Traveling through airports can be a stressful and exhausting ordeal, especially for long-haul flights or during peak seasons. However, at airports both large and small, great concessions and amenities — like lounges, bars, restaurants, and top-notch retailers — can vastly improve the experience by providing convenience, comfort, and entertainment to travelers.
To find the best airport options across the country, an expert panel nominated their top picks across eight categories, from Best Airport Bar to Best Small Airport. Then, our readers voted for their favorites to determine the winners.
Click on each category below to see the full winners list:
Best Airport Bar: Three Kings Public House at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
Relax with a drink or two at Three Kings Public House — Photo courtesy of Flystl.com
Three Kings in Terminal 2 of St. Louis Lambert International Airport serves local beers and a selection of wine and spirits alongside a menu of gourmet pub fare. The cozy atmosphere is sure to rejuvenate weary travelers.
Full list of winners: Best Airport Bar »
Best Airport for Dining: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) in Kenner, Louisiana
Enjoy local flavors at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) — Photo courtesy of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
New Orleans is renowned for its spectacular dining scene, and the local cuisine isn’t confined to the city limits. As guests bid farewell to the Big Easy, there’s a wealth of top-tier dining destinations scattered all throughout Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, with options ranging from the Southeast Asian-inspired MoPho to Emeril’s Table, a dining venue launched by one of New Orleans’ most recognizable celebrity chefs.
Full list of winners: Best Airport for Dining »
Best Airport for Shopping: Nashville International Airport (BNA) in Nashville, Tennessee
Shop until you fly at Nashville International Airport (BNA) — Photo courtesy of Nashville International Airport
After a long trip spent soaking in the electric energy along Broadway, Nashville International Airport offers one last foray into the rich culture of Music City through its on-property venues. While classic souvenir and apparel shops abound across the complex, BNA also hosts unique storefronts that highlight the history of Tennessee, with options ranging from the spirits-filled Whiskey Trailhead to the music-focused Nashville Jam Session.
Full list of winners: Best Airport for Shopping »
Best Airport Grab-And-Go Food: 400 Degrees Hot Chicken at Nashville International Airport (BNA)
You don’t have have to sacrifice flavor for a quick meal at 400 Degrees Hot Chicken — Photo courtesy of 400 Degrees Hot Chicken
On the path to grab-and-go perfection, 400 Degrees Hot Chicken in Nashville International Airport offers travelers a quick and fiery taste of Nashville’s iconic hot chicken dish. This fried chicken packs a major punch thanks to a hefty dose of spice. Enjoy it with pickles and a side of macaroni and cheese to help balance out the heat.
Full list of winners: Best Airport Grab-And-Go Food »
Best Airport Lounge: The Centurion Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Chill out and escape the bustle of JFK in The Centurion Lounge — Photo courtesy of American Express
The Centurion Lounge at John F. Kennedy International Airport welcomes American Express Platinum, Business Platinum, and Corporate Platinum cardholders, as well as Centurion Members, to this spacious lounge area. Visitors can order drinks from two bars or a speakeasy, relax with a self-led spa service from Equinox, perk up with a specialty coffee, or dine on cuisine from Uruguayan-born chef Ignacio Mattos.
Full list of winners: Best Airport Lounge »
Best Airport Sit-Down Restaurant: Woody’s at the Airport at Monterey Regional Airport (MRY)
A truly special meal awaits at Woody’s at the Airport — Photo courtesy of Christine Gustafson
There’s a gem of a restaurant at Monterey Regional Airport, helmed by chef Tim “Woody” Wood, a local Carmel Valley favorite. Woody’s at the Airport is located before security, so expect to meet locals who love it alongside travelers. All gather to sample Woody’s daily specials as well as his grilled steaks, sauteed sand dabs, and award-winning honey chili chicken wings. Be sure to ask to see their wine list, which features California gems galore.
Full list of winners: Best Airport Sit-Down Restaurant »
Best Large Airport: Indianapolis International Airport (IND) in Indianapolis, Indiana
Travelers enjoy comfort and convenience at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) — Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Airport Authority
Whether you’re a lifelong Hoosier or just stopping by the Indiana capital for a weekend trip, Indianapolis International Airport is perfectly prepared to kick off your next vacation. Direct flights service a wide range of destinations including San Francisco and Toronto, and as an added bonus, the complex is loaded with cozy bars and restaurants that are perfect for a little pre-flight relaxation.
Full list of winners: Best Large Airport »
Best Small Airport: Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids, Michigan
The small Gerald R. Ford International Airport is big on amenities — Photo courtesy of Â© Peter McCullough Photo + Drone
Named in honor of the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford International Airport serves as the gateway to the sprawling eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Amenities around here range from a dedicated military welcome center to plane-themed playrooms for younger guests, while craft beer fans can swing by MI Tap Room for a much-needed local IPA before boarding begins.
Full list of winners: Best Small Airport »
Congratulations to all these winners! Remember to visit 10best.usatoday.com daily to vote in our other Readers’ Choice Awards contests.