Chicago O’Hare International Airport serves bustling Chicago, Illinois; the third most populous city in the United States (after New York and Los Angeles). With more than 66 million passengers yearly, O’Hare Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and in fact, was THE busiest airport in the world for 40 years (until the early 2000s). It has an area of more than 7,000 acres and consists of 4 terminals: Terminals 1, 2 and 3 handle domestic flights, whilst Terminal 5 is used for international flights. (There is, interestingly, no Terminal 4). With flights to more than 60 international destinations, it was voted the ‘Best Airport in North America’ for a whopping 10 years by the discerning readers of Global Traveler Magazine.
Located about 27 kilometres from the Chicago Loop (the central business district of Chicago), getting to and from the O’Hare airport is a piece of cake. There are numerous public transport options available, the most convenient being the Blue Line trains offered by the Chicago Transit Authority (often known as the L trains). Simply walk to the Blue Line station from the airport terminal using pedestrian tunnels and hop on a train - the service is offered 24/7 and can get you to the Loop quickly and efficiently.
Otherwise, you can also take the Metra trains by going through the O’Hare Transfer Station. Hop on the Airport Transit System (ATS) from the airport terminal and ride to ‘Parking Lot F’, where you can get on a shuttle bus that will take you to O’Hare Transfer Station for the Metra North Central Service trains.
For those not going to Chicago, regional buses are also available to take you into Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa from O’Hare airport. Get yourself to the Bus/Shuttle Centre to board these buses - you can access the Centre from the airport via linking pedestrian tunnels.
What to see and do
If you’re in Chicago, don’t miss Willis Tower, the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and 5th tallest building in the world (as of July 2014). Previously named Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is considered one of the ‘7 wonders of Chicago’ and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, for good reason. Ascend the building to get to the Skydeck Chicago for an amazing panoramic view of the city; you can even see as far as 4 different American states! The Skydeck also offers The Ledge - an all-glass balcony that extends beyond the building’s edge - for those seeking a bit of adrenaline rush to get a feel of themselves floating more than 1000 feet above the ground.
But of course, no trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to Navy Pier, considered an iconic destination of the Midwest. Built around the gorgeous Lake Michigan, Navy Pier features everything you and your kids could dream of for a fun day out - beautiful gardens and promenades, exciting carnival rides, breathtaking lake views, shops and countless eateries. Go on the 15-storey-high Ferris Wheel with your kids or take them to the Chicago Children’s Museum before letting them loose on the mini golf course while you relax at the shores of the lake with a cold drink in hand and nothing more pressing to do than while the time away.
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