Having a long layover is never really thought of as desirable. While having to wait for hours to board your next plane can be stressful, there are ways you can make your layover worth it. For some long layovers, you can make a mini-trip on your way to your end destination. Some American cities make it pretty simple to get from the airport into the heart of the city, and there are certain places that you can see and do quite a bit in just a small amount of time.
We’ve put together a list of the best cities in the United States to have a long layover and what you should do while you’re there.
10 10. BOSTON
While getting into Boston from Boston Logan International might not be the most convenient, you can do so by taking the Silver Line Bus from the airport to the Seaport District. From there, you can enjoy the harbor. You can also take the Blue Line to go downtown.
The downtown area is full of historical places such as the Paul Revere House. Plus, you can try some delicious oysters and other seafood in the area. Boston is a beautiful city, especially in the summer, and if your layover is more than a few hours, it’s worth taking time to explore.
9 9. ATLANTA
When you get into the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, you can take the MARTA Red Line to catch a ride to the downtown area. This is only about 20 minutes from downtown and costs less than three dollars. While there, you can check out the Centennial Olympic Park or the aquarium. If you’re interested in learning more about the cultural background of the city, you should also check out the Center for Human and Civil Rights before heading back to the airport to catch your next flight.
8 8. CHICAGO
Chicago Midway makes it a little faster to get into the city by taking the CTA Orange Line Loop which takes less than 30 minutes. However, if you're at Chicago O’Hare, the CTA Blue Line will get you into the city in about 40 minutes.
You should check out Millennium Park while there as it’s free and iconic. Of course, you'll also need to find somewhere to get iconic deep dish pizza. If you have time, you can also check out the 360 Chicago Observation Deck to get an amazing view of the entire city.
7 7. LAS VEGAS
There are many options to get you from McCarran International Airport to the strip and downtown area of Vegas. Most of these rides only cost about two dollars each and take about 15 to 40 minutes depending.
While on the strip, you can check out some of the iconic buildings like the Luxor and see the Bellagio water show. You could also consider checking out a show if you have time for it. But, even just walking down the strip will let you see a lot of the iconic Vegas sights without paying any money.
6 6. PHILADELPHIA
From the airport, you can take the SEPTA train as it stops at every terminal. This airport line runs each day of the week and costs $6.75. The train takes you to Center City where you can explore the downtown area. There are many historic neighborhoods including Old City where you can get something to eat or do some shopping. You can also head over to Midtown Village and see art galleries or go to a spa if you need some relaxation.
5 5. MIAMI
Miami is a great place to have a layover, especially if you’re passing through in the spring or summer. You can take the Metrorail Orange Line to downtown Miami. While there, you can check out some of the art museums or explore shops. You could also make your way down to Miami Beach to take in that iconic view and enjoy some sand and sun before you have to go back on a plane.
4 4. WASHINGTON D.C.
From Raegan International, you can get into some of the most iconic areas in the city really quickly. The average train from the airport is about 15 minutes and there are many lines available. It’s easy to get to the Smithsonian and explore one of the museums there for a few hours. You can also head to the Capitol or explore the National Mall. There are a lot of iconic D.C. sights that are easy to get to from the airport.
3 3. SEATTLE
From Seattle-Tacoma International, you can take Sound Transit Central Link to Westlake Center. This will take you to the downtown area and more and only takes about 30 minutes.
You can explore the downtown area or branch off from there to explore iconic neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill. Make sure you get a good glimpse of the Space Needle. Also, going down to Pike Place Market to enjoy the water views and delicious food is one of the best things to do in the city and one of the most well-known.
2 2. NEW YORK CITY
It’s easier than you might think to get into Manhattan from JFK if you know what you’re doing. You can take the Long Island Rail Road to get into Penn Station quickly or take the A Train which takes a bit longer but is cheaper.
Once in the city, there is so much to do. You can hit some well-known sites such as the Empire State Building and Central Park in just a couple of hours. Also, be sure to find some New York cheesecake and a good slice of pizza while there.
1 1. SAN FRANCISCO
From San Francisco International, you can take the BART Yellow Line. This can take you to the downtown area of the city of to the Mission District area.
While there, you can check out the unique look of the city and get a good view of both the Golden Gate Bridge and the buildings. If you can make your way down to Pier 39 to see the water and get a view of Alcatraz from afar.