On the map above there are 6 marked spotting places around ORD. These spots provide a good view of incoming/outgoing traffic and also ramp areas. For almost every shot will be between 25mm-120mm. These spots provide a legal and mostly hassle free.
Spot #1-This is the best known spot to every photographer that visits ORD regularly. Directions-Exit normally from I-94 or I-294 to the terminals. Then turn to South Mannheim Road. You should pass the Airborne Express cargo area. You will then see 3 buildings (Chicago Aeronautical Board) Just park in front of those buildings on the parking lots and your there. Planes will scream right over the fence onto runway 27L. This runway is used for arrivals mostly, good for international traffic.
Spot #2-Mobil/McDonalds Oasis. Drive along and then just exit off of I-294 onto the Oasis which is directly overhead the interstate, its pretty hard to miss it. This is runway 22R usually used by United and American Airlines.
Spot #3. Bensenville area. Exit off of I-294 onto Irving Park Road which will take you around the southern ORD perimeter. Then take North York Road north around the airports western perimeter. Drive northwards and you should go past the cargo areas where UPS freighters always stand. Keep on going north into Bensenville. Then as your driving look to your right. You should see 14R approaches/departures. If not, turn around go by the UPS/FedEx/Lufthansa cargo area and spot 14L traffic.
Spot #4-Cargo Area. Same directions as Spot 3. There are 2 cargo areas. The USPS/BA World Cargo area (right off Mannheim road and I-294) and the Lufthansa/UPS/FedEx/Emery cargo area which is accessible by North York road. You should find them easily as the buildings have huge airline logos and insignia. There are usually freighters parked by them also.
Spot #5-AA Cargo Double Runway+Terminal spot. Drive to the AA Cargo area. Its one of the first buildings in the main cargo district. Turn off to the actual buildings. There should be a road right by the buildings....drive to the end of the building complex. There is a nice view of Terminal 2,3 and Int'l T5 ramp. 32L and 4R traffic is visible.
Spot #6-Turn off of I-294 or I-90 into one of the many hotels that you see, There are also big office buildings. Exit to a McDonald's there or a hotel. You can adjust however you want. Guide yourself by where the aircraft are flying. Nice place to spot 777s and 767s.
These directions seem to be puzzling, but refer to the map below or take out a map of Chicago and look around O'Hare to where these spots are. There is no guarantee that there will be aircraft traffic at all of these spots. But i guarantee that there will be traffic at at least 2 spots on this map unless FAA shuts down the airspace. Move around of course around these places to a position that you like. And if you find a good spot or want to submit a spot email me at email@example.com