This story was adapted from a version originally published in the National Geographic Almanac 2019.
Many travelers view airports as no more than a stopping-off point on the way to something better—and who could blame them, with delayed planes, security requirements, and maddening crowds all part of the routine? But these nine hubs have set out to change that with eyebrow-raising attractions, uber-trendy concessions, and local flair. [Make the most of your layover in the top ten busiest airports.]
At HKG, you’ll find a nine-hole golf course, one of Asia’s biggest IMAX screens, virtual car racing and basketball, and a Muji store.
Seoul’s ICN boasts a year-round skating rink, an 18-hole golf course and driving range, and a culture center with Korean crafts and music.
The new 10-story Jewel expansion at Singapore’s SIN has a hedge maze and a giant bouncing net. Indoor playgrounds, rides, and a reading corner make it family-friendly. [Step into the futuristic cities designed around airports.]
No surprise: MUC has an on-site brewery, Airbräu, and an Audi showroom. It also hosts indoor surfing and mountain bike events.
SFO has an aviation museum, a branch of the Steinhart Aquarium, and a public transit stop right in the airport.
Amsterdam’s AMS houses an oxygen bar with aromatherapy, a library, and two 24/7 mini museums: Rijksmuseum (art) and Nemo (science).
YVR takes advantage of its expansive spaces with large-scale native art and aquarium exhibits that are home to over 5,000 creatures.
Healthy travelers will like ZRH’s on-site grocery store and the chance to get some fresh air by renting in-line skates, bikes, or walking poles.
Move in style from one concourse to another through DTW’s Light Tunnel, illuminated glass panels that throb in time with space-age music.