Car Rental in Chicago
The iconic "Windy City" of Chicago is at the top of many budding travelers’ bucket list with its almost endless range of sights and attractions. From the famous landmarks and world-class museums in The Loop to the bohemian streets of the West Side, Chicago is a city that will live long in the memory. With plenty of appealing things to see and do around the suburbs of Chicago and many more day-trip destinations around Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, enhance your trip to Chicago with a rental car.
Where to rent a car in Chicago
You can visit one of many international car rental providers as soon as you have touched down at Chicago O’Hare International Airport including Hertz, Sixt, Avis, Dollar and Alamo. The majority of offices are located off site but you can easily reach them via a complimentary shuttle bus outside your passenger terminal. All major car rental companies also have offices located across the city so you can easily arrange your vehicle in Chicago once you have settled in.
Driving in Chicago
As you might expect of the third largest city in the United States, traffic can be quite hectic in Chicago so it can be a challenge to reach your destination without sufficient planning. The Downtown area of Chicago suffers a lot from congestion so it is best to avoid this area whenever you can. Chicago’s expressways are an efficient way to traverse the city but are known for their aggressive drivers so keep your wits about you at all times, while Chicago is also full of cyclists and plenty of pedestrians crossing. Although the grid system makes it a bit easier to navigate the city once you get used to it, it’s still a good idea to get a satnav system to help you get around.
Parking in Chicago
Chicago is served by many under and above ground parking lots and street parking is also available. Spaces in central areas of the city are very hard to come by and parking garages here can cost as much as 200 AED for the day. Street parking is also infamously expensive across Chicago with rates as high as 50 AED for 2 hours. As the city benefits from excellent public transport links it can be much easier to park up in a suburb before catching public transport into the center. If you plan on parking on the street you will need to pay at the meter, with most meters accepting card payment or online app payment only. Be aware that many spaces are reserved for residents or off-limits at certain times so read the signage carefully. You can also check with your hotel to see whether they offer parking.
Where to go around Chicago
Chicago is a huge city so a rental car will definitely come in handy if you want to fit in as many districts of the city as possible during your trip. Besides the world-famous attractions around The Loop and Downtown area there are many other must-see districts of Chicago like the historic Pullman District on the Southeast Side and the beaches along the North Side. Chicago is within driving distance of many fantastic nature destinations in the region such as the rugged Starved Rock State Park or the Indiana Dunes across the state border. Other great cities just a short drive from Chicago include Indianapolis which is 3 hours by car as is the Illinois state capital Springfield.
* This information is correct as of December 2018