(credit: Pilar Clark)

Department of Aviation
O’Hare International Airport
P.O. Box 66142, Chicago, Ill.  
(773) 686-2200 or 1-800-832-6352

O’Hare International Airport (ORD) provides globetrotters with more connections to more destinations than any other airport in the world. With travelers totaling around 200,000 on a daily basis, O’Hare received the Global Traveler Award for “Best Airport in North America” for the tenth consecutive year in a row.

The airport is divided into four terminals. Terminals 1-3 are dedicated to domestic travel, and Terminal 5 handles all international travel. Terminal 4 is a bit of a misnomer since it is currently the shuttle bus depot.

Public transportation to the airport is easily accessible and includes the CTA Blue Line, Metra North Central Service, Pace bus routes 250 (Dempster Street for Evanston and Skokie) and 330 (Mannheim/La Grange), and taxi service. Those traveling by car can access O’Hare’s terminals via I-190 (near the Tri-State Tollway and Northwest Tollway). From downtown Chicago, I-90/94 provides an easy-to-follow route.

Parking at the airport is plentiful, and O’Hare has its own parking hotline (773) 686-7530. Parking information is also broadcast on 800AM radio within two miles of the airport. For passenger pick up, parking in the main garage is free for those staying less than 10 minutes.

There is also a cell phone lot, which also offers free parking. Upon arrival, passengers call the car waiting for them in the cell phone lot, and the car can pick up curbside. All short-term parking is on level one of the main garage, and rates run at $2 for the first hour, and $4 for stays up to three hours. There is a $50 a day maximum.

(credit: Pilar Clark)

Long-term parking is also available on the upper levels of the main garage, and on the adjacent surface lots for $31 a day. The international lot charges $51 a day, and two remote economy lots charge between $9-$17 a day. Valet parking is available at $10/$17 for one/two hours and $46 for the day.

O’Hare offers visitors an automated transit system called “Airport Transit System” or “ATS” free of charge. Stops are made at all four terminals and remote parking lot E. This is the only way to reach all three domestic terminals and the Blue Line station from the international terminal.

There are even a few attractions at the airport not to be missed while walking the concourse:
• Brachiosaurus skeleton: Terminal 1, Concourse B. This complete Brachiosaurus cast skeleton is part of a promotional agreement between the airport and the Field Museum.
• Butch O’Hare Fighter Plane: Main Hall, Terminal 2. A replica of the F3F-4 fighter plane flown by the airport’s namesake hangs here.
• Interfaith Chapel: Terminal 2. The chapel is open 24 hours and has chaplains for Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.
• Kids Play Interactive Exhibits: Terminal 2. The Chicago Children’s Museum/Navy Pier operates both.
O’Hare serves up a wide range of eateries for every taste bud and budget, including but not limited to:
• McDonald’s: Open in all four terminals.
• Gold Coast Dogs: Terminals 3 and 5.
• Nuts on Clark: Terminals 1-3.
• Sky Bridge: Terminal 2.
• Billy Goat Tavern & Grill: Terminals 1-3.
• Johnny Rockets: Terminal 2
• Pizzeria UNO: Terminals 2, 3, 5.
• The Berghoff: Terminal 1.
• Romano’s Macaroni Grill: Terminal 3.
• Wolfgang Puck: Terminals 1 and 3.

Travelers seeking overnight accommodations are in luck, since the greater part of hotels serving O’Hare are styled for business travelers. The majority have free of charge shuttles running to/from the airport terminals. For canceled flights, passengers can call 1-800-935-5995 for discounted rates at full service hotels in the airport area.

Mom times two, Pilar Clark, often decides on travel destinations by the principle of rock, paper scissors, and is the creator and editor of travel-and-lifestyle minded www.windycitymom.com. She is also a columnist for Chicago Parent Magazine and social media strategist for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.