Chicago O'Hare Airport Guide

chicago o'hare airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our Chicago O'Hare Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

My flight got canceled and I had to spend the night at the airport. That's how most O'Hare stories begin. - hozomeen

Airport Overview

chicago o'hare airport

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, here is a quick run-down of what travellers have reported to us during their time at O’Hare Airport.

What to expect

  • The airport is made up of 4 terminals (Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5), which are connected by an automated train. The huge and the layout can be confusing.
  • Connections that require going through passport control can take a lot of time.
  • Overall it’s a loud, busy airport, and the cleanliness of facilities is not consistent.
  • Several affordable eateries are open 24-hours.
  • WiFi is free for 30 minutes. See more WiFi information below.

Where to sleep

  • The airport provides cots and toiletry kits for cancellations and major delays. Bring earplugs and eye masks. See Cots below for more information.
  • In general, there’s very little sleep-friendly furniture, especially for the volume of travellers.
  • Curved S-couches make decent sleeping spots. Find them at the connecting hallway between concourses K and H concourses, near Gate K6 (Innominate, March 2016), and just past security in Concourse K (Jackpot, January 2015).
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there is a hotel outside of Terminal 2 and many other hotels nearby that offer a free airport shuttle. See Airport Hotels below for more info.

Good to know

  • Economy class passengers can find comfort in one of many airport lounges with the purchase of a lounge pass or membership. Showers are available in several lounges. See Airport Lounges below for locations and rates.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our Chicago O’Hare Airport Guide. Consider sending us your O’Hare Airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.


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Chicago O'Hare Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Chicago O'Hare airport either by purchasing a lounge pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

  • American Airlines Admirals Club - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, Concourse G, Gate G8. Hours: 6:00AM - 10:00PM (Sun - Fri) • 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM (Sat). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 50.00) • Admiral's Club Membership.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club - Location: Terminal 3, Airside, between Gates H6 and K6. Showers are available. Hours: 4:00 AM - 10:00 PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 50.00) • Admiral's Club Membership.
  • Delta Sky Club - Location: Terminal 2, Airside, Concourse E, across from Gate E4. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$59.00) • Delta Sky Club Membership.
  • United Club -Location: Terminal 1, Airside, Concourse B North, near Gate B18. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 59.00) • United Club Membership.
  • United Club - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, Concourse B South, near Gate B6. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 59.00) • United Club Membership.
  • United Club - Location:Terminal 1, Airside, Concourse C, airside, near Gate C16. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 59.00) • United Club Membership.
  • United Club - Location: Terminal 2, Airside, Concourse F, near Gate F3. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 59.00) • United Club Membership.
  • Air France VIP Lounge - Location: Terminal 5, Airside, Gate M7. Hours: 8:30AM - 9:30PM (Daily). Lounge Access: Book Online (£25.00) • Priority Pass.

USO Lounge - The USO offers a lounge to members of the military and their families. Amenities: computers, child care area, sleeping area, and a library. Location: Terminal 2, Mezzanine Level above Northwest Ticket Counter, landside. Hours: open 24 hours • Location: Terminal 3, Rotunda, Mezzanine Level. Hours: 6:00AM - 10:30PM.

» Buy a Lounge Pass

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at Chicago O'Hare Airport for 30 minutes. A premium, uninterrupted and commercial free, service is also available for 1 hour or 24 hours. Rates are unknown.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping at the Chicago O'Hare Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:

  • Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel - Located across from Terminal 2 and connected to all domestic terminals via underground walkway. Also connected via underground walkway to downtown Chicago train. Free shuttle to Terminal 5.
  • Aloft Chicago O’Hare - (5 min from the airport) Free airport shuttle runs every 30 minutes, from 5:00AM to Midnight. For airport pick-up after hours, call (847) 671-4444. Pick-up is at Door 3 in the Shuttle Bus Center, located between Terminals 1, 2, and 3.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago O’Hare Airport Rosemont - (5 min from the airport) Free 24-hr airport shuttle drops off at Departures (Domestic Terminal) and picks up at Hotel Bus Shuttle Center Door 3. Shuttle does not automatically go to International Terminal, so for airport pick-up, call 847-678-4000 and wait at Gate 5E.
  • Embassy Suites Chicago O’Hare Rosemont - (5 min from the airport) Free 24-hr scheduled airport shuttle service available.
  • Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center - (5 min from the airport) Free 24-hr airport shuttle service available. The shuttle picks up at Door 2 of the Bus & Shuttle center (domestic terminal). Must call hotel directly for pick up from the international terminal (Door 5E).

