5 Tips for a Chicago Layover

Many jetsetters traveling domestically or internationally will stop at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Layovers can be tedious, but there’s plenty to do in and around this travel hub.

Unwind at the Spa

ChicagoImage via Flickr by Nicola since 1972

In October 2013 Chicago O’Hare International Airport introduced its first spa, a place where travelers can ease the tension of time spent up in the air. The XpresSpa┬áin Terminal 5 offers manicures, hot shaves, and massages. Treatments take as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour and a half, so you can easily find one to suit your available time.

Squeeze in a Workout

After a few hours spent in the air, you’re probably feeling a little stiff. A workout is a great way to get your body feeling its best. The Hilton O’Hare, across from the airport’s terminals, has a massive 4,800 square foot gymnasium with high-tech equipment, a swimming pool, and a sauna.

If you prefer a more tranquil kind of workout, head to O’Hare’s new yoga room. This generous space in Terminal 3 has loaner yoga mats and a wall-mounted screen that demonstrates yoga techniques with a soothing soundtrack. The frosted glass windows will keep your yoga session private.

Let Your Kids Play

A layover can feel even longer if you’re got whiny kids in tow. They’ll instantly perk up when they see the Kids on the Fly play area just inside the security gates in Terminal 2. This amazing playground features fun houses shaped like airplanes, helicopters, and control towers. It also offers amazing views of the real planes taking off. If your children are young they may prefer the Play it Safe area in Terminal 5, which has some great equipment designed for tiny tots.

Book a Hotel Room

Layovers can unexpectedly drag out during inclement weather, but you don’t have to wait it out in the airport. Instead, visit Gogobot on your mobile device. The site allows you to search local hotels according to your budget, the hotel type or star rating, or even the user rating. The filter by tribes function is another clever tool which helps travelers find hotels to suit their tastes. If you’re a foodie, a trendster, a party animal, or a culture vulture, Gogobot can help you find a great last-minute deal.

Shop up a Storm

A shopping spree at the nearby Fashion Outlets of Chicago is another excellent way to spend an extended layover. The Go Airport Express shuttle will take you directly from your terminal to the mall a few miles away. It features 130 stores including the first Tory Burch, Longchamp, and Zegna outlets in the midwest. Bargain hunters will love Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and the Bloomingdales Outlet Store. If you splurge, make sure to visit Bags Inc. at the outlets.

The friendly staff will check in you and your bags, print your boarding pass, and take your luggage to the plane’s baggage carousel.

With so much to do in and around Chicago O’Hare International Airport, your layover is a great opportunity to break up your domestic or international travel.

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