The General Mitchell International Airport is based just south of the downtown Milwaukee area. Sometimes referred to as Chicago's third airport, the facility serves Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin while also serving as a strong choice for those living a north and west of the Chicago area. It is named for General Billy Mitchell, who is widely credited with being the father of the modern Air Force.
The airport will celebrate its 90th birthday in 2010. From a single airstrip the airport has grown to five paved runways. There is a main terminal with three concourses. More than 600 flights operate daily from the airport. The airport is open 24 hours a day and about 8 million passengers use the airport each year.
Those who enjoy planes will like the observation lot located on the northern edge of the airport. Designed for plane watchers, the lot allows for a great view of the incoming and outgoing flights. Air traffic conversations are rebroadcast on FM for car radios to pick up - scroll the dial for the station of the day.
There are also some interesting historical sites to visit at the airport. The Mitchell Gallery of Flight is located on the lower level of the main terminal. It is a free museum focusing on aviation history in the Milwaukee region. There are also historical markers commemorating the airports use as a POW work camp for captured German soldiers in WWII.
General Mitchell International Airport is on the Hiawatha Line of the Amtrak service that runs between Chicago and Milwaukee. Badger Express offers localized shuttle service to downtown Milwaukee and Madison, and the Milwaukee Transit bus Route 80 serves the airport. Wisconsin Coach Lines offers regional bus service, including routes to O'Hare and Midway in Chicago. Travelers are also welcome to drive to the airport.