Chicago IL - Midway (MDW)
Chicago IL - O'Hare (ORD)
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Getting to Chicago by Air
O’Hare International Airport (ORD): (773) 686-3700, www.ohare.com/
Located on the Northwest side of the city, O’Hare is the second largest airport in the USA. O’Hare offers carriers from all over the world, with easy transportation to and from the airport throughout the city.
Midway International Airport (MDW): www.chicago-mdw.com/
Midway is the smaller of the two airports, located on the southwest side of the city, but is rapidly growing. It has three concourses, offering service from most major carriers. There is also easy public transportation from the city.
Transportation To and From the Airport
Renting a car at ORD is very simple, with most major agencies represented. You can find the agencies customer service booths at the lower level of baggage claim in Terminals 1, 2, and 3. Terminal 5 offers a phone service to connect with the agencies in the main terminals. Shuttles will take customers to the designated parking lots.
Renting a car at MID is very simple, with most major agencies represented. Customer service desks are located by the baggage claim, and cars can be picked up in the Parking Garage on Level 2.
Alamo (800)327-9633 Avis (800)331-1212 Budget (800)527-0700 Dollar (800)800-4000 Enterprise (800)867-4595 Hertz (800)654-3131 National (800)227-7368
Taking a cab to your destination from the airport is easy. Taxi stands are located at both airports just outside of baggage claim. All cabs begin at $2.25, every 1/9 of a mile after is an additional $0.20. The first adult passenger is $1.00, and $0.50 for every adult after that. All taxis leaving from the airports or arriving at the airports are an additional $1.00. The cost from Midway to downtown is generally $30 and $40 from O’Hare. Flat rates can sometimes be negotiated, but do not count on it. By law, Chicago cab drivers cannot deny the use of a credit card for payment, but be prepared for drivers to be disgruntled if you cannot pay in cash.
Continental Airport Express is the best airport shuttle service in the city, serving both airports. It offers door-to-door service daily from most city and suburban locations. Hours of operation are from 6:00am to 11:30pm. The cost from either airport to a central downtown location is about $30. Tel: 1-888-284-3926 web: www.airportexpress.com/
Bus (Kiss n’ Fly)
The Chicago PACE bus system offers a bus route from O’Hare to designated locations throughout the city. The PACE bus can be found at the Kiss n’ Fly location in Lot E. The routes serve Downtown Evanston, the Des Plaines Metra Station, La Grange, Bellwood, and Mannheim Metra stations. Other stops are made along the way for all these routes.
For further information: 312-836-7000 RTA TTY: 312-836-4949 General Information: 847-364-PACE (7223) www.pacebus.com/
The “El” System
The El is a simple, fast, and cheap way to travel to and from the airports, especially to avoid highway traffic. The Blue line serves O’Hare and the Orange Line serves Midway from downtown. The travel time from downtown to O’Hare is about 40 minutes and about 30 minutes to Midway. A one-way fare is $2.25. Fare cards can be purchased at all train stops. www.transitchicago.com/
Getting Around Chicago Public Transportation
In general, Chicago is easy to navigate even though its’ sheer size can be overwhelming. Most streets run on a sensible grid system, however there are the occasional diagonal streets to mix things up. Chicago has an extensive public transportation system that can take you anywhere in the city and to the surrounding suburbs. The elevated train system (the El) is a color-coded set of trains that run in all directions from the Loop. Be sure to check train schedules online or at the stations, as many services do not run 24 hours a day. Buses are also found on most major streets and avenues, with stops marked by blue and white signs. Due to recent budget cuts, many services have been cut back, so be sure to check bus schedules.
Fare cards can be purchased at vending machines at ‘L’ stations or online at http://faremedia.chicago-card.com/
. A one-way fare for the train is $2.25 and $2.00 for a one-way bus fare. It is $0.25 to transfer. Bus drivers do not give change, be prepared with the exact amount.
Chicago is definitely a walking city, especially the downtown area. Even in harsh weather conditions, Chicagoans are prepared to walk to their destination, or at least to the nearest method of public transportation. This can be a great way to see the city, but may be hard for those new to the city. The key is to have a grasp of the CTA system and always keep oriented with the Lake, which is to the East. Chicago is deceivingly large, so be aware of the distance between destinations in order to make the best transportation choice.
Like any city, cabs are plenty, but try to avoid them in high traffic areas or during rush hours, as they can be expensive. You can easily hail one at any major thoroughfare, and are highly recommended at late night hours when public transportation is not as safe.
Biking in Chicago is a great option, especially along the waterfront in the summer time. There are many bike routes that will take you along Chicago must-sees, which can be found at www.cityofchicago.org/. You can also find bike rental locations and bike shops at the City of Chicago website. Bikes can be taken on trains and buses easily. Find detailed information about how to do so at www.transitchicago.com/.
Using a personal or rental car in Chicago can be helpful if traveling far distances. However, congestion on Chicago highways from rush hour and construction can be intense. Avoid the downtown areas during rush hour times, if possible. When parking in the neighborhoods check the permit regulations. Most neighborhood streets are permit parking only between 6pm and 6am, so you will want to find metered parking or a parking garage for overnight stays. In the last year, all Chicago meters have become privatized, raising the cost of metered parking significantly. Be prepared for high rates when parking on the street in the Loop.
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