of Lincoln Park.

Entry into the zoo park is quite free and this is the reason why it is high flocked with a lot of visitors from across the world.

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