If you're on an Amtrak train to Chicago, that means you'll be arriving in the Windy City at Chicago Union Station. And if you're looking to get to the Midway International Airport (MDW) from the station in downtown Chicago, you have a few options: subway, car or shuttle. Traveling by subway is the cheapest option, but it can take significantly longer than going by car or shuttle. The best choice depends on your budget and how much travel time you have to spare.
Traveling by Subway
Subway trains between Union Station and Midway Airport run often, with the whole journey taking just over an hour, including walking and wait times for pick up and drop off. Subways depart from Union Station every 10 minutes, and the line you'll need the orange "L" line runs from 3:50 a.m. until 1:25 a.m. on weekdays; 4:20 a.m. to 1:25 a.m. on Saturdays; and from 4:50 a.m. to 1:25 a.m. on Sundays and holidays. But first, you'll have to find the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) station near Union Station in order to purchase your fare card for any CTA trains and for help with getting directions for which public transportation options are the most efficient for you – whether it be train service or shuttle service. Let the travel guides at the CTA station help you figure out your best commuter experience.
The CTA station nearest Union Station, called Quincy Station, is just three blocks east. Exit Union Station to Adams or Jackson street, then walk east toward Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). You'll cross the Chicago River, then keep walking until you locate the CTA station entrance. The walk takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Follow signs for the Orange Line to the correct boarding platform, and buy a single-ride ticket from a ticket machine. Your ticket should be $3, and you can pay with cash or a debit or credit card. From there, pass through a turnstile and board any Orange Line train. Ride the train until it arrives at Midway Station.
It's a 10-minute walk from Midway Station to Midway Airport. Just take the pedestrian overpass, walk through the parking building and follow signs for the terminal.
Traveling by Car
If you're using a rideshare or taxi service to travel between Union Station and Midway Airport, the trip should only take between 20 and 30 minutes. Both Lyft and Uber operate in Chicago, so you can take your pick, depending on which you like best or which is offering the lowest fare. On average, you can expect to pay about $40 for a four-seat Lyft from the train station to the airport, or between $15 and $25 for an uberX.
Depending on traffic, you might even be able to score a cheaper deal with a taxi. The average estimated taxi fare between Union Station and Midway Airport is just under $40, though the trip could get lower than $30 without traffic or higher than $50 in heavy traffic.
Traveling by Shuttle
Private shuttles require advanced booking, but it might make more sense for travelers in big groups or if you're traveling with large amounts of luggage. You can book a direct shuttle for nine people from the train station to the airport for about $200 through GO Airport Express, or an SUV service for up to six people for about $115. This option requires a prior booking and is more expensive than subway or rideshare options, but it could be the most economical if you're traveling with a group during a rush hour period, since you'd be paying a flat fee rather than a metered fare.