Whether it's a bit of last-minute holiday shopping, a thank-you gift for a host, or a souvenir of your trip for yourself, you'll find that airport shops are excellent places to look for gifts and souvenirs. In fact, many airports are filled with local arts and crafts, brand-name clothing boutiques, and specialty shops featuring electronics, travel gear, and even wine and spirits. As you fly in or out of a city, consider buying that gift at the airport—it gives you something to do while waiting for your flight, and you'll probably find something unique and local to bring home.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport
The George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) serves over 43 million passengers a year and is the largest airport in Houston, Texas, covering over 10,000 acres of land. There are plenty of places for last-minute gifts inside the airport terminals.
CIBO Express Gourmet Markets has locations in Terminals B, C, and E that offer a wide variety of locally-sourced gifts alongside some international gourmet fare. CIBO brings local artisanal brands and vendors into the terminals so you're bound to find something unique. The largest outlets for CIBO are found near Gates 10 and 24 in Terminal E, and among the gifts available here are waxed-canvas men's Dopp kits and women's cosmetic cases from Austin, Texas-based Newton Supply Company. In order to make these items, Newton partners with the nonprofit Open Arms, a non-profit created to empower refugee women by giving them jobs with a living wage.
Other great destinations for last-minute gifts at Geroge Bush Intercontinental Airport include the Americana stand near Gate E2; the Bayou City Travelmart near Gate C1; Houston! shops near Gates A7 and C32; and the Made: Texas store near Gate C12.
Located on the northwest side of Chicago, the O'Hare International Airport (ORD) covers over 7,600 acres of land and serves over 83 million passengers a year, making it the sixth busiest airport in the world. You'll find plenty of opportunities to shop for last-minute gifts at a variety of shops inside its four passenger terminals.
Stop by I Love Chicago in Terminal 5's Concourse M near Gate M7 for authentic souvenirs from the Windy City or grab a box of chocolates from Vosges Haut-Chocolat in Terminal 1's Concourse B near Gate B6 or Terminal 3's Concourse H near Gate H4. However, for a truly unique gift, you cannot leave O'Hare without getting some of the city's iconic Garrett Popcorn, which is made fresh daily with non-GMO, hot air-popped kernels. Choose from flavors including its world-famous cheddar and caramel popcorn mix, a spicy cheese corn flavor, or almond-caramel crisp. Get popcorn by the bag or the tin from outlets in Terminal 1 near Gate B8, Terminal 3 near Gate H2, or Terminal 5 near Gate M12.
O'Hare also features a number of name brand and designer outlets where you can buy high-end gifts. Shops at O'Hare include Brookstone at Terminal 1's Gate C11, Terminal 3's Gate H3, and Terminal 5's Gate M7; COACH at Terminal 2's Main Hall; Dufry at Terminal 5's Gate M14 or M9; Emporio Armani at Terminal 5's Gate M8; Luxury Watches at Terminal 5's Gate M8; MAC Cosmetics at Terminal 2's Main Hall; Michael Kors at Terminal 5's Gate M8; and Sunglass Hut at Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5.
About five miles southeast of downtown Austin, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is a relatively small airport covering a little over 4,200 acres that welcomes 510 arrivals and departures a day. However, as soon as you deplane into the airport, you can immediately smell the authentic Texas barbecue on the fire at Salt Lick BBQ.
The original Salt Lick BBQ—located outside Austin in Driftwood, Texas—is a destination for meat-lovers who enjoy beef, sausage, pork and chicken slow-cooked in a traditional barbecue pit and consumed under the shade trees at a picnic table. At the airport location between Gates 20 and 21 enjoy the mouth-watering barbecue and shop for some of Salt Lick's traditional sauce and rub.
The main terminal, also known as the Barbara Jordan Terminal, is home to a number of great specialty shops perfect for last-minute gifts. For a truly unique Austin outlet, stop by Toy Joy / Yummi Joy at Gate 11 for what USA Today called one of the "top 10 toy stores in the world." Alternatively, visit Scoreboard near Gate 14 for University of Texas-themed clothing and accessories, the Austin Article outlet at Gate 18 for snacks, treats, and locally-made gifts, or Barton Springs East outlet near Gate 14 for Hill Country-made western apparel, salsas, barbeque sauces, and accessories.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest and serves nearly 50 million passengers a year. Although located 18 miles north-northeast of Downtown Tacoma and 14 miles south of Downtown Seattle, this centrally-located airport provides plenty of opportunities to buy gifts from Seattle-Tacoma local artisans.
