One of the pleasures of visiting Chicago is that both of its airports are connected directly to the city's excellent rail transit system. At both places, just follow the signs for "CTA" after you pick up your luggage, and within a few minutes you'll be at the station. The Blue Line goes to O'Hare; the Orange Line goes to Midway. The latter goes directly to The Loop, so named because the elevated trains -- like those of the Orange Line -- loop around a section of downtown.
Chicago has two lines -- the Red Line and the Blue Line -- that also go downtown However, these are subways, not elevated trains, within The Loop. Although transferring between an elevated line and a subway line is free, it is rarely easy -- particularly if you are hauling luggage. Thus, just because the CTA states that you CAN go from one to the other at a specific station, it does not mean you SHOULD.
If you are coming from Midway on the Orange Line, and need to get to the Red Line, by far the best place to make this connection is at Roosevelt Station. Why? Because it's the ONLY such station with elevators between the two lines. In 2013, many stations don't even have escalators between the two. Walking down narrow stairs, with two rolling suitcases in hand, and dozens of others trying to pass you; is NOT a good intro to this great city! Even if you are going north on the Red Line, make the change at Roosevelt -- you'll save yourself a LOT of trouble!
Chicago's Midway International Airport is O'Hare's little brother, though it is older than O'Hare. Located just 10 miles from downtown, Midway serves 17 million passengers each year.
The airport was established in 1927 as Chicago's Municipal Airport, and by 1929, it was the busiest airport in the world. In 1949, the Chicago airport was renamed Midway to honor the Battle of Midway, one of the most important battles in the Pacific theater of World War II. Six months after the Battle of Pearl Harbor, Midway resulted in Japan losing four aircraft carriers, 248 aircraft, and over 3,000 dead, a devastating blow from which the Japanese Navy was never able to recover.
Economy parking is $14 a day, daily parking is steep at about $29 a day, and hourly parking is about $2 an hour.
Midway Airport, the world's busiest airport in the 1930s, is now Chicago's 2nd busiest airport, O'Hare being the busiest and handling most of the international flights. The name was changed from the Chicago Municipal Airport to Midway in 1949 in honor of the Battle of Midway.
Flights arriving here are primarily domestic, smaller, no frill airlines like Southwest, ATA, AirTran, etc. although some international flights do go through Midway.
The airport is easier to navigate than O' Hare and transportation to Chicago via the CTA Orange line (el) is within walking distance of the terminals.
Midway is slightly closer to downtown than O' Hare, the transit website estimates a trip of 30 minutes by el compared with 40 for O' Hare.
If you haven't been through Midway in awhile, Midway underwent a major renovation of it's terminals and parking facilities a few years ago and is a much nicer airport to travel through. There's a pretty good food court including Greek, sandwiches, pizza and recently I grabbed a corned beef sandwich from Manny's before boarding a flight.
As of 3/12/09 If you are parking and flying, Midway has several economy lots off 55th Street for $14 per day (have to take a shuttle bus to the terminal) or if you go to 59th just east of Cicero there's a $12 lot that you can walk from but they only take cash (and most times they "forget" to give you change!). Parking in the garage next to the terminal is $28 per day. Check the website below for updated rates.
My business takes me to the suburbs of Chicago and I have been flying in and out of Midway Airport twice a month for 3 years now. On Thursday October 30, 2008 I had a very unpleasant and dangerous experience near the airport. If you take Route 55 North and get off at Cicero there is a stop light which you always get stopped at. For years there has always been a harmless individual panhandling with a cup. Last Thursday it was different. At noon there was a gang of 5 or 6 individauls approaching cars and demanding money. A woman actually started banging on the driver side window ofmy car saying that she needed money for a broken car. Fortunately the light changed and I was able to get out of there. I reported this outrageous conduct to the Chicaco police and the local NBC station and both seemed not to care. This intersection is only a mile from the airport. Be Warned!
Midway Airport: Terrific relatively small airport. Easy access.
Under construction: tip notes
to either exit #285 OR exit #286 Cicero St. East cross over 55th Street and watch for blue "Midway Airport" signs.
(These exits run parallel and take you right down to the airport.)
Most people have heard of O' Hare International airport. For a long time, O' Hare was the world's busiest airport. Bigger does not always mean better. I travelled to Chicago using Midway airport and it was a pleasure.
With a smaller airport, most processes are relatively easier. When arriving, it was much easier for me to find my friend who came to fetch me. Departure also went smoothly. There were ample food outlets. I found the airport a pleasure to travel through.
Ofcourse I cannot give absolute advice, as there are many variables e.g. which airline you using, proximity to accomodation etc. I will say that if using Midway coincides with your plans; go for it!
My first visit (2005) was through Midway. My second visit (2006) was through O'Hare.
Everybody knows about O'Hare-one of the largest airports in the world, but there's another airport in Chicago-it's called Midway and is located in south Chicago at 5700 South Cicero. It's actually Chicago's first airport, built in 1927.
If you fly into Chicago on a discount airline like ATA or Southwest, you'll fly into Midway. Midway has had the reputation of being Chicago's "ghetto" airport, but it has recently gone through some renovations and seemed like a pretty nice airport to me.
To get to the airport, take the Orange line (it ends at Midway).
Midway is the smaller of the two airports in Chicago. It's located on the south side of Chicago and is easily accessible via the CTA's Orange Line.
Midway more typically serves domestic flights but connections to other countries can usually be booked. Depending on where you're heading to in Chicago, Midway may be much more convenient than O'Hare.
Midway airport is smaller than O'Hare airport, but it is closer to Chicago. The bad thing about Midway is that the shops and restaurants are past the security checkpoint and only ticketed passangers can get to it. That means that if your friends or family are seeing you off, you can only say bye to each other, and you can't even have a bite to eat together. The cool thing about this airport is that there is a 3-d bird made out of little metal airplanes hanging from the ceiling at different levels. You can't really see it in this picture, but maybe you can get the idea. As with most American airports, parking here is free if you leave within half an hour. After that it's very expensive.
Fly into Midway. It is a convient airport that has the accomodations of O'hare but not the size and confusion. They are in the process of rebuilding it so be patient.
I am not an expert on this, as I drive EVERYWHERE, so a car would probably be your best bet.
We flew in on Southwest Airlines from St. Louis to Midway. The flight was short about 45 minutes. We had a long walk from the gate to baggage claim, I was told that the airport is currently being renovated. Which I must say the new part of the airport is very nice. The waiting area at the gates, however, are very small and dark.
We took a cab to our hotel located in Oaklawn. The fare wasn't bad, roughly $13.00. There are Pace Bus Stops located at every corner in Oaklawn. I suggest taking the bus to the train, otherwise known as the Metra Electric Riders. We took the train into Chicago (LaSelle Station) the cost for a round trip ticket was only $5.00.
If you're coming into Midway, take the Orange Line to the Loop if that's your destination. It's only $1.50 instead of paying $15 for a taxi or bus. The train leaves every 6 to 15 minutes from Midway and gets to the Loop in about a half hour. It would take about that long to take a taxi or bus anyway, so take the train because it's much cheaper.
The only good way to get around is the 'L' in the city. The Dan Ryan, IKE, and Kennedy are almost always jam packed. Especially during rush hour or on the weekends. Lake Shore drive is a parking lot at 5pm weekdays.