While layovers can be boring and tiresome, JFK airport has a lot to offer for those with some time to spare. From exploring the surrounding neighborhoods to enjoying some of the airport’s amenities, there are plenty of things to do to make the most of your time at JFK. In this blog, we’ll share some of the best things to do at JFK airport, so you can make the most of your time and create a memorable experience during your journey.
1. Visit the TWA Hotel
The TWA Hotel at JFK Airport is a unique and stylish hotel that pays homage to the golden age of air travel. The hotel is located in the iconic Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight Center, which was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962. The Flight Center was a symbol of the jet age and an architectural masterpiece, and the TWA Hotel has preserved its original features while adding modern amenities and conveniences for guests.
Guests can walk directly from their terminal to the hotel via the TWA Flight Center’s iconic tunnels, which have been restored to their original glory.
The hotel also boasts a rooftop infinity pool with views of JFK airport and a fitness center. Besides, there are a variety of dining options, including a restaurant inside a vintage Lockheed Constellation airplane.
Whether you’re a fan of aviation history, a design enthusiast, or simply looking for a comfortable place to rest during a layover, the TWA Hotel is definitely worth considering. And, is among the # 1 activities from the ‘JFK airport things to do’ list.
2. Explore the Shops
What to do in JFK for retail therapy? JFK airport has a variety of shops, from luxury brands to duty-free stores, where you can shop for souvenirs or essentials. Some of the popular shopping destinations at JFK airport are:
JFK airport has a variety of duty-free shops where you can purchase products at discounts without paying hefty taxes. The duty-free stores at JFK offer a range of products such as cosmetics, liquor, tobacco, and chocolates. These are 12 duty free stores at the different locations such as –
|Duty Free Stores||Location|
|Duty Free (kiosk)||Shopping Area|
|Duty Free Int’l Shops||Checkpoint to Gates 4-10|
|DFS Duty Free||Gate A4|
|DFS Duty Free||Gate B32|
|DFS Duty Free – Beauty||Retail Hall – Main Store|
|DFS Duty Free – Spirits||Gate B23|
|DFS Duty Free – Spirits (Temporarily Closed)||Near Main Store|
|DFS Duty Free – Watches and Accessories (Temporarily Closed)||Near Main Store|
|iS Duty Free||Marketplace|
|iS Style||Between Gates 23 & 24|
|Duty Free Americas||Immediately Post-Security|
Hermes is a luxury fashion brand that has a store at JFK airport. They offer a range of products such as scarves, ties, bags, and accessories. It is located at Terminal 1. You can contact them at +1 718 215 1364 Ext.233. The timing include –
- Monday – 10 am to 12:30 am
- Tuesday – 10 am to 10:30 pm
- Wednesday – 10 am to 12:30 am
- Thursday – 10 am to 10:30 pm
- Friday – 10 am to 12:30 am
- Saturday to Sunday – 10 am to 10:30 pm
Michael Kors is a popular American fashion brand that has a store at JFK airport. They offer a range of products such as handbags, watches, jewelry, and clothing. It is located at
- Terminal 1 – Checkpoint to Gates 4-10
- Terminal 4 – Retail Hall – West
- Terminal 8 – Main Terminal
Victoria’s Secret is a popular lingerie and beauty brand that has a store at JFK airport. They offer a range of products such as bras, panties, sleepwear, and beauty products. There are 3 stores at JFK –
- Terminal 1 – Checkpoint to Gates 1-3
- Terminal 4 – Retail Hall – West
- Terminal 8 – Concourse B – Near Gate 8
3. Try the Food
JFK airport has a diverse selection of restaurants and food outlets serving cuisine from around the world. You can indulge in a quick bite or sit down for a meal, and it is among the top things to do at JFK airport for food aficionados. Here’s the list of diners, QSRs, and restaurants at all terminals at JFK –
|Terminal 1||Terminal 2||Terminal 4||Terminal 5||Terminal 7||Terminal 8|
|McDonald’s||BKLYN Beer Garden||Bento Sushi||5ive Steak||Apartment 7B||Abitino’s Pizza|
|Downtown Market||Cibo Express Gourmet||Blue Point Brewery||AeroNuova||Brooklyn Rebel||Angelina’s Metro Market|
|Dunkin||Croque Madame||Buffalo Wild Wings||Artichoke Pizza||Dunkin’||Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin’|
|Eat & Go Istanbul:||Due Amici||Camden Foods||Aunt Butchie’s Bakery Café||Le Grand Comptoir||Bobby Van’s Steakhouse|
|Euro Cafe||Shiso||Delite Chocolates and More||Baked by Melissa||Cascata|
|JikJi Cafe||Tagliare||Dunkin||Caribbean Kitchen||Cibo Gourmet Market|
|Martini Bar||Wendy’s||La Brea Bakery||Cibo Express Gourmet Market||Dunkin’|
|Panini Express||World Bean||Le Grand Comptoir||Custom Burger||Drink Martini Bar|
|Pizza Pub||McDonald’s||Deep Blue on the Fly||Mezze Cafe|
|Soho Bites||Mi Casa Cantina and Restaurant||Deep Blue Sushi||New York Deli|
|Soy and Sake||Peet’s Coffee & Tea||Dunkin’||New York Sports Bar|
|Starbucks||Shake Shack||H&H Bagel||O’Neal’s Restaurant|
|The Local||The Palm Bar & Grille||Horizon Bakery Cafe||Soho Bistro|
|Uptown Market||Tigin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant||Jamba Juice||Starbucks|
|Tuscany Café||Uptown Brasserie||Loft|
|Wok & Roll||Urban Crave||Lucy’s Asian Kitchen|
|New York Sports Grill|
|World Bean Coffee Bar & Cafe|
4. Lounge Access
Make the most of a tedious, protracted stopover by treating it as a day of rest. While many airport lounges only serve First and Business Class passengers, several lounges at JFK accept any passenger willing to pay, regardless of the travel class to enjoy a more luxurious few hours. Many lounges offer food and drinks as part of the admission price, and some even have showers for freshening up.
