How many airports are in Chicago, and which one should you choose for your next flight? If you’re flying in to visit the Second City, you’ll most likely arrive at one of two international airports located in the city: Chicago O’Hare Airport or Chicago Midway Airport. However, even most Chicago locals tend to forget that there’s a third international airport—Gary/Chicago International Airport, about 25 miles from downtown Chicago—serving general aviation, corporate, commercial, and cargo users.
Before you go ahead and book a flight, it’s worth taking a few minutes to find out which airport can make your travel easier. The right choice will depend on the public transportation options near your destination in Chicago, which airline you fly with, and your personal preferences.
Chicago O’Hare Airport
If your final destination in Chicago is anywhere on the north side of the city, it’s going to be a lot easier getting there if you fly into Chicago O’Hare Airport. Once off the plane, you can head directly to the CTA Blue Line—which takes you through the Logan Square area and to the Loop in about 45 minutes. You can also access Metra commuter train service and head out to the Chicago suburbs.
Aside from location, the key difference between O’Hare and Midway airports is size. O’Hare is Chicago’s busiest airport, with five terminals and offering about five times as many domestic and international flights as Midway. That’s a plus if you want more options for a flight to a smaller city. O’Hare also has the benefit of a sprawling food court and a mall-like feel, with shops selling everything from gourmet chocolate bars to high-end headphones.
You can reach Chicago O’Hare Airport via the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line and the Metra commuter train service, or regional and airport shuttle buses. If you choose to drive, you can park your car for a rate of $15 per day.
Chicago Midway Airport
Located on Chicago’s south side, Midway is the better choice if you’re headed to a neighborhood anywhere south of the Loop. But even if you’re headed someplace that’s equidistant to O’Hare and Midway, there are some good reasons to opt for Chicago’s smaller airport!
Overall, Midway offers a smoother and easier flying experience, with shorter wait times for security and easier navigation. You might spend half an hour just walking through O’Hare to find your gate; with Midway’s single terminal and three concourses, you can get to your gate in 10 minutes, and settle in for the wait with a good book. While there are plenty of places to grab snacks or a sandwich for lunch, Midway does lack the wide range of shops that some travelers prefer.
From downtown, you can get to Midway via the CTA Orange Line train, CTA buses, and regional airport shuttle buses. Parking rates for Midway are also $15 per day.
Chicago Airport Codes
When you book your flight, you’ll need to know the abbreviation for your destination airport, known as Chicago airport codes:
- Chicago Midway Airport Code: MDW
- Chicago O’Hare Airport Code: ORD
Book Your Chicago Flight and Experience The Ledge!
Now that you know how many airports are in Chicago and which one is best for your travels, you’re ready to see Chicago! If you love the view flying into Chicago Midway or O’Hare Airport, book a view from The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago. Located in the city’s tallest skyscraper, Skydeck is just steps away from the Loop—so reserve your spot with online tickets today!