The world's most surprising airport attractions

Hedge mazes, golf courses, on-site breweries—these nine airports are destinations in their own right.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019,
By National Geographic Staff
Seoul's Incheon Airport (ICN) has a year-round skating rink and 18-hole golf course.

Seoul's Incheon Airport (ICN) has a year-round skating rink and 18-hole golf course.

Photograph by Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH, Alamy Stock Photo
This story was adapted from a version originally published in the National Geographic Almanac 2019.

Many travellers 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 hangouts, and local flair. [Make the most of your layover in the top ten busiest airports.]

Hong Kong

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.

Incheon

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.

Changi

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. 

Photograph by Juliana Tan, The New York Times/Redux

Munich

No surprise: MUC has an on-site brewery, Airbräu, and an Audi showroom. It also hosts indoor surfing and mountain bike events.

San Francisco

SFO has an aviation museum, a branch of the Steinhart Aquarium, and a public transit stop right in the airport.

National Geographic Almanac 2019 includes this and other travel trivia.
Photograph by National Geographic

Schiphol

Amsterdam’s AMS houses an oxygen bar with aromatherapy, a library, and two 24/7 mini museums: Rijksmuseum (art) and Nemo (science).

Vancouver

YVR takes advantage of its expansive spaces with large-scale native art and aquarium exhibits that are home to over 5,000 creatures.

Zurich

Healthy travellers 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.

Detroit

Move in style from one concourse to another through DTW’s Light Tunnel - illuminated glass panels that throb in time with space-age music.

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