Airports: There’s More Than Meets the Flight

For most of us, airports are places we have to visit in order to get to our final destination. Sometimes we spend more time waiting for the next flight than we would like and we need to keep ourselves occupied. A growing number of airports is trying to change that image by enticing people to make the airport a destination by itself.

Check out a few of my favorite airports that go beyond being a transportation hub:

  • San Francisco International houses the Aviation Museum and Library in its international terminal, but you can find exhibitions scattered all over the airport. If you are in need of a further degree of relaxation then you can also unwind in one of the airport’s yoga rooms.
  • London’s Heathrow Airport will be a hit with shoppers, because you can arrange for a personal shopper to guide you in finding your perfect style. If spending money is not on your agenda, you can go on a hunt for the 70th anniversary plaques that can be found throughout the airport.

    Sculpture Garden

    Photo Credit: Dallas/Fort Worth Airport

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Airport showcases sculptures, paintings and mosaics both inside and out. If you prefer to work on your swing, then head over to Bear Creek Golf Club, which is conveniently located on airport property.

    Photo Credit: Munich Airport

    Photo Credit: Munich Airport

  • Munich may be more known for its mountains, but this fall its Airport Center will attract surfers from all walks of life by bringing back its temporary wave pool. If you are looking to cool down before your next flight, this is it. As a bonus, there is no charge and equipment is provided!
  • Nashville backs up its status as music city with several live performances at the airport throughout the week. The four stages and different music styles will keep you entertained as you pass through Tennessee.
  • The John F. Kennedy Airport has a more covert version of concerts with their “Live from T5” The lucky few that have boarding passes may be treated to a surprise concert.
  • Fans of ‘80s movies rejoice! Alamo Drafthouse has partnered up with Denver International Airport resulting in “Film on the Fly.” This is a four-film series screening in the airport’s outdoor plaza.
  • To brighten the burden of long security lines, San Diego International has hired Fern Street Circus to perform for travelers. As part of the performing arts residency program, clowns, stilt walkers and jugglers, to name but a few, can be seen interacting with passengers.

    Photo Credit: Zurich Aiport

    Photo Credit: Zurich Airport

  • If walking from one terminal to the other is not quite what you had in mind, then Zurich Airport may have just what you are looking for. In between runways, you can go for a proper hike in this Swiss nature conservation area.

Whether you go to the airport to catch a flight or for a day out, there is a noticeable shift towards being more of an entertainment hub. As an obvious place where people gather it will be interesting to see what airports will offer in the next few years.

Which airport amenities made the time fly by for you? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Ray originally hails from The Hague, Netherlands and one day showed up at Global Discovery Vacations’ doorstep. When he is not traveling or writing, you might find him engaged in playing ping pong, swimming or planting tulips.