Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in Chicago O’Hare Airport

sleeping in Chicago O'hare Airport
Cot City, near K1 (Photo courtesy of a SleepingInAirports contributor / 13Jun2014)

If you’re dealing with a long layover or an early morning flight departure at Chicago O’Hare airport, you might be wondering if it is possible to sleep in the airport. Our guide to sleeping in Chicago O’Hare airport provides essential information for seasoned airport sleepers and newbies to help travellers arrive prepared for the experience.

We keep this guide up-to-date with the help of airport sleepers who have generously shared their experiences and airport reviews. If you have any tips or photos to contribute, please take a moment to write a review. Your feedback will help us stay informed about the latest advice for future sleepy travellers.

Can I Sleep at Chicago O’Hare Airport Overnight?

If you have an early morning connecting flight to catch, you may think that leaving the airport to get a hotel room for a few hours might not be worth your time.

While Chicago O’Hare is open 24 hours, most seating has armrests, making it a challenge for travellers looking to lie down and rest. Some have been lucky to find an armrest-free chair for the night, but these are few and far between. A lot of travellers choose to set up camp on the floor. Beware, though, the Windy City is cold at night, especially as the temperature in the airport drops. So, bring a warm jacket or a blanket to keep you warm.

There have been reports from February 2023 of a growing homeless population residing on the landside, so if you need to spend the night in the public area of the airport, you may want to consider booking a hotel for the night if you arrive late and can’t get through security.

Where is the Best Place to Sleep in O’Hare Airport?

According to reviewers on the site, many sleepy travellers have found the best spots for a night’s rest at Chicago O’Hare to be in some of the following areas:

  • At the couches just after security/airside in Concourse K
  • Airside lounge chairs in Terminal 3, Gates H
  • Circular sofas just inside the security checkpoint in Terminal 5
  • Gate C20 has quiet nooks for someone prepared to sleep on the floor
  • Couches around Terminal 1, Gates C24-C26 passes Brioche Dorée

There are more reports of the occasional row of 4 seats without armrests at a few gates in each terminal. If you look for them, bring all your belongings to set up camp when you find one. Alternatively, if you’re happy to sleep on the floor, you won’t struggle to find a quiet spot, but come prepared with a sleep mat or bag, as the floors are primarily concrete or thinly carpeted and very cold.

If you are sleeping, it’s been reported that the majority of the time, security will leave you be and only start waking people up when the airport begins getting busier again and flights resume.

From the O’Hare airport reviews and what we know about the airport, it’s best to remain Airside for a safe night’s sleep.

Do you have a good location, airport tip or photos to add? Click here for our review form.

chicago o'hare airport guide
(photo courtesy of a guest reviewer / September 2019)

My Flight Got Cancelled – Where Can I Sleep in Chicago O’Hare Airport?

If there’s anything you need to know about Chicago O’Hare Airport, it’s no stranger to flight cancellations due to bad weather. No flight schedule is safe from the city’s unexpected weather changes, from snowstorms and freezing ice in the chilly winter to wild regional tornados affecting the flight traffic system.

The good news? Chicago O’Hare is well-prepared for any freak weather conditions threatening your journey. When mass cancellations happen, the airport provides cots for stranded travellers who choose not to get a hotel room. Check with your airline to see if your flight is eligible. Cots are supplied from around 9:30 PM until 4:00 AM when staff wake travellers to put away the cots and prepare for flights to resume (if the weather has passed).

Note that cots aren’t available for travellers who choose to spend the night here and cannot be reserved in advance.

Is There Anything Open 24 hours at ORD?