Seattle Chocolates, which has been in business since 1991, has an outlet at the airport in Concourse C that sells Seattle Chocolate truffle bars, truffles in more than 20 flavors, handmade caramels from Whidbey Island, and other unique local gifts. You can order a chocolate tasting flight and even book your own Experience Chocolate factory tour—which is located nearby in Tukwila—at the store. All of Seattle Chocolate is certified kosher, and many varieties are also gluten-free and vegan.
In the Central Terminal, stop by Made in Washington for specialty foods, arts and crafts, and kitchen products made by local craftsmen or check out Fireworks, which features the works of dozens of local artists that make for the perfect last-minute gift. For more local crafts, head to Concourse A, for a variety of hand-crocheted hats at Seattle Hats, or to Concourse C, where you'll find the work of over 100 Seattle-based producers and manufacturers at Seattle Made.
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), also known as the Atlanta Airport, accommodates over 100 million passengers a year, making it the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic. Located at the southern end of Atlanta's city limits, ATL is home to a number of unique shops in its two terminals: the Domestic Terminal and the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
Candy is always a nice travel treat, and the airport's Concourse B and C have outlets of a Georgia favorite, Savannah Candy Kitchen, known for its pralines in fancy gift boxes, the best outside of New Orleans. In addition to the famous Savannah’s Original Pralines, you can pick up some saltwater taffy or hand stretched peanut brittle. Candies are available in gift tins in large or small quantities and can be shipped.
Alternatively, to shop for souvenirs from gift shops across the city, stop by Atlanta.Net near Gate A11 or pick up a gift from the Zoo Atlanta gift shop at the Panda Veranda outlet near Gate B7. Also, stop by Southern Flavors near Gate T15 for gifts and gift baskets from the South alongside fashion accessories from regional vendors.
The largest airport in both Massachusetts and the New England Region, Logan International Airport (BOS), is located mostly in East Boston and partially in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and provides service to over 38 million passengers annually. Its 2,384-acre facility features four passenger terminals, 102 gate positions, and dozens of unique local and international shops perfect for last-minute gifts.
InMotion Entertainment offers state-of-the-art headphones, electronics, travel gear, and accessories at their stores in over 40 U.S. airports. When flying in or out of Boston-Logan Terminal C, you may want to consider buying a high-end tech gift such as the Jabra Sport Coach. These wireless sports earbuds offer users audio coaching and a TrackFit monitor sensor for cross-training and indoor workouts.
For something more authentic to the city, stop by New England Collections in Terminals A, B, and C for a variety of Boston-themed apparel and handmade gifts from New England. Meanwhile, Boston America in Terminal B offers a variety of souvenirs from the region, and Boston Tops (also in Terminal B) is a gift shop that stocks a variety of Boston-themed t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and souvenirs.
Located within 10 miles of both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) is the largest and busiest airport in the Upper Midwest region of the United States, providing service to over 35 million passengers per year. MSP covers 2,930 acres of land and is home to two passenger terminals with a total of 131 gates as well as a number of great stores and boutique shops where you can find a last-minute gift.
A number of stores inside the airport are local to Minnesota including Hammer Made in Terminal 1, a local menswear boutique that features unique, premium, and limited-run shirts at affordable prices—all with great tailoring. Meanwhile, Adventure North is a Minnesota-owned company in Terminal 1's MSP Mall that offers a wide selection of outdoor wear and adventure gear, and Frivolous (also in the MSP Mall of Terminal 1) features a variety of gift and novelty items alongside home decor, specialty kitchenware, and unique apparel items.
Originally known as the New Tokyo International Airport, the Narita International Airport (NRT), is the predominant international airport of Japan, handling around half of the country's international passenger traffic. Located 37 miles east of central Tokyo in Narita, Chiba, Japan's main international airport has an explosion of reasonably priced items that you can buy in its three passenger terminals.
On the fourth floor of the Central Building in Terminal 1, Chiba Trade Center, Iwakura, and Konnichiwa all offer a variety of miscellaneous Japanese goods and folkcraft. Consider picking up uniquely-Japanese Tenugui hand towels which have wonderful designs and can be used as bathroom hand towels, dish towels, or even to wrap a gift; you can find them at any of these shops.
