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What's the best way to get from O'Hare to Downtown Chicago?

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Old Mar 9, 06, 7:47 am
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What's the best way to get from O'Hare to Downtown Chicago?

Hi all,
Flying into ORD for the first time.
Anyone got any experience what's the best way to get into town?
Should I pre book a Town car for $55 or would a Cab at the airport be much cheaper?
Or should I just use the Rail service?

Any advice would be great, thanks!
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Old Mar 9, 06, 7:52 am
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http://transitchicago.com
CTA home page has train (the L) and bus schedules, system maps, service updates and travel planners.

$2 from ORD to the Loop, don't have to worry about traffic

Last edited by Sweet Willie; Jul 5, 06 at 7:46 am
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Old Mar 9, 06, 2:09 pm
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A taxi will cost you over $30 and could take you up to 1 1/2 hours during rush hour. I agree with Willie, if you can manage your luggage, take the train. It's 45 minutes.

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Old Mar 10, 06, 5:13 pm
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Completely agree - take the eL - safe night and day and right downtown wherever you want to go.
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Old Mar 10, 06, 8:22 pm
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As everyone else has said, definitely the El. But, if you do have a lot of baggage to handle, it all comes down to how quickly you wish to arrive downtown and in what comfort level. Probably $55 in a private car, $40-45 in a standard taxi and $25 in a shared van service (airportexpress.com) where you may be lucky and be the first one dropped off or you might be the last. The taxis also offer ride shares for I think a flat $20 per head, but sometimes you have to wait a while before you find another person willing to share the cab with you.
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Old Mar 10, 06, 10:22 pm
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I live north of downtown, and I take the El to and from O'Hare about half the time. But before jumping to the conclusion that the El is right for you, I'd ask the following:
a) What time are you arriving and departing? Are you traveling on weekdays or weekends?
b) Are you male or female, traveling alone or in a group?
c) When you say you want to get into town, exactly where are you going? The El is convenient for some destinations at some hours, but I wouldn't recommend it to go everywhere all the time for everyone.

For example, I'm a single woman. If I'm traveling alone, there are some locations where I'd only feel comfortable getting off the El and catching a cab to my final destination during daylight hours. A lot of my male friends would probably be less concerned than I am...

Also, the El fares have increased. It's now $2 per trip.
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Old Mar 13, 06, 11:02 am
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Special circumstances aside... sitting in that ORD traffic can be brutal.
$2 for the Blue Line to downtown is the way to go.
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Old Mar 15, 06, 5:21 pm
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I usually travel alone (single female) and have no worries on the el - have friends up near O'Hare and have caught it back from Harlem (2 stops from the airport) in the early hours of the morning back to my hotel downtown with no worries at all.
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Old Mar 15, 06, 5:39 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor
Also, the El fares have increased. It's now $2 per trip.
Also, you can't get a transfer to a bus for $0.25 cash unless you have a Chicago Card, which is like a CTA debit card. You can still transfer between train lines for free.

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Old Mar 15, 06, 11:44 pm
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Well, cash transfers are gone but you can put $2.25 on a Transit Card (the flimsy plastic one sold at the vending machines) and get transfers that way:

http://yourcta.com/maps/faretable.htm

At O'Hare station, you can usually choose your car while the train's waiting at the station. If you're not comfortable on one, simply walk to the next one. The very last one is the one the operator is in, so you know there's personnel ready. Also, the crime rate on CTA is no higher than elsewhere in the city -- in fact, given the number of people who use the system, the rate's probably lower.

That said, one caveat: if it's winter, bundle up. It can get cold on those trains.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 5:34 am
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Thank you all for your helpful replies.
Been away and only just got a chance to see your posts.
Will be in Chicago tomorrow, and going by your recommendations I'm leaning towards taking the train.

as to the questions a couple of you brought up:
I am a male.
I'm arriving mid day.
Staying at the Conrad.

On the El, do you buy your ticket from a machine or ticket office? if its from a machine is it easy to understand what type of ticket to buy?

Feel a bit stupid asking these questions, being a regular traveler except I have found sometimes this tickets machines to be a little confusing....

Thanks guys.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 8:14 am
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Buy your "el" ticket at the machine. Follow the signs at the terminal. Two bucks will get you downtown.

Enjoy your stay.

Steve
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Old Mar 16, 06, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by flytheworld

On the El, do you buy your ticket from a machine or ticket office? if its from a machine is it easy to understand what type of ticket to buy?
If you have any problems, there should be a uniformed "L" employee there to help.

Have fun in Chicago!
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Old Mar 16, 06, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by flytheworld
On the El, do you buy your ticket from a machine or ticket office? if its from a machine is it easy to understand what type of ticket to buy?

Feel a bit stupid asking these questions, being a regular traveler except I have found sometimes this tickets machines to be a little confusing....

Thanks guys.

It's not like that sort of train system. You simply put money on a card. It's $1.75 each way without transfers. You just walk up to the machine and feed it cash ($1,$5,$10,$20 bills) and when your done hit vend and it spits out a flimsy card that you put in the machine and it deducts the necessary funds and then your on the train. It costs the same to go one stop as from one end of the line to another.
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Old Mar 16, 06, 9:05 pm
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word of caution...

Originally Posted by bdesmond
It's not like that sort of train system. You simply put money on a card. It's $1.75 each way without transfers. You just walk up to the machine and feed it cash ($1,$5,$10,$20 bills) and when your done hit vend and it spits out a flimsy card that you put in the machine and it deducts the necessary funds and then your on the train. It costs the same to go one stop as from one end of the line to another.
The blue line (the only subway from O'Hare) will get you to the loop, but won't quite get you all the way to the Conrad Hotel in the Mag Mile area. You either have to transfer to the red line and take it to grand st. or you can actually walk...it's not that far...altho it's getting cold in Chicago again...so walking isn't going to be much fun.

I believe there is a blue line stop in the loop called State/Lake that will let you out close to where the Conrad is...you'll have to cross the river and walk north and east for a handful of blocks...
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