The former leader of the free world was the only juror to arrive by motorcade, however, accompanied by tight security and met by a throng of news media.
As a prospective juror, Obama - a former law professor - will join fellow citizens at the courthouse, waiting to see if he is chosen to serve on a trial. He will earn the standard compensation of $17.20 per day.
Before heading to court, the former president took time to tweet about Tuesday night's high-profile state and mayoral election results seen as a sweeping repudiation of the politics of his White House successor Donald Trump.
"This is what happens when the people vote," Obama wrote. "Every office in a democracy counts!"
Obama is not the first US president to show up for service that some Americans either dread or find excuses to avoid. Obama's predecessor in the White House, George W Bush, responded to a jury summons in 2015.
Bush was not selected to serve as a juror, but images of the smiling former president posing with delighted citizens at the courthouse in Dallas, Texas quickly showed up on social media.
Chicago has some experience with high-profile jurors. In 2004, media titan Oprah Winfrey, who at the time produced her talk show out of the midwestern city, was a juror on a three-day murder trial ending in a conviction.
While the Obamas currently live in Washington, the former president and first lady Michelle Obama maintain a home in Chicago, the city where he got his political start.
Chicago is also where the future Obama presidential centre will be built, near the former leader's home in the southern part of the city.