Chicago O’Hare International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, serving about 83 million people per year. It is the home of United Airlines, and also serves most major national and international airlines. It is generally considered a good US airport, with clean facilities, numerous dining options and a few speciality features such as a yoga room and garden. In comparison to some international airports, which have more sleeping and shopping options, O’Hare is lacking.
The airport is currently undergoing a major expansion at Terminal 5, the international terminal, which will add more gates, restaurants and amenities. It is part of a larger expansion led by famed architect Jeanne Gang. The new design will merge domestic and international terminals in a large oculus, and feature more light and greenery.
>> Planning a trip? Read our guide to Chicago
About Chicago O’Hare Airport
- Airport code: ORD
- Distance from ORD to Chicago: 15 miles to downtown
- Transport options: Train / Taxi / Rideshare
- Airlines served: Southwest, Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air Choice One, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, All Nippon, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Boutique Air, British Airways, Cape Air, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Copa Airlines, Delta, Denver Air Connection (Key Lime Air), EVA Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Frontier Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Icelandair, Interjet Airlines, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, KLM Royal Dutch, Korean Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Norwegian, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, SWISS, Scandinavian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country, Swoop, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, VivaAerobus, Volaris Airlines
- Hubs for: United Airlines and American Airlines; focus city for Frontier and Spirit Airlines.
- Domestic nonstop flights to: 167 cities
- International nonstop flights to: 61 countries
- Terminals: 4
- Concourses: 9
- Gates: 191
- On time departures: 75%
- On time arrivals: 75%
- Security wait times: 15 minute average
- Hours: 24 hours
- Checkpoint hours: Terminal 1 checkpoints are open 4am-8:30pm; Terminal 2 checkpoints are open 4am-8:30pm; Terminal 3 checkpoints are open 3:15am-10pm; Terminal 5 checkpoints are open 24 hours
- Official site: https://www.flychicago.com/ohare/home/pages/default.aspx
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Hare_International_Airport
Terminal 1 at O’Hare is the hub for United Airlines’ domestic flights and hosts a United Club. It has two concourses––B and C––and 50 gates. There are a range of food options in Terminal 1, from hot dogs and McDonald’s to a wine bar, dine-in restaurants such as Chili’s Too and Berghoff Cafe, and to-go kiosks and vending machines. Barbara’s Bookstore, Duty Free, and Hudson News & Gifts are the main shopping options in the terminal. If you have time the Terminal Gateway Spa (also in Terminal 3) offers quick manicures and pedicures, massages and more.
In Terminal 2, you’ll find 41 gates in Concourses E and F. This terminal is home to a similar range of food options, from kiosks to dine-in, though this terminal has a sports bar instead of a wine bar. The shopping options are also similar to Terminal 2. This terminal has the only barber shop in the airport.
Terminal 3 is the largest terminal at O’Hare, with 79 gates in Concourses G, H, K and L. Its main airlines are American Airlines and Spirit Airlines, though it also hosts several regional airlines. There is a smoothie and salad shop, a bakery, bagel shop, multiple vending machines, a Mexican restaurant, a burger spot, a Chicago Cubs bar, Goose Island Beer Company bar, and more in Terminal 3. The shopping options are the same as other terminals, with the addition of a Brooks Brothers and Brookstone. This terminal has the airport’s only Yoga Room, in the rotunda mezzanine.
The international terminal, Terminal 5, is home to all major international airlines and has 21 gates in Concourse M. It has 18 dining options, including a Burger King, McDonald’s, Dunkin’, salad restaurant, a sports bar, outposts of popular Chicago restaurants, and more. Shopping options are the same as Terminal 3, with a Dufry instead of a Brookstone, and an ‘I Love Chicago’ souvenir shop.
All terminals have bathrooms (including all gender options), drinking fountains, baby changing stations and ATMs. All terminals also have a Mother’s Room, a private space for nursing that is open 24 hours. Terminal 2 has separate, Mamava private nursing pods.
Getting between terminals
Domestic Terminals 1, 2, and 3 are connected to each other and you can easily walk between them or take moving sidewalks and escalators. The walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 takes about 10 minutes, and from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 can take up to 20 minutes if you’re walking from farthest gate to farthest gate.
Terminal 5 is not connected to the domestic terminals, and can most easily be accessed via the Airport Transit System (ATS), a train shuttle service that runs from 5am to 10:30pm daily. If you are connecting outside of those hours, a 24/7 shuttle bus is also available. On the ATS, or “people mover,” a trip from the first stop at Terminal 1 to the last stop that houses rental cars and parking, takes 10 minutes. It stops at Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and Terminal 5 in between.
