Everything You Need To Know About Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Avoid Hassle at O'Hare

Interior of O'Hare International Airport
••• Peter Miller/The Image Bank/Getty Images

O'Hare International Airport (ORD) provides connections to more cities, more often than any other airport in the world. On the outskirts of the city and connected to Chicago city limits by a thin strip of land, more than 190,000 people travel through O'Hare every day. The airport was voted "Best Airport in North America" by Business Traveler International seven years in a row.

Terminals at O'Hare

  • O'Hare Terminal 1:
    • Concourses B & C. United Airlines, United Express, Lufthansa, Nippon Airways, Continental
  • O'Hare Terminal 2:
    • Concourses E & F. Air Canada, Delta, JetBlue, United, US Airways
  • O'Hare Terminal 3:
    • Concourses G, H, K, and L. Air Choice One, Alaska, American Airlines, American Eagle, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Spirit Airlines
  • O'Hare Terminal 5:
    • International Terminal, Concourse M. All international arrivals go through Terminal 5, as well as all flights for numerous international airlines.

Where to Dine & Drink

  • Berghoff Café. Its claim to fame is being known as the city’s longest-standing restaurant. You’ll find Old World German fare, plus sandwiches and beer. Terminal 1
  • Billy Goat Tavern and Grill. The famed SNL skit put this tiny burger-and-beer joint on the map. It continues to thrive, with several locations in the city. Always remember when ordering: “Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!” Terminal 1
  • BJ’s Market. This soul-food-focused stand draws long lines at the O’Hare location as well as its original on the South Side. The restaurant serves up healthy portions of baked chicken, greens with bits of smoked turkey and hot-buttered cornbread. If you have time, make sure to get the peach cobbler; it’s always warm and tastes homemade. Terminal 3
  • Eli’s Cheesecake. One of the stars--and sponsors--of Taste of Chicago each year, Eli’s doesn’t rest on its laurels. It continues to crank out new flavors, plus frozen cheesecake on a stick is always a major seller. Terminal 1
  • Goose Island Brewing Co. Chicago’s top-selling craft beer can be enjoyed in three O’Hare terminals. Goose Island’s superior, award-winning suds are on tap, including 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker’s Ale, and Matilda. Typical pub grub, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and pasta complement the brews. Terminals 1-3
  • O’Brien’s Restaurant & Bar. Traditional Irish fare gets the spotlight, paying homage to Chicago’s largest Irish community. Terminal 3
  • Reggio’s Pizza. There’s plenty of Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza to be had at the airport, but outside of O’Hare, you can only find Reggio’s butter-crust pies on the South Side or in the frozen food section at select grocery stores. Little-known fact: Reggio’s is the only frozen pizza manufactured in Chicago. Terminals 1 & 3
  • Stanley’s Blackhawk Bar. The Lincoln Park location for this bustling sports lounge still attracts the likes of Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and other former and current sports stars whenever they’re in town. And while the O’Hare outpost feels like you stepped deep into Blackhawks territory, it’s pretty much your ordinary sports bar with Southern-focused fare. Terminal 2
  • Terminal 5. A number of noteworthy restaurants opened in this terminal that include Big Bowl, The Goddess and Grocer, Hub 51, R.J. Grunts Burger & Fries, Tocco and Wow Bao.
  • Tortas Frontera Grill. Rick Bayless is a bona fide celebrity chef, so it came as no surprise when he jumped at the chance to set up shop at O’Hare. Here, you’ll get hand-crafted tortas, fresh-made guacamole, and hand-shaken margaritas. All the meat originates from local farms. Terminal 3

Public Transportation

The CTA Blue Line train runs 24 hours a day between O'Hare and downtown Chicago. Trains generally arrive every eight minutes from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and every 10 minutes from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. The one-way fare to the airport is around $2, and the ride takes 45 minutes; the one-way fare from the airport to the city is ~$5.

The CTA station is located in the main parking garage, accessible by walkways in Terminals 1, 2 & 3.

Taxi Service

Taxis are fairly plentiful, available on a first come, first serve basis and accessible from the lower level curbfront of every terminal outside baggage claim. Taxis all run on meters, and the average cost is approximately $35-$40 for a ride to downtown Chicago. Expect to pay at least twice that much if traveling during rush hours. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available through United Dispatch at 800-281-4466.

Rideshare services from the likes of LYFT and Uber are also available at O'Hare.

WARNING: For your protection, do not accept rides from drivers outside the cab stand or on the departure level (second level) of the terminal roadways.

Driving Directions From Downtown Chicago to O'Hare

I-90 (Kennedy) West to I-190—follow I-190 into O'Hare International Airport.

Airport Parking

Short Term Parking:

Parking Garage Level 1 is designed for "meeters and greeters," as it's a short walk to Terminals 1, 2 & 3, and is not recommended for stays more than three hours. Estimated hourly rates are: first hour $2, three hours or less $4, four hours or less $10, increasingly incrementally from there, peaking at $60 for nine to 24 hours.

International Terminal Parking, Lot D is also intended only for short-term parking for access to International Terminal 5. Estimated cost is $60/day (first hour $2).

O'Hare Daily Parking:

  • Parking Garage Levels 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 and outside lots B & C
    • Also a short walk to Terminals 1, 2 & 3, these levels/lots are designed for slightly long term (i.e., over the weekend) parking and cost ~$35/day (first hour $2).
  • Valet Parking:
    • For the most convenient access to Terminals 1, 2 & 3, valet parking has two drop-off locations at Parking Garage Level 1. Estimated cost is $54/day (first hour $10).
  • Long Term (Economy) Parking Lots E, F & G:
    • These remote lots offer the most economical parking for long trips, and has a free ATS ("people mover") that takes travelers to the terminals. A free shuttle goes from Lot F & G to the ATS. Estimated cost is $17/day (first hour for all lots is $2). Allow at least an extra 30-60 minutes to get from these lots to the airport terminal.

    Disabled Accessible Parking is available in all parking areas. For further information, call 773-894-8090.

    Why is O'Hare's Airport Code "ORD"?

    It does seem odd that it's ORD—after all, there's not even a "D" in O'Hare—until you find out that O'Hare's original name until 1949 was Orchard Field Airport, and the airport code stuck around after the name change.

    --edited by Audarshia Townsend