7 of the coolest airports in the US, according to someone who's been to all 50 states

  • I've visited all 50 states, and a few US airports stand out to me as being really cool.

  • Jackson Hole Airport has amazing views of mountains and Long Beach Airport has great outdoor space.

  • Nashville International Airport has some great dining options and live music.

America is home to the world's busiest airport — but we have some pretty cool ones, too.

Some international airports are awesome because of their amenities and features, like Singapore Changi Airport with its massive indoor waterfall and movie theater. But what makes so many US airports cool is that they have unique amenities and local flavor.

As a travel writer who has visited all 50 states, I've compiled a list of what I think are the coolest airports in the US.

Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)

Jackson Hole Airport exterior with view of mountains
I love the views from the Jackson Hole Airport.EQRoy/Shutterstock

Many airports feel rushed and unruly, and it's hard not to feel anxious when moving through them.

The Jackson Hole Airport, however, somehow manages to feel more like a mountain-town ski lodge than an airport, thanks to warm lighting, comfy couches, and glowing fireplaces.

It's also right beside Grand Teton National Park's spectacular mountain range, which you can peer down on from the plane during take-offs and landings.

With views and vibes that good, you might actually want to show up at this airport three hours early, even if it's not required.

Indianapolis International Airport (IND)

Cars in indianapolis airport
Indianapolis International Airport has cars on display. EQRoy/Shutterstock

Indianapolis International Airport is pretty cool. Just recently, the airport even installed a full basketball court in its main public lobby ahead of February's NBA All-Star game.

The city's famous for the Indy 500 race-car event so it's perhaps no surprise that travelers can snap photos with vintage racing cars from the vault of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum at the airport.

Plus, IND is also home to the country's largest airport-based solar farm, which reportedly generates enough energy to power over 3,600 homes a year.

I also appreciate that airport hosts regular community events like plane pulls for the Special Olympics and Soaring for Autism Nights.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)

A larrge, densely packed bookstore is shown.
Renaissance Books has been operating at the in Milwaukee for decades. Cassandra Brooklyn

My hometown airport comes correct in many ways, from the local Leinenkugel-brewed beers on tap at the Leinie Lodge to the hilarious Wisconsin- and Milwaukee-themed T-shirts at the best-stocked merch stand in the city.

But what really makes it stand out from other midsize airports is Renaissance Books, a huge secondhand bookstore that's been operating in the airport since the 1970s.

Stroll through aisles with categories as diverse as gender studies, sports, gambling, classic paper, and Asian history. Then say hi to "Orange Mike" a bearded, bespectacled man who's been working at the bookstore and wearing orange every day since 1979.

Newark International Airport (EWR)

Newark airport with faux trees inside
Newark International Airport has an invitation-only restaurant .quiggyt4/Shutterstock

As a New Yorker, I'll admit to avoiding this airport at all costs. When you land here, flight attendants like to say you've just arrived in New York, but you haven't: You've arrived in New Jersey.

Newark still commands a lot of respect, not just for its huge number of direct international flights but also because it recently unveiled a brand new 1,000-square-foot space in Terminal A designed for neurodivergent travelers.

The sensory room offers calming sensory stimuli with colorful carpeting and soft textures, and because it's before security, it can be used by anyone at the airport even if they aren't flying.

Oh, and did I mention Newark also has a secret, invite-only restaurant called Classified in Terminal C? That's pretty cool.

Long Beach Airport (LGB)

Long Beach Airport
Long Beach Airport is more chill than LAX. Matt Gush/Shutterstock

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) may be the most famous airport in the greater Los Angeles area but it's not the only one. About 20 miles east of LAX is Long Beach Airport.

Not only is it a much more relaxing and less crowded alternative to LAX (which many locals would describe as "hell"), but also it has an incredible outdoor space.

And I'm not talking about a pretty patio in front of the airport. Long Beach Airport has a beautiful outdoor atrium and garden with a bar and restaurants after TSA. It's not a bad place to wait for a flight.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)

Slot machines inside Reno-Tahoe International Airport
Reno-Tahoe International Airport has slot machines. EQRoy/Shutterstock

Reno-Tahoe International Airport is tiny compared to most airports in the country, but it shines brighter — quite literally — in one very Reno way.

As this is a casino town, Reno International Airport has slot machines, so you can sit and gamble while waiting to board, should you be so inclined.

The airport also has a therapy dog program, where furry friends are brought around the airport to help soothe stressed-out passengers.

And yes, these canine ambassadors are available to pet if you wish to do so.

Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Nashville International Airport sign
The Nashville International Airport has great food options.Larry McCormack/Courtesy of Nashville International Airport (BNA)

When I arrive at the Nashville International Airport, I immediately know I'm in Nashville. Visitors hear country music legends like Reba McEntire welcome them over the intercom system and can catch live music performances throughout the airport.

The airport also greets travelers with a bevy of restaurants showcasing the dishes that made Nashville such a foodie destination. Try boozy slushies at Party Fowl, barbecue at Pig Star, the namesake dish from Princes Hot' Chicken, and soul food at Swett's.

Don't forget to stop at Tootsies Orchid Lounge, a spinoff of the historic local honky-tonk that has drinks and live music.

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