Our Favorite Hidden Airport Gems

Airports are always a hub of movement. Well-seasoned travelers and once-a-year-holiday-flyers alike all have one common goal: don’t miss your flight. And between the hustle and loudspeaker announcements, “relaxed” usually isn’t part of any airport’s vocabulary… or is it? 

Here are a few of our favorite hidden airport gems to enjoy some R&R and make travel a little less stressful before wheels-up (if only before your group starts boarding).

Hollywood Theatre at Portland International Airport – A free 22-seat theatre that showcases rotating short films by Pacific Northwest filmmakers, including a dedicated kid’s short film.

Live Music - Enjoy a live serenading by local artists throughout Seattle International Airport on everything from keyboard to saxophone. If you’re flying through Nashville International Airport, spot the six performance areas with rotating performers of all music genres playing daily.

Yoga Rooms – Stretch, breathe, and meditate in dedicated yoga rooms. Found in San Francisco International Airport (Terminal 2 and 3), Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (Terminal 3 Mezzanine), Chicago Midway International Airport (Concourse C), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (Terminal B and Terminal E), Burlington International Airport (second floor, west side), and Miami International Airport (Concourse H, pre-security).

Airport Cardio Trail at Baltimore-Washington International Airport – Consisting of two different 1 kilometer long loops, follow the Airport Cardio Loop signs to get some movement between flights. If you have enough time to leave security, there’s also a 10+ mile Hiker-Biker trail outside!

Observation Decks – Many airports have free outdoor areas or decks to get some fresh air and view planes coming and going. Free options include Missoula International Airport, Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispel, Monterey Regional Airport, and an outdoor area at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

Artwork – Museums and art collections within airports often showcase area-history and are totally worth stopping by. One of many examples is San Francisco International Airport, which has rotating exhibits ranging from student art, sculptures, and historical displays. 

Kid-Friendly – Get the wiggles out in some thoughtfully designed play areas. Standouts include Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s play area designed by the Children’s Museum of Chicago with a toy airplane that needs fueling, a helicopter cockpit, a luggage station, and an air traffic control tower. Mother’s Rooms are also available in all terminals and have sinks, diaper changing areas, and comfy chairs with nearby electrical outlets. Dulles International Airport has a NASA designed play area and Baltimore-Washington International Airport has parts of a real plane for kiddos of all ages to explore.

Bonus: Looking for a beverage? Peek our Top 10 Airport Bars round-up.