Meraki Journey

Beyond Boring Layovers: Top Attractions in International Airports

Beyond Boring Layovers: Top Attractions in International Airports

Every adventurer, sooner or later, ends up at the airport. Some airports exist just to get you from one destination to another, while a select few strive to be the most memorable part of your trip. We’ll go over some of the most outstanding airports across the world and what makes them MUST VISIT destinations.


Changi Airport (Changi, Singapore)

Changi Airport is the crown jewel of international airports. What will immediately arrest your attention is the Shiseido Forest Valley — a jaw-dropping indoor forest, filled to the brim with gorgeous flora and fauna, accompanied by the world's largest indoor waterfall: “The Rain Vortex”. If you’re lucky enough to be there in the evening, the waterfall is used as a canvas for world class light-and-sound shows.

Just a hop and skip away from Shiseido Forest is a serene butterfly garden (with over 1,000 tropical butterflies roaming free), a cinema which plays free movies 24/7, and a free access pool and gym. You want phenomenal food—Changi has both familiar international restaurants and local cuisine galore.

Changi is the complete package, winning the Skyrex Award for ‘Best Airport of The Year’ 12 separate times, 2023 included. Changi prides itself in getting people to and from their desired destination with ease, while also making their airport the first place you’d want to have a layover at. 


Incheon International Airport (Incheon, South Korea)


This top contender for ‘Best Airport in The World’ has many activities and experiences—not every airport sports as many activities as Incheon International. An ice skating rink, a recreation center where visitors can play both popular PC games and new-age arcade games, a lush indoor garden, a golf course and The Museum of Korean History are just a few of the stand out experiences that the Incheon Airport has to offer. You could fit, at least, a week's worth of activities without ever leaving the airport. Sign me up.


Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

The Netherlands most prestigious airport, Schiphol International, has rightfully earned this title. Their Speciality Storefronts are an excellent slice of Dutch Culture. Ever wanted to try a Heineken from its country of origin? Schiphol has a Heineken bar with an interactive digital countertop where you can write notes on digital coasters for future customers to read and use. Not a bad deal, getting to be remembered forever at Amsterdam’s local watering hole. 

For museum aficionados the Airport has collaborated with The Netherlands Rijksmusuem to offer a full blown art exhibit in the airport, showcasing immaculate works of both classical and contemporary art— and with free admission, visiting is a no-brainer. 


San Francisco International Airport (San Francisco, California)

San Francisco is one the largest Culinary Melting Pots in the world, and their International Airport clearly got the memo. The second biggest airport in the state is paradise for ‘The  Traveling Foodie’. Here’s but a few of the countless must-see (and must-eat) restaurants. 

Napa Farms Market has a large selection of rotisserie meats as well as large, hearty pizzas. Further, they offer to-die for pastries, silky smooth cream cheese and a vibrant microbrew. If you’re a foodie, and a coffee fanatic (like me), then Napa has all your bases covered. 

Seafood and The Bay Area are basically synonyms. If you’re hankering for some, then visit Yankee Pier, a modernized ‘New England Seafood House’ that has its seafood brought in twice a day. They have mouth-melting breakfast dishes (like Dungeness crab eggs benedict) as well as all the classics you and I would expect: Lobster, crab and chowder. That and a few buttered rolls and you’ll be on Cloud 9. 

The last, must-stop, restaurant is Bun Mee. This local chain offers fresh and modern takes on Vietnamese Cuisine. From smokey eggplant, crispy and the ‘sloppy bun’ with red curry, ground beef and an assortment of toppings. The food’s so good, you’re going to wish you had a Bun Me back home.


Munich International Airport  (Munich, Germany)

This bustling airport, like many of the airports we’ve talked about, has made a deliberate effort for you to make memories before you even leave your terminal. The MAC is where all the magic happens at Munich International. A large, open outdoor recreation area that connects all the terminals is bustling, lively and constantly changing what events are hosted there, with staple shops nearby. 

Say you’re visiting Munich during the holidays, you’ll catch the Christmas Market they host every year. Any trip is better with Christmas goodies in either hand before you head to your hotel. They offer a few other stand out shops, as well as a well-respected barber nearby (Barberhouse) in case you’re in need of quick trim before your next big meeting. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, you can stop by the famous Licorice and Candy store Lakrids by Bülow. They’ve been written about by nearly every large news network out there, and for good reason—the crunchy toffee looks to die for.

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