Airlines flying from ORD
Terminal 1: All Nippon, United Airlines (departures)
Terminal 2: Air Canada, Delta and Delta Shuttle, JetBlue
Terminal 3: Air Choice One, American Airlines (departures), Boutique Air, Cape Air, Denver Air Connection (Key Lime Air), Iberia Airlines (departures), Japan Airlines, Spirit Airlines
Terminal 5: Southwest, Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, All Nippon, American Airlines (international arrivals), Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Copa Airlines, Eva Air, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Frontier Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Iberia Airlines (arrivals), Icelandair, Interjet Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Korean Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, SWISS, Scandinavian Airlines, Sun Country, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines (international arrivals), VivaAerobus, Volaris Airlines
Flying in, out, or through the Chicago Airport
Security and Customs at ORD
O’Hare is a busy airport, but security generally moves quickly. The average wait time is 15 minutes, though rarely during busy travel periods can be up to 40 minutes. There are 10 security checkpoints across the four terminals, each with designated pre-check lines.
It is generally advised to arrive at least 90 minutes before a domestic flight and 2-3 hours before an international flight. The wait times in Terminal 5 are generally longer, as TSA seems to be stricter about checking passports and that customers have all needed vaccinations and other documents for the country they’re visiting.
TSA Precheck at ORD
TSA Precheck is available for all domestic flights, at checkpoints 2 and 3 in Terminal 1; checkpoint 5 in Terminal 2; and checkpoints 7A and 8 in Terminal 3.
Global Entry at ORD
Global entry is available for international arrivals into the US at Chicago O’Hare in Terminal 5. You can also enroll at O’Hare in Terminal 5 at the Global Entry desk between 8:15am and 3:30pm Monday-Friday.
CLEAR at ORD
Open from 4am-8pm, including for enrollment, in Terminal 1.
Mobile Passport at ORD
O’Hare was the first airport in the US to offer Automated Passport Control. On arrival into the US via O’Hare, proceed to a self-service kiosk where you will be prompted to enter your passport and follow on-screen instructions. O’Hare also accepts the Mobile Passport Control app, where travelers can submit passport and other information through a secure mobile app.
ORD WiFi and charging stations
WiFi is free and unlimited throughout Chicago O’Hare, both before and after security.
There are seated workstations with counter space and AC outlets throughout the airport. In terminal 1 there are four stations in Concourse B and four in Concourse C. In Terminal 2 there is one workstation each in Concourse E, F, and L. In Terminal 3 there are two workstations in Concourse G, one in Concourse H, two in Concourse K and one in Concourse L. In Terminal 5 there is one workstation at gate M13. Most airlines also offer seats equipped with power outlets in the gate waiting areas.
Connecting flights at ORD
If you’re connecting domestically, there are no shuttles or other connection services between Terminals 1, 2, and 3. The terminals take between 10-20 minutes to walk between depending on your gate.
If you’re connecting internationally, you can take the shuttle to Terminal 5, which takes 10 minutes between the two farthest points. (Note that select international flights, such as to Canada, can depart from Terminal 3). If you are traveling very early in the morning or late at night and the train shuttle is not running, you can take the shuttle bus, which arrives outside of each terminal every 5-15 minutes. International transfer guests may have to exit the secure area and go through security and customs before transferring.
Minimum connection times at ORD:
- Domestic connection: 30 minutes
- Domestic to international: 1 hour
- International to domestic: 2 hours
Map of the Chicago Airport
Food at the Chicago Airport
Terminal 1 has everything from fast-food to midscale dining. Grab a fresh salad from a Farmer’s Fridge vending refrigerator or settle in at Billy Goat Tavern & Grill. Try wines from around the world at Beaudevin Wine Bar, beers at Berghoff Cafe or Goose Island Beer Company, and have a classy lunch at La Tapenade Mediterranean Cafe or Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi Bar, to name a few options.
One highlight is Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless, the famous Chicago chef known for high-end Mexican food in the city. The lines at Tortas Frontera can get long, but you can order online ahead of time. (There are also Tortas Frontera locations in Terminal 3, Concourse K, and Terminal 5). And don’t worry—there are five Starbucks locations in Terminal 1 to help stave off jet lag. If you’re visiting out of town friends, stop by Garrett Popcorn Shops to bring them a taste of Chicago Mix.
