During a recent trip that required me to drive to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), I was faced with the task of figuring out the parking situation at one of the busiest airports in the world.
With various parking options available, each with its own pricing structure, navigating the choices became an essential part of my travel planning.
This guide, based on my personal experience, aims to demystify ORD’s parking facilities and provide practical advice for travelers looking to park their vehicles at the airport.
Overview of Parking at ORD
O’Hare offers a range of parking options to accommodate different needs and budgets, including hourly, daily, economy, and valet parking.
Upon approaching the airport, clear signage directs drivers to the various parking lots and garages, but understanding the nuances of each option in advance can save both time and money.
Main Parking Options and Costs
- Hourly Parking: Ideal for short visits or picking up passengers, hourly parking is located in the Main Garage (Lot A) close to the domestic terminals. Rates start at $3 for up to 1 hour, with a maximum of $77 for 24 hours. This convenience comes at a premium, making it less suitable for longer stays.
- Daily Parking: Also situated in the Main Garage as well as Lots B and C, daily parking provides a more economical option for multi-day trips compared to hourly parking. The daily rate is approximately $42. It’s a viable option for travelers seeking convenience without the cost of valet parking.
- Economy Parking: For travelers looking to minimize expenses, the Economy Lots (E, F, G, and H) offer the best rates, starting at $17 per day. These lots are farther from the terminals but are connected by free shuttle buses that run regularly, 24/7. During my stay, I opted for Economy Lot G, finding the shuttle service efficient and the lot secure.
- Valet Parking: Located at the departures level of Terminal 1, valet parking offers the utmost convenience at a rate of $64 per day. This premium service is ideal for those pressed for time or preferring a hassle-free experience.
- International Parking Lot D: Specifically designed for international travelers, Lot D’s rates are aligned with the daily parking options, providing closer access to Terminal 5.
Additional Parking Services
ORD also features several services to enhance the parking experience:
- Reserved Parking: For an additional reservation fee of $10, travelers can book a parking spot in advance in the Main Garage, ensuring a place upon arrival.
- Kiss ‘n’ Fly: Recognizing the need for a quick drop-off option, ORD offers a designated area for drivers to drop off passengers without entering the main parking areas. Located at the ATS (Airport Transit System) Station, it’s connected to the terminals via a free light rail system.
- Cell Phone Lot: A complimentary waiting area for drivers picking up arriving passengers, allowing for a convenient curbside pickup once travelers have landed and collected their luggage.
My Parking Experience
For my week-long trip, economy parking was the clear choice, balancing cost-effectiveness with security and convenience.
Upon entering Lot G, I found ample signage directing me to available spaces. The shuttle stop was nearby, and I waited less than 5 minutes for a shuttle to the terminals.
The drivers were helpful, assisting with luggage and providing information on pickup locations for my return.
Tips for Parking at ORD
Based on my experience, here are some tips for a stress-free parking experience at O’Hare:
- Research in Advance: Review the parking options and rates on ORD’s website before your trip. Consider factors like the length of your stay, proximity to terminals, and budget.
- Consider Reserved Parking: For peak travel times or if you prefer the assurance of a guaranteed spot, the reserved parking option can be worth the extra fee.
- Allow Extra Time: Especially if parking in the economy lots, factor in additional time for shuttle transport to and from the terminals.
- Save Your Parking Location: In large lots like those at ORD, it’s easy to forget your exact parking spot. Take a photo or use a parking app to mark your location.
Parking at Chicago O’Hare International Airport offers a spectrum of choices to fit various traveler needs and preferences.
From premium valet services to budget-friendly economy lots, ORD accommodates with an array of options.
My decision to use the economy parking worked out perfectly, combining affordability with the convenience of regular shuttles to the terminals.
With a bit of planning and knowledge of the available options, parking at ORD can be a seamless aspect of your travel experience, just as it was for me.