We love airplanes, you love airplanes, so let's go look at airplanes! In our Prime Plane Spotting series, we'll let you in on all the best spots to whip out your cameras and binoculars for a piece of the aviation action.
Actually, it's the comfort of a parking lot; Allstate Arena, which hosts ice hockey games and major concerts, sits just on the other side of the expressway from one of O'Hare's main runways. Parking in its lot during an eventthe lot is closed if nothing is going on at Allstategets you as close as possible to the tarmac without being a threat to the flights.
We can attest to the closeness of flights, especially those on arrival, because the first time we went to a concert at Allstate, we got out of a car parked on the outskirts of the lot just as a 747 whooshed over our heads; we ended up tumbling out out of the car and onto the asphalt in surprise.
If you'd rather not pay to park in the lot during an event you aren't attending, or maybe the lot is closed, there are low apartment buildings next to it where you can pull over on the street, maybe have a coffee, and shoot some great footage and photos of landing planes. It's all the daring and closeness of landings at St. Maarten, but without the exotic fun of being on a beach with island hopper flights arriving.
Keep in mind that the best hours for big jets are when the overseas flight arrive; bet mid-dayjust after noon and before evening.