Best breakfast: Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless
Best quick bite: Farmer’s Fridge
Best sit-down meal: Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi Bar
Best bar: Berghoff Cafe
Best late-night: Jazz Bar (open the latest of any Terminal 1 restaurant, until 9:30)
Best with kids: Chili’s Too
Terminal 2 has similar dining to Terminal 1, in that it has a range of quick-service and dine-in restaurants, but there are fewer. There are several fast-food options such as Auntie Anne’s and McDonald’s, a Chili’s Too, three Farmer’s Fridge locations, a Blackhawks sports bar and two other bars, an outpost of popular Chicago restaurant Summer House Santa Monica, and more. Don’t forget to grab a bag of nuts at Nuts on Clark for the plane!
Best breakfast: Brioche Doree for a quick coffee and pastry.
Best quick bite: Farmer’s Fridge or CIBO Express Gourmet Market
Best sit-down meal: Summer House Santa Monica
Best bar: Stanley’s Blackhawks Kitchen & Tap
Best late-night: McDonald’s is open until 10pm
Best with kids: Chili’s Too
This terminal has the most variety by far, with 68 options ranging from kiosks to fast-food to full dining experience. Go healthy with a smoothie or salad from B-Smooth or Farmer’s Fridge, or go all in Chicago-style at Gold Coast Dogs. Get burgers at Burger Federation, Mexican at Burrito Beach or Tortas Frontera, or Chinese food at Manchu Wok.
Settle in for a game at Chicago Cubs Bar & Grill, or sip champagne at Bubbles Wine Bar. Best of all, Terminal 3 has an outlet of Publican, a venerated Chicago restaurant serving seasonal dishes, and is home to Wolfgang Express, a fine-dining experience from chef Wolfgang Puck. There are also several other bars, pizza restaurants, coffee shops, fast-food restaurants and vending machines.
Best breakfast: Great American Bagel Company
Best quick bite: Green Market
Best sit-down meal: Publican
Best bar: Chicago Cubs Bar & Grill or Bubbles Wine Bar
Best late-night: Facades Bar (open until 9:30pm)
Best with kids: Chicago-style pizza at Reggio’s Pizza
Like O’Hare’s other terminals, at the international terminal you can find quick restaurants such as Dunkin’ and McDonald’s, several dine-in options, a few bars, and coffee shops and grab-and-go kiosks. Some of the better meals can be found at Tocco, an Italian-inspired trattoria; Big Bowl, a Chinese and Thai restaurant serving noodle and stir fry dishes; or Wow Bao, serving steamed bao, soups, and rice and noodle bowls. Because of international flight times, this is the only terminal with 24-hour options, including Dunkin and all Farmer’s Fridge vending machines.
Best breakfast: Goddess & the Grocer
Best quick bite: Wow Bao
Best sit-down meal: Tocco
Best bar: Hub 51
Best late-night: Dunkin’ or Farmer’s Fridge
Best with kids: R.J. Grunts Burgers & Fries
Lounges at the Chicago Airport
As United’s home terminal, you’ll find the United Club and United Polaris Lounge, which is for international first and business class customers only, in Terminal 1. The United club is accessible near Gates B6, B18 and C16, and the Polaris Lounge is at gate C18. Both lounges include a full-service bar, snacks, and WiFi. The Polaris Lounge also features a buffet, pre-flight dining options, quiet suites, and showers.
Lounge: United Club
Hours: 5am-9pm daily
Access: Star Alliance Gold status members, United Club membership members with a one-time pass, Premium cabin customers, active U.S. military personnel with a Untied boarding pass, Air Canada Maple Leaf members.
Cost: When space is available, one-time passes are $59 per person. Annual membership to the United Club is $650 or 85,000 miles.
Lounge: United Polaris
Hours: 6am-9pm daily
Access: A boarding pass for travel in United Polaris business class for a long-haul international flight or for a long-haul international first or business class flight on a Star Alliance member airline.
Cost: Not available without a business or first class boarding pass
Delta’s Sky Club O’Hare lounge is in Terminal 2, near gate E6. United also has another lounge here, near gate F9.
Hours: 5am-7:30pm Sun-Fri; 5am-6:15pm Sat.
Access: Annual SkyClub members; passengers with a business or first class boarding pass; Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card members; Amex Platinum cardholders with a Delta boarding pass; Air France business or first class passengers.
Cost: Daily entry is not available
American Airlines has lounges at Terminal 3. One is near gate G8, one at gate L2A; and one at gate H6/K6. The American Flagship Lounge is also at gate H6/K6. All serve snacks and have a full-service bar and WiFi. The Admirals Club lounge at gates H6/K6 also has two conference rooms and a kids room.
Lounge: American Admirals Club Concourse G and L
Hours: 6:15am-8pm daily
Access: Admirals Club members; Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elit MasterCard cardholders; ConciergeKey members; AirPass members with Admirals Club privileges; customers with a business or first class boarding pass.