- At Terminal 1 –
- Delta Terminal JFK Lounge
- KAL Business Class Lounge
- Primeclass Lounge
- At Terminal 4 –
- Air India Maharajah Lounge
- Centurion Lounge
- Swiss Business Class Lounge
- At Terminal 7 –
- Alaska Lounge
- At Terminal 8 –
- American Airlines Admirals Club
5. Connect with Nature
JFK Airport may seem like an unlikely place to connect with nature, but there are a few ways you can do so while waiting for your flight:
- Visit the T5 Rooftop Garden – If you’re flying out of Terminal 5 i.e. JetBlue Terminal JFK, be sure to check out their rooftop garden, which features a variety of plants, flowers, and herbs. You can take a self-guided tour or join one of their daily tours led by a horticulturist.
- Take a walk – There are several walking paths and trails around JFK Airport that offer some greenery and fresh air. The Van Wyck Trail is a popular one that runs alongside the airport and offers views of trees and birds.
6. Explore the Big Apple
If you have a long layover at JFK, we suggest you settle for the things that this ‘Emerald City’ offers. You can hail a ride on one of the airport buses or simply take an AirTran.
Among the fun things to do near JFK airport where you can explore Jamaica Bay, Rockaways, Queens Botanical Garden, and everything in between.
To relish some great food, visit Jackson Heights.
If you have a layover for 6 or more hours, head to the most visited and happening part of the metropolis – the Times Square.
There are several transportation options you can use to get from JFK Airport to Times Square:
- Taxi – The trip from JFK to Times Square typically takes around 45 minutes, but can vary depending on traffic conditions. The fare will depend on the time of day and can range from 52-75 USD.
- Public Transportation – You can take the AirTrain from JFK Airport to Jamaica Station, and then transfer to the subway to get to Times Square. Take the E subway train towards World Trade Center to Times Square-42 Street Station. The total cost for this option is 7.75 USD per person.
- Airport Shuttle – There are several airport shuttle services available at JFK Airport that can take you directly to Times Square. The cost for this option can range from 20-30 USD per person.
7. Soak into the Peaceful Sessions
If you want to partake into the spiritual sessions, visit the Interfaith alley at JFK Airport at Terminal 4. Chapels could be an ideal place where you can sit and indulge into the mindful therapies away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. There are 4 places of worship at JFK at Terminal 4.
- a Jewish synagogue
- a Protestant chapel by the name Christ for the World Chapel
- a Roman Catholic church by the name Our Lady of the Skies Chaplaincy
- an Islamic center
8. Watch Planes Take-Off and Land
JFK airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, and watching planes take off and land can be an exciting experience. JFK Airport has several designated viewing areas where you can watch planes take off and land. The most popular viewing area is the rooftop parking lot of Terminal 5 (JetBlue terminal), which offers unobstructed views of the airport runways.
You can also check out other viewing areas around the airport, such as the JFK Rotary Park or the Idlewild Park Preserve.
9. Use the Fitness Center
If you have a long layover at JFK Airport and are looking for ways to stay active, using the fitness center at TWA Hotel is a great option. It is located in Terminal 5 and is open 24/7, making it convenient for travelers with any schedule.
The fitness center offers a range of exercise equipment, including treadmills, stationary bikes, free weights, and yoga mats. There are also showers and changing rooms available for use. The cost for a day pass is 25 USD, which includes access to the fitness center and all of its amenities. You can reach them at +1 212-806-9000.
10. Take a Nap
Although JFK isn’t the best airport to sleep in, there are still some excellent options.
The terminal 4 Minute Suites have private mini-suites with a couch for resting, a TV, and a work desk. But go to the TWA Hotel if you want real, sound sleep. The rooms feature excellent blackout drapes and amazing noise isolation. Both day rooms and night accommodations are available for reservation.
In conclusion, if you find yourself with a layover at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), don’t waste your time scrolling your smartphone! There are plenty of fun and interesting things to do, both inside the airport and in the surrounding neighborhoods. From exploring local history and culture to indulging in delicious food and drink, JFK offers something for everyone. Whether you have a few hours or a full day, take advantage of your layover and make the most of your time in New York City. By following these 10 suggestions, you’re sure to have a memorable layover experience at JFK.
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