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near O'Hare Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Available throughout the airport (landside and airside).
  • Barber Shop - Location: Hilton Chicago O’Hare. Location: Between Terminal 2 and the parking garage.
  • Chapel - Interfaith Airport Chapel. Prayer books, prayer rugs and other worship materials are available. Location: Terminal 2, Landside, Mezzanine, next door to the USO.
  • Children's Play Area - “Kids On The Fly” exhibit play area. Location: airside, Level 2.
  • Children's Museum - Terminal 2, Upper Level, Departures
  • Cots - In the event of flight cancellations/major snow storms, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) will provide cots, pillows and blankets and toiletry kit. You must check with your airline to see if the program is available. In Sep 2013, Mary sent me a message to let me know "there are 30 or so, mostly unoccupied tonight. Just past Gate K1." The wake-up call is at 4:00AM, so they can put away the cots before the airport gets busy again.
  • Currency Exchange - Seaway National Bank offers full-service banking and currency exchange services. Hours: Open daily from 7:00AM - 5:00PM (T2) or 8:00AM - 8:00PM (T5). Two locations: (landside, T2, Main Hall)(landside, Lower Level, T5). Seaway currency exchange kiosks are also available from 8:00AM - 8:00PM at T1 (Gates B9 and C18), T3 (Gate K11) and T5 (Upper Level).
  • Food & Drinks - Most food concessions throughout the airport operate with varying schedules. These options are open 24 hours:
    • Terminal 1 - Brioche Doree (Airside, Concourse C, Gate C21) • Fresh Market on the Go (Airside, Concourse C, Gate C23) • Starbucks (Airside, Concourse B, Gate B9) (Landside, Baggage Claim).
    • Terminal 2 - Hudson’s (Airside, Concourse F, Gate F4) • Starbucks (Airside, Concourse E, Gate E2)(Landside, Baggage Claim).
    • Terminal 3 - McDonald’s (Airside, Concourse H, Gate H5) • Starbucks (Airside, Concourse H, Gate H5)(Airside, Concourse K, Gate K4)(Landside, Baggage Claim).
    • Terminal 5 - Hudson’s (Airside, Concourse M, M10), Kofe by Intelligentsia (Airside, Concourse M, Gate M8).

Pro-Tip: Watch planes land and take-off from one of these airside restaurants: Berghoff Cafe (T1, Gate C26) • Food Court (T1, Gate C26) • Chili’s Too (T3, Gate G10) Watch planes on the ground from one of these restaurants: Tuscany Restaurant (T1, Gate B18) • Goose Island Beer Company (T1, C10) • Tortas Fronteras by Rick Bayless (T1, Gate B10 and T3, Gate K4) • Argo Tea (T2, Gate E3) • Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi (T2, Main) • Starbucks (T2, Main and T3, Gate H1) • Chicago Cubs Bar & Grill (T3, Rotunda) • Macaroni Grill (T3, Gate K2)

