Chicago is a world-class city with a variety of transit options that make getting to and from the convention center a breeze!
Getting Around Chicago
Chicago is a walking city with an easy-to-navigate downtown grid. Madison Street divides the city north and south, while State Street divides it east and west. The State/Madison intersection marks the origin of Chicago's address grid system. Addresses are relative to the distance from that mark, with eight blocks to every mile. So an address of 3600 North Clark means that it is 36 blocks north of Madison.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation's second largest public transportation system – serving the City of Chicago and 40 neighboring communities by rail and bus. Pay cash for single trip rides or purchase a reloadable Ventra Transit Card or Unlimited Ride Pass for added savings.
For full fare information, transit card retailers and maps, visit the Chicago Transit Authority website at transitchicago.com. Also look to their site for the latest updates to train schedules and routes that may affect your travel plans.
‘L' Trains: Not all of Chicago's eight ‘L' lines are "elevated." They do, however, connect the city via above-ground, street-level and subway trains and serve 144 rail stations all over town, making the ‘L' one of the most efficient and affordable methods of transportation available. Two lines operate 24 hours a day: the Blue Line, which connects the airport and downtown, and the Red Line, with service between the North and South Sides via downtown.
L TRAIN: The Green Line Cermak/McCormick Place stop is just a few blocks from America's Beauty Show. Check out the TransitChicago website!
Buses: More than 100 routes lace the city; buses stop every few blocks. Several lines operate 24 hours a day. Exact change is required for cash fare.
BUS: The efficient city bus system, includes a dedicated busway that goes straight to McCormick Place. Check out the Transit Chicago website!
The #3 City Bus runs down Michigan Avenue and goes straight to McCormick Place. Download the #3 Schedule!
Full Fare with Cash (bus only)
Acceptable on buses using exact change only in dollar bills or coins; no transfers available.
Single Ride Disposable Ventra Ticket (bus and rail)
Ventra Tickets are good only for a limited time and cannot be loaded again once used up. Includes a full fare and two transfers (a $2.50 value), plus a $0.50 limited-use media fee.
1-Day Disposable Ventra Ticket (bus and rail)
Ventra Tickets are good only for a limited time and cannot be loaded again once the value is used up. Includeds unlimited rides within 24 hours of activation.
- Unlimited rides for 24 hours: $10.00
Full Fare with Reloadable Ventra Card (bus and rail)
Transfers must occur within two hours of the first ride. Available online and at rail station vending machines.
- First ride: $2.00 (bus)
- First ride: $2.25 (rail)
- First transfer: $0.25
- Second transfer: FREE
O'Hare Station Fare (rail)
A $5 O'Hare rate applies to riders paying full fare from the O'Hare Blue Line Station.
- First ride if starting at O'Hare: $5.00
- First transfer: $0.25
- Second transfer: FREE
Unlimited Ride Passes (bus and rail)
Activated on first use, passes allow unlimited rides for the specified time, offering the best travel value.
- 1-Day CTA Fun Pass: $10.00
- 3-Day CTA Pass: $20.00
- 7-Day CTA Pass: $28.00
METRA COMMUTER RAIL
The high-speed Metra commuter rail train connects outlying suburbs to downtown and is an easy way to get into the heart of the city fast. For exact fares and route maps, visit the Metra website at metrarail.com.
Located on Level 2.5 of the Grand Concourse in the McCormick West South Building, the METRA Electric commuter railroad provides direct service within seven minutes to and from downtown Chicago. Service from the Millennium (Randolph St.) Station (near the Fairmont Hotel) to McCormick Place begins early morning, with more frequent pick-ups during rush hours.
Shuttle connections (via CTA bus) can be made to the METRA system at Chicago Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center and LaSalle Street Station. METRA services the Midwest as far north as Kenosha, Wisconsin; northwest to Fox Lake and Harvard; west to Elgin, Geneva and Aurora; southwest to Joliet and Orland Park; south to University Park; and east to South Bend, Indiana. Metra/CTA Bus Map
- Single trip: $2.75 and up based on zones traveled
- 10-ride pass: $27.50 and up based on zones traveled
Tell the driver, "McCormick Place West" and you'll be there in no time. All our partner hotels are a short cab ride from the convention center. Don't forget to tip!
Taxis are plentiful and easy to hail downtown, at the airports and throughout many Chicago neighborhoods. You can also electronically hail (E-Hail) a taxicab through a mobile app. CHICABS offers safe and secure options for a Chicago taxicab ride. CHICABS approved apps ARRO and CURB also let passengers electronically pay (E-Pay) for the taxicab fare through the app.
Credit cards are accepted in all taxi cabs by city mandate. It is standard to tip the driver about 15-20% of the fare, plus $1-2 per bag if the driver helps you with luggage. Please note that all fares and taxes are subject to change; visit the City of Chicago website for additional taxicab passenger information.
Sample taxi fare between downtown and O'Hare Airport is $40-50, and between Midway Airport is $30-35 (tip not included).
- Taxis charge a base rate of $3.25, plus $2.25 for each additional mile and $0.20 for every 36 seconds of time elapsed.
- If a gas surcharge is in effect, a sign will be displayed inside the taxicab and a surcharge may apply. Tolls are an extra charge. Taxis charge $1 for the first additional passenger over age 12 and under age 65; each additional passenger after that is $0.50.
CHICAGO BY BIKE
For cyclists, information on Chicago's bike sharing program Divvy, local bike lanes and bicycle rack parking is available at chicagocompletestreets.org.
Click here to access an interactive parking map of downtown Chicago to search for public parking lots and garages by address and points of interest.
Want to pay for parking in advance? Find the perfect Chicago parking spot by comparing price, location, and amenities. Reserve your spot now.
Looking for a way to figure out the best of all your Chicago transportation options? Download the free mobile app RideScout for real-time information right on your phone. From Divvy bike ride share stations and CTA train/bus routes, to parking spots for your car or taxi pick ups — one simple view provides total transportation time, cost and nearest point to access.