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Getting Here & Getting Around

Find out how to get to Illinois by plane, train, bus and driving. Getting around Chicago and Illinois is easy with our guide to ways to travel around the state.


January 27, 2017

Image courtesy of Amtrak

A couple dine aboard the Cardinal Amtrak train enroute from New York to Chicago.

Getting Here & Getting Around

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Getting to Illinois

Getting to Illinois by Plane

Most domestic and international flights to Illinois arrive in Chicago. The two main airports are O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.

There are 18 public airports throughout Illinois. Domestic travelers can fly direct to destinations like Springfield, Peoria, Rockford, Moline and Bloomington-Normal.

Getting to and from O’Hare & Midway

Chicago Transit Authority trains run 24/7. The Blue Line ‘L’ train takes you from O’Hare to downtown Chicago in about 45 minutes. Follow the “Trains to the City” signs. If you arrive at the international terminal, follow the signs to the Airport Transit System where you can get a free ride to Terminal 2 and catch the L train to the City. The CTA Orange Line train takes about 25 minutes from Midway to downtown Chicago.

Regular shuttles to many Chicago downtown hotels leave from the central bus pick-up points. You can also taxi, hire a limo or rent a car. You can find more information on getting to and from O’Hare and Midway airports here.

Driving to Illinois

Chicago is a major hub, so Illinois is served by many interstate highways, including I-24, I-39, I-41, I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-72, I-74, I-80, I-88, I-90 and I-94.

Driving Distances to Chicago

FROM

DISTANCE

TIME

Cincinnati

300 miles

5 hours

Cleveland

350 miles

6 hours

Detroit

285 miles

5 hours

Indianapolis

180 miles

3 hours

Kansas City

530 miles

9 hours

Milwaukee

95 miles

2 hours

Minneapolis

410 miles

7 hours

Pittsburgh

460 miles

8 hours

Quad Cities

170 miles

3 hours

St. Louis

295 miles

5 hours

Toronto

500 miles

9 hours

Getting to Illinois by Train

Chicago is one of Amtrak’s main hubs, coming to a stop at Union Station in downtown Chicago. Amtrak also serves 25 additional cities throughout Illinois.

Getting to Illinois by Bus

Greyhound Lines runs express routes to Chicago from 20 major US Cities, and serves other Illinois destinations, including Bloomington Normal, Carbondale, Champaign, Danville, Decatur, DeKalb, Dixon, Effingham, Freeport, Galesburg, Kankakee, La Salle, Marion, Markham, Mattoon, Moline, Mount Vernon, Naperville, Peoria, Quincy, Rochelle, Rockford, Springfield and Vienna.

Getting Around Illinois

Driving in Illinois

Illinois highways and roads are well maintained and provide posted signage for drivers. Taking a road trip is a breeze.

State law requires you to wear a seatbelt when travelling by car, and if you are a motorcyclist, you must wear a helmet. Speed limits are posted in miles per hour (mph) and vary between 70 mph on rural interstates and freeways and 65 mph on urban interstates and freeways.

You may not use your cell phone for texting while driving and you must use hands-free technology to make calls. You can download rules of the road for Illinois here.

Public Transport in Chicago & Illinois

Metra run commuter rail services from downtown Chicago to outlying suburbs and surrounding cities. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) serves Chicago and its suburbs. The RTA Regional Trip Planner can help you plan your trip.

Amtrak runs trains to 25 cities in Illinois and Greyhound Lines serves most major Illinois cities.

Cycling in Chicago & Illinois

Illinois is a great state to explore by bike, with an extensive network of trails and terrain, from flat prairie to river bluffs and lakesides.

Chicago has a bike sharing program and you can find information on bike lanes and bike parking at chicagocompletestreets.org. Find more useful information about Illinois cycling routes from Ride Illinois and Map My Ride. You can download rules of the road for cyclists in Illinois here.

Illinois Visitor Information Centers

Illinois has a network of visitor information centers. The main Chicago Visitor Center is located within Macy’s at 111 N. State Street. There are nine Tourist Information Centers throughout the state.


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