We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Chicago Midway International Airport.
While most people naturally think O’Hare when they think Chicago airports, Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) shouldn’t be overlooked, especially because of its convenience to Chicago. At one time, Midway was actually the main international airport in Chicago. MDW is several miles closer to downtown Chicago, located southwest of Chicago, and just about 20 minutes away via the Orange Line rapid transit line. Alternatively, Chicago Midway Airport is about 20 to 40 minutes away by car. Both taxis and rideshares are available, while Midway has its own rental car facility that is just a few minutes away by complimentary shuttle.
MDW is a relatively small international airport, consisting of just one main terminal with 40-plus gates that are predominantly spread between two main concourses. Southwest is the main airline that flies in and out of MDW, although Delta and Volaris also have routes to and from MDW.
Many of Chicago Midway International Airport’s dining options are unique to MDW, such as HVAC Pub (Concourse B), Big & Little’s (Concourse B), Billy Goat Tavern (Concourse A), Gold Coast Dogs (Central Market), and Go Go White Sox Bar and Grill (Central Market), all of which have their roots in Chicago. Another Chicago establishment, Arami, located in Concourse A, is one of the more popular sushi restaurants in Chicago. Other restaurants include Pegasus on the Fly (Central Market) for Greek, Porkchop (Concourse B) for Southern-style comfort food, DeColores (Central Market) for Mexican, Tabo Sushi (Central Market and Concourse B), True Burger Co. (Concourse A), and Woodgrain Neopolitan Pizza (Concourse A). Like most international airports, MDW has a number of grab-and-go spots, including Dunkin’ Donuts and several cafes.
Many of those same Chicago locales mentioned above are also a good spot to grab a drink. Belly up to the bar of HVAC Pub, Billy Goat Tavern and Go Go White Sox Bar and Grill, all of which have a full bar. Elsewhere, enjoy local beer at Tap & Pour in Concourse B, or at Fuel Bar, Bin 5700 or Midway Pour House, all of which are located in Concourse A. For drinks of the non-alcoholic variety, there's Café Espresso or Cafe L'Appetito for coffee, and Glacier City Frozen Yogurt for smoothies.
Like many airports, Chicago Midway has a selection of typical airport shops, such as Hudson Booksellers, but also shops for Chicago products and gifts like Chicago Sports, Chicago Market and Discover Chicago. For those who need less shopping therapy and more zen therapy, MDW has their own yoga room, which is located in Concourse C. Located directly next to MDW's yoga room is their Mother's Room—a space created specifically for traveling, nursing mothers. The room offers a tranquil space for breastfeeding mothers who would prefer to do so in a private setting. The space features comfortable seating along with a sink and wash area.
Midway is part of Chicago's beloved Public Art Program, featuring murals, sculptures and other pieces of art spread throughout the airport. You can see a collection of those pieces on MDW's website. Lastly, travelers with a few hours to spare can venture into Chicago to do a bit of exploring, since as mentioned above, Midway is just about a 20-minute train ride into the city center.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps in the app to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he's not traveling, he's perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.