Spending a night in the airport usually comes with interrupted sleep and a serious case of midnight munchies. Luckily, plenty of 24-hour vending machines are available to grab a nighttime snack or well-needed coffee at Chicago O’Hare Airport. You’ll find Canteen Healthy Snacks and Farmer’s Fridge Vending Machines in the following spots:

  • Terminal 1 – Baggage Claim (Airside) • B/C Tunnel (Airside) • Gate B20 (Airside)
  • Terminal 2 – Location unknown (Landside) • Gate E1 (Airside) • Gate E5 (Airside) • Gate F9 • Gate F1
  • Terminal 3 – Baggage Claim (Airside) • Gate H1 (Airside) • Gate K6 (Airside) • Gate K1 (Airside) Gate K19 • Gate H4 • Gate K18.
  • Terminal 5 – Arrivals/Ticketing (Landside) • Gate M28 (Airside) • Gate M21 (Airside) • Gate 8 (Airside) • Gate M25 (Airside) • Gate M9 (Airside) • Gate M28.
  • Multi-Modular Facility

If you know you’ll be in the airport overnight, we recommend stocking up on snacks and drinks from other places before they close for the night.

Are Showers Available?

Showers are available at Chicago O’Hare Airport, and you’ll need them! Warm yourself up after a night roughing it on the cold airport floor at a pay-to-use shower in one of the following locations:

  • Hilton Athletic Club (opposite Terminal 2 inside the Hilton Hotel)
  • The American Airlines Admirals Club (Terminal 3, Concourse H)
  • United Club (Terminal 1, Concourse C)
  • Delta Sky Club (Terminal 5)
Chicago O'Hare Airport
(photo courtesy of a guest reviewer / March 2019)

Are There Lounges in Chicago O’Hare Airport?

You can choose from a few lounges at Chicago O’Hare, but none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you’re willing to pay extra to rest in a comfortable seat a few hours before your flight, check out the list of available lounges in our Chicago O’Hare Airport Guide.

Where is the Nearest Hotel at Chicago O’Hare?

If you don’t fancy a night of chair sleeping and are in the mood for a bit more luxury, the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel is located across from Terminal 2. A free shuttle connects the hotel with Terminal 5, and all domestic terminals connect to the hotel by an underground walkway. Additional hotels are located nearby at various prices, and most offer free shuttle services.

There are many nearby hotels and many of them offer an airport shuttle.

  • Aloft Chicago O’Hare » Check Rates
  • Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Conference Center » Check Rates
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago O’Hare Airport – Rosemont » Check Rates
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago O’Hare Rosemont » Check Rates
  • Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare » Check Rates
  • Holiday Inn Chicago O’Hare Area, an IHG Hotel » Check Rates
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Chicago O’Hare Airport, an IHG Hotel » Check Rates
  • Hyatt Place Chicago/O’Hare Airport » Check Rates
  • Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel » Check Rates
  • Marriott Chicago O’Hare » Check Rates
  • Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel » Check Rates
  • Sheraton Suites Chicago O’Hare » Check Rates
  • Sonesta Chicago O’Hare Airport Rosemont » Check Rates
  • The Rose Hotel Chicago O’Hare, Tapestry Collection by Hilton » Check Rates

For more options, visit Tripadvisor to see a list of hotels near O’Hare Airport, search for deals and read traveller reviews.

chicago o'hare airport
(photo courtesy of a guest reviewer / December 2019)

Safety & Security

The only safety issue we have been made aware of at Chicago O’Hare airport is the growing groups of homeless living in the airport.

Sleeping in any airport can include a certain level of risk, especially when you are travelling alone. It’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and the security of your valuables. Here are a few tips:

  • Safety First. It’s a good idea to know where the security office is located and look for video cameras where you plan to sleep. You can also ask the security personnel for advice on the safest places to spend the night.
  • Don’t Seclude Yourself. If you’re travelling alone, we recommend you stay near other travellers or close to security. This will help you feel more secure and deter potential thieves.
  • Hide Your Valuables. It’s also important to hide your valuables. Don’t leave them out in plain view, as this could make you a target for theft. Additionally, if you are a deep sleeper, you may want to padlock your bag to something or sleep with your bag up against a wall to make it harder for someone to access zippers and pockets. We have received reports of sleepers who woke up without their phones and laptop bags. The travellers were left with just their headphones and laptop bag strap.
  • Stay Alert. It’s best to stay alert and awake if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages to help you stay awake, and remember that you can always catch up on sleep during your flight. These simple precautions can help you enjoy a safe night at the airport.

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