  • Health Club - Non-Guests can pay a small fee for a day pass to use the Hilton Athletic Club [ see airport hotels above ]. The facilities have a steam room, sauna, lap pool, Jacuzzi and full service locker rooms. Location: Between Terminal 2 and the parking garage Rate: the non-guest rate is $20 plus tax.
  • Information Desk - Locations: Terminal 1 (Gate B7 • C18) • Terminal 2 (Gate F1D) • Terminal 3 (Gate K2) • Terminal 5 (Upper/Ticketing Level • Lower/Arrivals Level)
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - not available
  • Medical Center - O’Hare Urgent Care Clinic offers urgent medical care services. Flu shots are also available (seasonal). No appointment necessary. Medical insurance accepted. Location: Airside, Ticketing Level, past the “Kids on the Fly” exhibit and next to the Travelers Aid office.
  • Mobile Charging - Seated workstations with counter space and AC outlets can be found in Terminal 1 (B4 • B11 • B19 •B14 •B15 • C7 •C15 • C21 • C28 ) • Terminal 2 (E7 • B11 • F2B) • Terminal 3 (G9 • G19 • H12 • K9 • K12 •L10) • Terminal 5 (M9 • M11 • M12 •M13).
  • Showers - Freshen up at the Hilton Athletic Club [ see Health Club above ], the American Airlines Admirals Club (Terminal 3, Concourse H) or United Club (Terminal 1, Concourse C) [ see Airport Lounges above ].
  • Spas - Terminal Getaway Spa has three locations (Terminal 1, Concourse B, Gate B14),(Terminal 3, Concourse H, Gate H2 and Gate H6). Xpres Spa is located in Terminal 5, Concourse M, Gate M11.
  • Traveler's Aid - Travelers Aid Chicago is a social service agency located at Chicago O'Hare Airport. It provides guidance, support and advocacy services for passengers during travel. The staff in both the booths and the main office can assist with crisis intervention information as well as social services for travelers and visitors. Locations: Terminal 1, Airside, near Gate B7 • Terminal 1, Airside, near Gate C18 • Terminal 2, Airside, Upper Level next to Children's Museum • Terminal 2, Airside, near Gate F1D • Terminal 3, Airside, near Gate K2 • Terminal 5, Landside, Upper/Ticketing Level • Terminal 5, Landside, Lower/Arrivals Level • Terminal 5, Airside, near Gate M19. Hours: vary.
  • Yoga Room - Travellers can get their downward dog on in this 15x16ft yoga room. A wall-mounted tv displays yoga poses to follow. There is no change room, but there is a nearby bathroom on the Mezzanine where you can change clothes. Location: Terminal 3, Mezzanine Level, Airside. Hours: 6:00AM - 10:00PM.

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

Keep in mind that airline check-in and baggage drop hours vary according the flight schedule. Check these hours with your airline. If you are in the public area of the terminal (landside) you will not be able to get through to the secure area of the terminal (airside) until the morning. The TSA security screening checkpoint hours vary according to location:

  • Checkpoint 1 (Terminal 1): 3:45AM - 10:45PM
  • Checkpoint 2 (Terminal 1): 4:15AM - 7:45PM
  • Checkpoint 3 (Terminal 1): 4:15AM - 7:45PM
  • Checkpoint 4 (Terminal 2): 4:15AM - 8:15PM
  • Checkpoint 5 (Terminal 3): 4:45AM - 6:45PM
  • Checkpoint 6 (Terminal 3): 3:45AM - 8:15AM
  • Checkpoint 7 (Terminal 3): 4:15AM - 10:45PM
  • Checkpoint 8 (Terminal 3): 4:45AM - 8:30PM
  • Checkpoint 9 (Terminal 3): 4:00AM - 7:45AM
  • Checkpoint 10 (Terminal 5): open 24 hours

Times are subject to change without notice.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Amtrak Connections

From the airport, take the “L” Train, Blue Line towards Forest Park to Clark/Lake and walk about a half mile to the Union Station where Amtrak is located. Alternatively, you can ride the Blue Line towards Forest Park and exit at Grand. Then, catch the 56 bus towards Washington/Michigan, exit at Washington & Canal and then walk 3 minutes to Union Station. Allow one hour for travel time.

A taxi is the quicker options. Curbside taxi stands can be found on the lower level of each terminal. Do not accept rides from drivers outside the taxi stand. Allow about 40 minutes for travel time.

Bus

Several CTA public bus routes serve O’Hare Airport from points all over the city of Chicago. For more information on routes and fares, visit the Chicago Transit Authority website.

