contentsCity of Des Plaines ILads

Location & Transportation

The City of Des Plaines owes much of its success to those early settlers who chose to establish the community along the beautiful Des Plaines River, in close proximity to the growing City of Chicago. Today, Des Plaines is one of Chicagoland’s illustrious northwest suburbs with a location that has proven conducive to a thriving business climate and economic development.

Spanning 15.85 square miles, the community is ideally situated a quick 17 miles from downtown Chicago and mere minutes from the region’s extensive transportation web. Major highway systems, local bus services, commuter rail lines and local and international airports make Des Plaines convenient and accessible to businesses, residents and visitors. The availability of such a prime transportation infrastructure has significantly supported and encouraged the continued growth and development of Des Plaines.

Des Plaines is part of Cook County, the second-most populated county in the U.S. The City sits between Interstates 90 and 294, both providing excellent links to the region’s additional highways, including Interstates 55, 80, 88, 94, 290 and 355, along with a host of further state thoroughfares.

With fluctuating gas prices and tight budgets, more and more people are looking to public transportation as an affordable alternative. Pace Northwest Division bus service provides seven regular daily routes in Des Plaines and offers a connection to the services of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). CTA affords a wealth of bus routes and “L” lines throughout the greater Chicago area.

Metra commuter rail service is one of the best ways of traveling to downtown Chicago and many communities in between. The Des Plaines station is served by the Union Pacific Northwest line, which stretches from Harvard to Chicago’s Ogilvie Transportation Center. Riders can connect with Amtrak services right across the street at Union Station.

Des Plaines has access to Chicago Executive Airport, formerly Palwaukee Airport, in neighboring Wheeling. Private aircraft owners, corporate jet aircraft owners, major corporations and flight schools utilize the general aviation airport, which currently houses 325 aircraft at its more than 400-acre facility. Each year, approximately 200,000 aircrafts take off and land on Chicago Executive Airport’s three primary runways, making it the fourth busiest airport in the state.

Regional, national and international travel is available through two Chicago-based airports. Midway International Airport is reachable in a little more than 45 minutes, while the bustling O’Hare International Airport sits in Des Plaines’ backyard. The O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) has been a big part of Des Plaines life since it began just a few years ago. In fact, out of the more than 430 acres of land needed to expand the airport, 126 acres are located in the Des Plaines community.

The OMP will reconfigure and modernize O’Hare’s runways, increase the capacity of the airfield and incorporate a new western terminal facility with additional gates and parking. The economic benefits of this program are evident, as an additional 195,000 jobs will be created and another $18 billion in revenue a year will be generated. Additionally, the OMP expects airlines to save approximately $370 million and passengers $380 million each year. More information on the OMP can be accessed at the City of Chicago’s website,

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