To avoid the hassle and confusion of taxis and shuttles, travelers can rent a car upon arrival at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Every major rental car company, including Hertz, Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise, operates at O'Hare, and most of them are located in the baggage claim areas. Skyscanner makes the transition from bag pickup to drive-away convenient with their rental car company comparison search tool. Picking a budget rental or a premium luxury car is fast and easy. Chicago uses toll roads on a cashless system. Rental car companies should tell drivers about these and how to pay them. In some cases, the companies tack on a daily charge for these tolls.
Finding a Rental Car at O'Hare International Airport
O'Hare International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. Fortunately, car rental companies make it easy to rent a car and drive away by providing customer service desks or kiosks directly in each terminal near the baggage claim area. Visitors can choose a rental car before flying with Skyscanner's car rental comparison tool or select from many available choices upon arrival. Each car rental company uses a shuttle service to ferry passengers between the airport and the rental car lot. Each company provides curbside pickup outside each terminal, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Driving Around O'Hare International Airport and Chicago
Downtown Chicago is 18.2 miles (29 km) from O'Hare International Airport. Most car rental pickup lots are near the Kennedy Expressway (Interstate Highway 90). The drive on I-90 East to Downtown Chicago takes less than 25 minutes, but travel time is considerably longer during rush hours (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays). Drivers in Chicago are impatient and may cut in front of other drivers or speed through yellow lights. Parking in the downtown area is expensive for after-hour car lots, but many hotels offer private parking with discounted rates. Having a pocketful of coins is helpful for the rare, but cheap, public parking meters. Note that these meters usually have a two-hour limit.
Attractions In and Around Chicago
Modern architecture meets Mother Nature along the magnificent Lakeshore Drive (Route 41). A drive north along South Lakeshore Drive features the massive Lake Michigan on the right and the dazzling Chicago skyline on the left. Begin the drive with visits to Soldier Field, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium, then head north to reach Navy Pier and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. For a really impressive loop through Chicago, take the drive back south from Oak Street Beach down to the Chicago River via the "Magnificent Mile," a dense concentration of world-class culture and shopping stretching down Michigan Avenue.
Returning to O'Hare International Airport
Many car rental companies require rental cars to be returned with a full tank. Take the Kennedy Expressway (I-90) West toward O'Hare International Airport. Take the Harlem Avenue exit a short drive south to West Higgins Avenue. Refill the tank at the Mobil or Shell gas station at the intersection. Refill the stomach at any of a number of fast food restaurants near the fuel stations.