Sometimes when you're crossing the globe and have to change planes, you end up with a long layover in Los Angeles. But, perhaps not surprisingly, there's plenty to do at an airport of LAX's size. If you have a boarding pass for a same-day flight, you can go explore any terminal, including the renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), which was first to be updated and has more amenities than any other terminal. You can entertain yourself there with fine restaurants and shopping for a few hours without ever leaving the terminal. Whether you want to stay within the airport itself or head elsewhere in the city, here are nine great ways to turn a boring layover into an exciting one.
01 of 09
Eat at a Top L.A. Chef's Restaurant
Head to Terminal B to explore the newly-rebuilt Tom Bradley International Terminal. It resembles a beautiful upscale shopping mall with amazing multimedia public art everywhere you look, and dining outposts from some of the city's most notable chefs. Try CHAYA for upscale sushi and Japanese food, or live it up at the Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar. This terminal is also home to an outpost of L.A.'s favorite, Umami Burger.
02 of 09
Go to the Beach on an LAX Layover
The Los Angeles International Airport is adjacent to Dockweiler Beach, a very long strip of beach with few amenities. If you have less than four hours and are craving some beach time, this is probably your best bet, but be sure to schedule a taxi or car service to pick you up at the beach in time to get back to the airport.
It costs just a couple dollars more to get down to Manhattan Beach, the nearest beach that also has shopping and restaurants, and for just a little more, you can take a cab north to Venice Beach or Santa Monica Beach to the north. All three of these beaches have plenty of sand, waves, and beach activities to leave you feeling refreshed and ready for your next flight.
03 of 09
Take a Shopping Excursion
If you have more than four hours and want to experience some super high-end shopping in LA, arrange a car service for the duration of your layover. Your driver can pick you up at LAX and whisk you away to funky Abbott Kinney in Venice, Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, Rodeo Drive, the Beverly Center, the Grove, or anywhere else you'd like to go, without you having to worry about directions, parking, where to put your packages between shops or keeping you on time to get back to the airport and check another bag.
If you want to keep it close to LAX, there's a two-block stretch of shops just north of the airport on Sepulveda Boulevard. This stretch is home to Kohl's, Ross, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and more.
04 of 09
Take a Tour of Los Angeles
If you want to see the whole city during your layover, take the Starline Hop-On, Hop-Off tour, which has four routes and two connectors, one of which stops at the Concourse Hotel next to LAX. If you have four hours or more during the day, you can hop on and off up to Marina del Rey, Venice, and Santa Monica. If you have all day, you can take an additional loop over to Hollywood. Each of the narrated tour loops takes about two hours if you don't get off.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Hit the Links Near LAX
The Westchester Golf Course is an 18-hole public golf course just north of LAX airport. Tee times run from well before dawn to well after dark and vary by season and prices vary by tee time. Premium club rentals are available. There's also a 58-stall driving range and practice areas. Never golfed before? Make an appointment with a golf pro for instruction.
06 of 09
Eat Iconic L.A. Junk Food
Some of L.A.'s most popular junk food is within super close to LAX, making for an easy and quick meal. For the burger junkie, there's an In-N-Out within walking distance of LAX, about a 20-minute walk from Terminal 1. Famous for their thin patty burgers and iconic Animal Style fries, this particular In-N-Out locations affords guests a great view of planes taking off and landing. Other favorites in the area include Randy's Donut, which is famous for the giant donut out front, and Tito's Tacos, a 20-minute drive away in Culver City.
07 of 09
Visit the Flight Path Museum and Learning Center
Fans of aviation can visit the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum to see models, photographs, uniforms and other artifacts highlighting the role of airlines, aircraft manufacturers, aerospace companies, and the airport in the history of Southern California. It's a small museum so a visit shouldn't take more than an hour or so. While the museum is on airport property, getting there can be tricky—request an Uber or a taxi in advance.
08 of 09
Visit a Nearby Food Bazaar
The Proud Bird is a large, unique food bazaar located on Aviation and 111th Street on airport property. It has six kitchens open for all three meals and incredible patio where you can dine as planes land and take off. Like the Flight Path Learning Center, it can be tricky get to and will require a brief Uber or taxi ride. Once you're there, you'll love the open, airy space, decorated with a replica of a P-40 Flying Tiger plane.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Relax and Enjoy a Spa Treatment
If you need to relax or get the kinks out after sitting long hours in a plane with more to come, stop in at Xpresspa, located in Terminal B or Terminal 5. Xpresspa offers affordable massages and other refreshing treatments. Even if you don't want to spring for a full-on massage, just a quick arm or neck massage can be all you need to rev up for your next flight!