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How To Get From Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Chicago [2024]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Chicago O’Hare is one of the U.S.’s busiest airports and a hub airport for American and United. Chicago is a central connecting point on flights to the Midwest and cross-country flights from the East Coast to the West Coast.

It’s quite easy to get from Chicago O’Hare to downtown Chicago, though you have several options depending on your needs.

Chicago Airports

Chicago has 2 airports, and both are vastly different:

  • Chicago International Midway Airport (MDW) is slightly closer to Chicago than O’Hare but is only a domestic airport. There is no customs facility at this airport. Southwest is the primary tenant here, with only a few other airlines running occasional flights.
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is the primary international airport for the Chicago region. Most international airlines have some presence at O’Hare. Chicago is a hub for both American and United and sees service from most other U.S.-based airlines.

Overview of Cost Estimates

SCROLL FOR MORE
Transit MethodCost Estimate
CTA$5
Ride-ShareFrom $50
TaxiFrom $65
Hired CarFrom $152

CTA

CTA OHare station
Image Credit: CTA

One of the easiest ways to get downtown from O’Hare is the ‘L’ (train) service via the CTA Blue Line. If you’re departing or arriving at Terminals 2 or 3 you’ll find an underground walkway down from the baggage claim to the CTA entrance.

The Blue Line is the train that services the airport, and you’ll find it departing almost every 15 minutes, sometimes more during peak periods. Using the CTA will cost you $5, and you can pay via the Ventra app on your phone or tap your credit card.

It will take approximately 1 hour to get downtown, so it’s certainly not a quick option, but you will avoid the inevitable traffic on the adjacent highway. The line goes down towards Chicago, transits “The Loop,” and then returns to Forest Park.

There aren’t luggage racks onboard, but it should be pretty easy for you to hold your luggage nearby. Remember that this is a public subway, so always use caution and common sense.

Hot Tip:

If you’re trying to choose a hotel in downtown Chicago with convenient access to the airport, choose a hotel in The Loop. Most hotels in this area are walkable to the CTA Blue Line, the train system that runs to the airport without needing transfer.

Ride-Share

If you’re looking to catch an Uber or Lyft downtown, it’s pretty easy. Head to the airport’s departure level and walk outside to the appropriate pickup point.

From there, you’re looking at about a $50 fare one-way downtown, though this could be more or less expensive depending on where you’re going. Because taking the CTA often requires a transfer if you’re heading anywhere north of The Loop, a ride-share car is a great way to avoid this and head directly to your hotel.

It will come at a high risk, however, and that’s with traffic. Chicago’s roads are notorious for traffic, and because there’s only 1 major highway to and from the airport, it can easily get clogged for any reason, and you’ll then have to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It’s about a 30-minute ride without traffic and can only go up from there.

Chicago ORD L Gates
From the furthest gates to public transit or vehicle pickup is only about a 15- to 20-minute walk. Image Credit: James Larounis

Taxi

An average taxi fare from O’Hare to downtown Chicago is around $65, and like the ride-share options, you’re at the mercy of traffic.

You can pick up a taxi outside of baggage claim at each terminal.

With ride-share being cheaper and subject to the same traffic as taxis, it’s often better to utilize a ride-share car instead of hailing a metered cab.

Hired Car

You can hire a driver to take you from O’Hare to downtown, though it will be the most expensive of all the options. Hiring a driver allows you to rest easy knowing you’ll have a guaranteed pickup at a specific time and that you have a driver waiting in the terminal to show you to the car.

Typical prices from O’Hare to downtown Chicago are as follows:

  • Business-class sedan for $152
  • First-class sedan for $238
  • Business van for $200

Hiring a car makes sense for groups and those who want a more defined service. For most passengers, however, a ride-share or taxi will be cheaper and offer a similar level of service.

Final Thoughts

There are various options to get from Chicago O’Hare to downtown Chicago, but most will require you to risk sitting in traffic, which Chicago is known for. Taking the CTA Blue Line is your best bet if you want something more guaranteed since the train can bypass any road traffic.

If you’re traveling with multiple people or bags, a ride-share is the next best way to go with pretty reasonable fares, but you’ll want to allow plenty of time for this with the potential for traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to get from O'Hare airport to downtown Chicago?

Typical pricing includes $5 for the CTA Blue Line, from $50 for a ride-share, from $65 for a taxi, and from $152 for a hired luxury vehicle.

How much does it cost to Uber from O'Hare to Chicago?

An average ride-share price from Chicago O’Hare to downtown is approximately $50.

Is there a train that goes from O'Hare to downtown Chicago?

The CTA Blue Line, a subway/L-line train, runs from Chicago O’Hare to downtown Chicago through The Loop.

Can Uber pick me up at O'Hare airport?

Uber and other ride-share cars are allowed to pick up at Chicago O’Hare. You’ll find these pickup points on the departure level at each terminal or between terminals.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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