Cost: Day passes are available for $59; annual memberships start at $550.
Lounge: American Admirals Club Concourse H/K
Hours: 5am-9pm daily
Access: First or business passengers on qualifying international flights; AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum members with a valid boarding pass; ConciergeKey members with a valid boarding pass; Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members with a valid boarding pass.
Cost: Day passes are not available.
The international terminal has two lounges: the SAS Lounge and Swissport Lounge, which hosts a number of international airline members. The SAS Lounge is home to Asiana Airlines and is temporarily closed. The Swissport Lounge serves Air India, Alitalia, Royal Jordanian, Etihad Airways, LOT Polish Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Finnair, and Priority Pass customers. It is located between gates M7 and M8. Unlike other lounges, access is open to all travelers regardless of travel class, as long as they have a lounge membership program. The lounge has a full-bar, snacks, and WiFi.
Lounge: Swissport Lounge
Hours: 7am-11pm daily (closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1)
Access: Access is permitted three hours prior to a scheduled flight departure.
Cost: Depends on the cost of various lounge memberships.
Sleeping at the Chicago Airport
There is one official airport hotel at O’Hare––the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel––but several others in the area. The Hilton is within walking distance of domestic terminals via underground walkways, and can be accessed from the international terminal via the Airport Transit System. The hotel also has a walkway to the CTA Blue Line, which goes downtown.
Best Hotels near the Chicago Airport
- Hilton Chicago O’Hare
- Loews Chicago O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Comfort Suites Chicago O’Hare
- Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare
- Chicago Marriott Suites O’Hare
Nap pods at ORD
There are no nap pods or other sleep-friendly options in the O’Hare airport.
Shopping at the Chicago Airport
Unlike some other major international airports around the world, the shopping at Chicago O’Hare is not very extensive. Every terminal has a Duty Free store, with alcohol, designer perfume, high-end chocolates, and Chicago souvenirs that you can purchase without tax with a valid boarding pass. Domestic terminals all have a Barbara’s Bookstore and a Sunglass Hut, and all terminals have multiple Hudson News & Gifts shops, where you can buy magazines, books, snacks, and flight essentials such as pillows and headphones. Each terminal also has an “Oops! Diapers 2Go” vending machine.
There is a Brooks Brothers in Terminal 3, and a Brookstone in Terminals 1, 3, and 5.
For gifts, visit the Field Museum in Terminal 1 or the I Love Chicago store in Terminal 5. If you forgot a charger or other electronic device, head to InMotion in Terminals 1 and 3. And if you’re traveling with kids, they might like the Lego vending machine in Terminal 2.
The only designer stores in O’Hare are the COACH and MAC Cosmetics in Terminal 2, and the Oakley store in Terminal 1.
Things to do at the Chicago Airport
- Check out the Tower Farm in the rotunda between Terminal 2 and 3. The aeroponic garden grows about 1,100 plants, including peppers, spinach, green beans, tomatoes, and more, which are then used in airport restaurants such as Tortas Frontera, Wicker Park Sushi, Wolfgang Puck, and Tuscany Café.
- Eat like a Chicagoan at Torta Frontera, Wicker Park Sushi, Publican Tavern, and Summer House Santa Monica, all outposts of Chicago restaurants.
- Stretch out in the Yoga Room in Terminal 3, which has floor to ceiling mirrors, bamboo floor, and frosted glass windows. A wall-mounted video monitor displays yoga exercise techniques, and mats are provided.
- Cheer on a Chicago sports team at the Chicago Cubs Bar & Grill or Stanley’s Blackhawks Bar.
- Check out the art throughout the airport, which is an extension of Chicago’s Public Art Program. There are dozens of paintings and sculptures throughout the airport, including “The Sky’s the LImit,” the neon light installation above the walking sidewalk connecting Concourses B and C that has become an iconic symbol of O’Hare.
- Get a workout in at the HIlton Health Club inside the Hilton O’Hare, which has day passes available for $15. It includes a full gym, steam room, sauna, lap pool, and locker rooms.
Things to do with at the Chicago Airport with kids
The airport is kid friendly in that it has multiple dining options that appeal to children and space at the gates to play, but as far as specialty options for kids there’s not much. There is a family lounge in Terminal 2 that has a play space, colorful seatings, and sometimes live entertainment.
- Visit the Family Room in Terminal 2 near Gate F1, where musicians, caricature artists, and other entertainers sometimes stop by (especially during the holidays).
- Browse the Field Museum shop in Terminal 1 or stop by the Lego vending machine in Terminal 2 to purchase some airport entertainment.