PACE suburban public bus system serves the Chicago area suburbs. Two PACE bus routes serve the airport directly: Routes 250 and 330. Other PACE bus routes connect to the airport via stops at Blue Line train stations. For fares and information, go to the PACE bus website.

O’Hare Airport is served by several regional bus companies, transporting passengers between the airport and destinations in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana. Contact your service provider of choice for further information.

Car Rentals

he following car rental agencies serve O’Hare: Ace • Advantage • Alamo • Avis • Budget • Dollar • Enterprise • Firefly • Hertz • National • Thrifty. Each agency offers its own 24-hour courtesy shuttle service, picking up passengers at designated areas outside of baggage claim on the Arrivals lower level. Location: on the lower level near the baggage claim areas of Terminals 1, 2, and 3. From Terminal 5, rental car agencies are available by courtesy telephones located on the lower level.

Hotel Shuttles

Several area hotels offer free airport shuttle service as a convenience for their guests. Shuttles depart from the "Bus/Shuttle Center", located on the main level of the parking garage between elevator centers 3 and 4. Contact your hotel of choice for shuttle service availability and information. Here are a few hotels that offer airport shuttle: Aloft Chicago O'Hare   •   Best Western at O'Hare   •   Candlewood Suites Chicago O'Hare   •   Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare   •   Doubletree Hotel Chicago O'Hare Airport - Rosemont   •   Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago - O'Hare/Rosemont   •   Hampton Inn Chicago-O'Hare International Airport   •   Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport   •   Hilton Rosemont / Chicago O'Hare   •   Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago O'Hare Rosemont   •   Motel 6 Elk Grove Village - O'Hare   •   Quality Inn O'Hare Airport   •   Radisson Hotel Chicago O'Hare   •   Residence Inn Chicago O'Hare   •   Super 8 Chicago O'Hare Airport.

Inter-Terminal Transportation

Passengers can get around the airport complex by using the ATS, a 24-hour automated train service. Trains run as frequently as every 3 minutes during peak times, and travel a 9-minute circuit between all three domestic terminals (1,2 and 3), the international terminal (5), all airport parking lots, the PACE bus stop and the Kiss ‘N Fly drop-off point. Trains and stations are wheelchair-accessible.

Shared Ride Shuttle Go Airport Express provides door-to-door shared ride or exclusive ride service between the airport and the Chicago metropolitan area. Shuttles depart every 10 - 15 minutes from the lower level innermost curb outside of baggage claim. Advanced reservation is strongly suggested. Coach USA Tri State/United Limo offers hourly shuttle service between O'Hare and Midway airports. Total trip time is about 1 hour. Shuttles leave from Level 1 of the Main Parking Garage.

Taxi

O’Hare Airport is served by licensed, metered taxis, with an average fare of $30 - $40 to downtown Chicago. Taxi stands are located curb front on the lower level of the terminals, near baggage claim. Wheelchair-accessible taxis (WAV) can be requested by calling Open Taxis central dispatch. For safety reasons, please do not accept rides from the airport from a taxi that is not operating from the designated taxi stands. For current fares, visit the City of Chicago website.

Trains

The CTA Blue Line, or “L” train, offers 24 hour train service between O’Hare Blue Line station and the Forest Park terminal in downtown Chicago. O’Hare Blue Line station is located on the lower level of Terminal 2, and can be reached on foot or by ATS (Airport Transit System). Fares can be purchased with cash or credit card from the vending machines located outside of the station. For information on schedules and fares, go to the CTA website.

O’Hare Transfer Station is along the Metra North Central Service commuter rail line between Union Station in downtown Chicago and the north and western suburbs, with the end of the line in Antioch, Illinois. This is a weekday service only. For schedules and fares, go to the Metra website.


Taxis

Getting to and from the airport by taxi is both easy and convenient. There are Taxi Stands at the lower-level curb front (outside of baggage claim) at each terminal.

Taxi service is to the city and suburbs. Fares are metered based on time and mileage.  An average fare from O'Hare to downtown Chicago is $30-40.

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Last Updated: 13 June 2016

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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