Airport Guide 2017

LAX layover guide: in and around Los Angeles

09 Jan 2017
More than seventy four million people pass through Los Angeles International (LAX) every year, making it the United States' second-busiest airport. Whether you've an hour between transfers to indulge in some shopping or a whole day to fill, there's plenty to keep you occupied and entertained across the airport's 9 passenger terminals and in the surrounding area. Here are some suggestions as to how to make the most of your visit.

Short stay passengers – up to 6 hours

Los Angeles is renowned for its high-end boutiques and shops, but you don't need to travel to Rodeo Drive or Melrose Avenue to find glittering glass storefronts. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent developing the airport's award-winning retail spaces and the newly revamped Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX has been turned into a shopper's paradise. Luxury brands selling duty-free gifts sit alongside world-renowned retailers offering travel essentials, and you'll have no trouble whiling away a few hours buying presents or just window shopping.

If you're in the mood to relax before a long flight, then use your layover at LAX to recharge your batteries in a VIP airport lounge. Priority Pass Members have the choice of 4 lounges at LAX, all of which offer complimentary Wi-Fi, making it simple to stay in touch with friends and family, browse the internet and catch up on social media updates. Alternatively, visit the Be Relax spa in Terminal 1 for a ten-minute chair massage that'll target any tense spots in your neck and shoulders. An hour-long hot stone massage is a great option for those with more time.

Eating and drinking options at LAX are also extensive, with plenty of choice for travelers in a hurry. Grab a craft beer at Rock & Brews in Terminal 1, a quick sandwich at Ciabatta Bar in Terminal 2 or perhaps a wood-fired pizza and a glass of wine at WPizza by Wolfgang Puck in Terminal 6.  

Medium stay passengers – up to twelve hours

Los Angeles is home to some fine museums, including the Getty Center, the Norton Simon Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with its collection of 130,000 works from across the world. However, you don't need to leave the airport to soak up some culture. There are eleven exhibition sites dotted across LAX, covering everything from photographic displays and watercolour galleries through to sculptures and contemporary art installations. Head to the airport's Theme Building to find the September 11 memorial art exhibit.

Taking the weight off isn't a problem at Los Angeles International as there are numerous lounges to choose from, including the Alaska Lounge in Terminal 6 and The Virgin America Loft in Terminal 3. Settle down with a newspaper or magazine, connect your tablet, laptop or smartphone to the free Wi-Fi or settle down with a cool drink. Telephone, fax and conference facilities are also available.

If time is on your side then why not indulge in a relaxed meal. Pay a visit to the food court at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal to find a vast array of options, including coffee shops, bars, a steakhouse and an artisan bakery. Treat yourself at Petrossian champagne and caviar bar, home to twenty varieties of vodka, a wide selection of premium champagnes and a mouth-watering choice of caviar.

Long stay passengers – more than twelve hours

Los Angeles – home to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the upscale shopping of Beverly Hills, the magic of Disneyland and the people-watching paradise that is Venice Beach. If you've an extended layover at Los Angeles International then make the most of your time by exploring part of this unique and fascinating city.

The airport is just a twenty-minute drive from Manhattan Beach, a superb destination for surfing, sunbathing, relaxing on the pier, dining and shopping. If it's a real taste of America you're after, look no further than In-N-Out Burger. Situated less than a mile from the airport on South Sepulveda Boulevard, this iconic California fast food chain is a must-visit location for burger lovers.

Almost everyone visiting or traveling through the United States needs to apply for an ESTA entry form. Handily, if you're from a country signed up to America's Visa Waiver Program, such as the UK, it'll also allow you to travel for up to ninety days.

All of the major car rental companies are represented at the airport and affordable daily rates make short excursions a real possibility. Alternatively, make use of the LAX FlyAway bus service. Operating every day, it provides a regular service between the airport's terminals and various locations across Los Angeles including Long Beach, Union Station and Hollywood. Taxis are available 24/7 and LAX also sits on the Green Line of the city's Metro network.

If traveling or the excitement of downtown LA has worn you out, consider taking a room at one of the many hotels close to the airport. Many offer a convenient shuttle service and will pick you up from the terminal.