- You can walk through the three domestic terminals, doing kid-friendly things like taking the walking sidewalks and escalators and looking at the artwork and lights.
- Seek out the Field Museum brachiosaurus (four stories high) in Terminal 1 Concourse B, and the Butch O’Hare F4F-3 fighter plane in Terminal 2.
- In Terminal 5, walk through the Hall of Flags, featuring dozens of flags from different countries around the world in a bright atrium, with a giant gold globe in the middle.
- Spend a few hours in one of the family-friendly restaurants. From Berghoff Cafe at Gate C26, Chili's Too at Gate G10 and the Food Court seating area at Gate C26, you can see planes taking off. From Tuscany Restaurant at Gate B18, Wicker Park Seafood & Sushi in Terminal 2’s main hall, Starbucks at Gate H1, the Chicago Cubs Bar & Grill in the Terminal 3 rotunda and Macaroni Grill at gate K2, you can see airplanes on the ground.
- Ask for a free Chicago Airports Activity & Coloring Book at any Information desk.
Nursing pods in ORD
There are MAMAVA nursing pods in Terminal 2 , in Concourse F near Gate F1, and Concourse E near Gate E1. Mother’s Rooms are also available in all terminals. They feature comfortable, private seating and sinks.
Kids play areas in ORD
There is one kids play area in the Terminal 2 family room.
Traveling through ORD with pets
Service animals are always welcome throughout O’Hare. All animals must be accompanied and leashed by the owner. All non-service animals must be in a kennel. Large animals are not allowed.
Pet relief areas:
- Terminal 1 lower level Door 1A (outside security)
- Terminal 2 lower level Door 2A (outside security)
- Terminal 5 lower level Door 5B (outside security)
- Rental Cars Lot F
- Terminal 3 Rotunda between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 (inside security)
- Terminal 3 Main Hall next to the Lotto booth, down the hall from Gate K1 (inside security)
Getting to and from the Chicago Airport
How to get from ORD to downtown Chicago
- Train: The CTA Blue Line offers 24-hour service from the airport to downtown. The train is located in the lower level of Terminal 2. Just follow signs for “Trains to the City” from any arrivals terminal and you’ll find it. From stops in The Loop, you can transfer to other train lines or buses to reach your destination. It takes 40-55 minutes depending on your destination.
- Bus: GO Airport Express offers daily shared rides to and from O’Hare
- Taxi: Taxi stands are located outside of baggage claim at each terminal. Do not accept rides from drivers outside the taxi stand. It can take 25 minutes to an hour+ depending on traffic.
- Rideshare: Rideshares such as Uber and Lyft pick up at specified zones. Domestic arrivals should head to Terminal 2 between Door 2A and Door 2D. International pickups are at Terminal 5 lower level Door 5B. (The apps will typically guide you to your pickup zone).
How to get from ORD to Midway (MDW) Airport
- Train: Take the Blue Line from the O’Hare station located in the lower level of Terminal to to the Clark/Lake station downtown. Transfer to the Orange Line toward Midway and get off at Midway Station. It takes about 90 minutes.
- Shuttle: Coach USA WIsconsin offers hourly service between O’Hare and Midway for $16 one-way. Book online.
- Taxi: Taxi stands are located outside of baggage claim at each terminal in O’Hare. Fees will vary based on time of day, weather, and cab service. It takes 35-60 minutes depending on traffic.
- Rideshare: Rideshares pick up in designated zones outside Terminal 2 and Terminal 5. Rates will vary based on time of day and weather.
Chicago airport car rental
All car rentals can be found in the Multi Modal Facility, which is most easily accessible via the Airport Transit System. Most car rental companies also have their own shuttle to the facility. Car rental companies at O’Hare often require a valid boarding pass (it is not easy to rent a car from the airport if you are not flying in and out of Chicago). Fees vary depending on the time of year, day of the week, and type of car, but are generally $30-$60 per day. These are the car rental companies with offices inside the Multi Modal Facility:
- ACD Rent A Car
- Routes Car Rental
Parking at ORD Airport
There are several parking options at O’Hare, from short-term valet to long-term economy parking. The Economy Lots are best for long-term parking. Daily rates range between $15 and $22 per day. The Main Garage, which is adjacent to Terminal 1, offers hourly parking, starting at $3 for the first hour and maxing out at $42 for the day.
In addition to the daily parking available in the main garage, there are daily lots next to the economy lot. These are the same price as the main garage ($42/day) but meant to make space for people who know they will be at the airport more than a few hours, but less than a few days. Some airport hotels also offer parking for a lower fee, then you can take their shuttle to the airport.