According to Google Maps, the closest airport to downtown Chicago is Midway International Airport being a 10.9 miles distance that will take anywhere from 16 to 35 minutes. Although there are several alternative ways to reach your downtown Chicago destination from this airport, the fastest way to get there is by driving, especially if you are landing at around noon.

Whether you’re traveling solo or you’re with a group, you’ll most likely have luggage with you and sometimes that can be a factor in the pricing of your transportation. That’s why choosing one of Bus Connection’s fleet of vehicles is one of the best options you have. It doesn’t matter if you are arriving from Midway International Airport or O’Hare International Airport, read on to find out about the best modes of transportation both during the day and night.

How long does it take from Chicago’s airports to downtown Chicago?

Chicago has two main airports, namely O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. If you are planning on visiting downtown Chicago or the so-called “windy city” and are looking for alternative ways to get there, the options below will help you make the most informed decision for your needs.

O’Hare International Airport

Although there are several ways to get from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, the two most popular transportation modes are public transportation and driving. Here is what you need to know about both of these options.

Public transportation:

For those who would like to use the Chicago Transit Authority’s services, you can take advantage of the Blue Line to get to downtown Chicago from O’Hare International Airport. You have two options here.

The first is taking the Blue Line from O’Hare International Airport to LaSalle Street. This journey will take approximately 54 minutes and once you exit at this stop, it’s a seven-minute walk from there to downtown Chicago.

The second option involves getting on the Blue Line from O’Hare International Airport where you switch to the Pink Line at the Clark/Lake Street stop. After this, continue your journey and get off at the Adams/Wabash stop from where it will take approximately seven minutes to get to downtown Chicago. This trip should take approximately 55 minutes.


If you would like to drive from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, you can opt to drive or be driven to your destination. However, it’s worth knowing that several factors can affect the duration of your trip. These include high traffic volumes, the weather, and the demand for rideshare/taxi/shuttle services.

With this in mind, the two fastest routes for driving from O’Hare International Airport include taking the 1-294 S to I-290 E, which will take you straight to downtown Chicago. It’s worth bearing in mind that this route has tolls but there are usually few if any road closures.

The second more direct option is taking the I-90 directly from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago. Eventually, you will take the I-290 to head downtown. Although this route is more direct, it is also quite busier than the former route option.

Midway International Airport

As for getting to downtown Chicago from Midway International Airport, you can again avail of either public transportation options or driving to your destination. Let’s explore each of these alternatives below.

Public transportation:

When you are at Midway International Airport, you will need to walk for about four minutes to the public transportation point called Midway. From there, you will catch the Orange Line from Midway to Harold Washington Library State. This journey involves eight stops and will take approximately 24 minutes. Once you get off at the Harold Washington Library State stop, you will take a six-minute walk and arrive in downtown Chicago from this downtown Chicago airport.


Because Midway International is the airport nearest to Chicago downtown, a trip involving driving can take you anywhere from 17 to 31 minutes. You can choose to go via the I-55 N to downtown Chicago or you can opt for the route via S Cicero Avenue and I-55 N.

How to get from Midway International to downtown Chicago

If you are landing at Midway International Airport and are wondering how far is downtown Chicago, the answer will depend on the transportation option you choose. In general, you can opt for private bus services, public transportation, driving by car, or getting an Uber/Lyft or taxi.

Private bus services:

One of the most reliable, convenient, and comfortable options to get you from Midway International Airport to downtown Chicago is through Bus Connection. We will pick you up at the airport and you will not be charged additional costs for extra luggage. We will also ensure that we take the speediest route to drop you off at your desired location and can even assist with tours that help you discover Chicago. To get a quote for your trip, all you have to do is click here.

Public transportation using the Orange Line:

The Chicago Transit Authority’s train lines operate 24/7 and you can take the Orange Line from Midway International Airport to downtown Chicago. A journey will cost you just over $2 and it will take around 34 minutes to arrive at your destination.

How much does it cost to Uber from Midway International Airport to Chicago?

Another alternative you have is to take an Uber or a taxi from Midway International Airport to downtown Chicago. The cost of this trip can range from $38 to $60.

How to get from O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago

If you are wondering how far is O’Hare from downtown Chicago, the answer is 17.2 miles. This distance to O’Hare from downtown Chicago can be covered by public or private transportation.

By public transportation:

If you opt to go for public transportation, your best option would be to take the Blue Line from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, which will take around 53 minutes for you to arrive at your destination and will require a seven-minute walk once you get off at the LaSalle or Adam/Wabash stops.

Hiring a private bus service:

Of course, you can also hire a private bus service with Bus Connection where we will pick you up from the airport and take you straight to your location in downtown Chicago. We have a variety of vehicles in our fleet, including SUVs, mini-buses, a Mercedes Sprinter, an executive coach bus, and a full-size motor coach.

How long does it take to get from downtown Chicago to O’Hare during rush hour?

Although the 25.7-mile trip from O’Hare to downtown Chicago can take around 30 minutes without traffic, it’s important to note that the trip duration can almost double to 50 minutes during rush hour. To avoid the discomfort of public transportation, choosing a private bus service like ours at Bus Connection will help get you to your chosen location on time, hassle-free.

Concluding remarks

Now that you know the answer to the question – is Midway or O’Hare closer to downtown Chicago? – it’s time to plan your route to get to downtown Chicago from your chosen airport. Of course, public transportation is a viable option but if you would like to travel hassle-free and with comfort, choosing a private bus service like the one we offer at Bus Connection can make your trip that much more convenient.

With extensive experience in providing airport transfers alongside a variety of other services, choosing Bus Connection for your transportation needs in Chicago is your best bet. Simply get in touch with us to see how we can help make your next trip to Chicago as seamless as possible.