If you're looking for a gift for a younger family member or for someone who's a fan of Japanese pop culture, the airport also has a number of toy shops and stores full of anime collectibles. Consider stopping by Narita Anime Deck on the second floor of Terminal 2's Main Building, the Pokémon Store on the fourth floor of Terminal 2's Main Building, or the Hakuhinkan Toy Park on the fourth floor of Terminal 1's Central Building.
Miami International Airport (MIA) is one of three airports serving the Miami area of Florida, with over 1,000 daily flights to 167 domestic and international destinations. Located eight miles northwest of Downtown Miami, the airport has 131 gates in total across three terminals, each of which offers a variety of unique shops where you can buy goods you won't be able to find anywhere else in the country.
In fact, Miami is the only airport in the United States that sells a special Spanish ham, Cinco Jotas (5J) Pata Negra ham, touted to be the finest in the world. This exclusive, acorn-fed, and specially cured Iberico ham comes sealed in plastic in a leather carrying case and can be purchased at The Shoppes At Ocean Drive near Gate D17.
For something a little more local, consider browsing the irresistible selection of costume jewelry, handbags, and other fashion accessories at Adixion in the South Terminal's Concourse H or Bijoux Terner, a keepsake store with various locations in all three terminals. Meanwhile, Cuban Crafters MIA in the North Terminal's Concourse D is a cigar lover's dream come true, featuring a variety of premium cigars hand-rolled in the store.
Sioux Gateway Airport (SUX) is located six miles south of the central business district of Sioux City, Iowa, and serves as a public and military use airport. Although relatively small, this local transportation hub has become known for its SUX-themed merchandise.
The Fly Sux brand is fun and edgy, especially among aviation geeks, and offers a variety of mugs, t-shirts, and beanie caps with the famous logo on them. You can pick up your own Fly Sux souvenir at any of the airport's shops, including one specifically catering to the brand.
Featuring one large terminal split into three departure halls, the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is the main international airport of the Netherlands and the third-busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume. Located about six miles southwest of Amsterdam in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, North-Holland, this expansive airport is the gold standard when it comes to shopping, offering everything from alcohol and cheese to tulip bulbs and live plants, all wrapped up in the iconic bright yellow "See Fly Buy" bags.
Arrivals Hall 3 is the home of Fleurtiek, which not only sells tulip bulbs, but also fresh bouquets, stems of flowers, helium balloons, seeds, and traditional gifts from Holland. Other flower shops in the airport include AviFlora in the plaza before security, Bloem in Arrivals 4 (also before security), and the House of Tulips on Holland Boulevard in the main airport terminal (after security).
Meanwhile, We Love Holland in Lounge 3 features a variety of Holland souvenirs perfect for a last-minute gift from the Netherlands. If you're looking for something that truly expresses the story of Dutch culture, though, check out Present Present in the main plaza before security, where you'll find a variety of handmade goods from Dutch designers both big and small.
The Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)—also known as the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport—is located nine miles south of downtown Baltimore and 30 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. BWI covers 3,160 acres of lands and features five passenger concourses as well as a variety of local and international shops.
Many come to Baltimore for the Maryland crab cakes, and just in case you didn't get any during your visit, you can get your crab cake fix at Obrycki's, a restaurant that started as a bar in Baltimore's historic Fells Point neighborhood on the water. The restaurant has locations at Concourse B between gates B7 and B9 and in Concourse A next to gate A10, and you can even pack up crab cakes to go.
For non-perishable gifts, there are also a number of name-brand stores spread throughout the concourses. At Ease near Gate D1 sells "athleisure apparel" from Puma, Prana, and DYI; Baggallini near the Concourse A and B Food Court features designer handbags and purses; Kiehl's in the Concourse B-C Connector offers premium skin, hair, and body care products; and Marshall Rousso near Gate C2 offers a wide selection of women's clothing, handbags, and footwear.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is the second-busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic and is one of six international airports serving Greater London. Located 14 miles west of Central London, LHR has four operational terminals on a site that covers approximately five square miles and is home to a variety of national and international shops and boutiques.
Heathrow's terminals do regular liquor and wine tastings. Among the shops selling liquor is World of Whiskies in Terminal 2, where you'll find fine whiskeys from around the world including Aberlour and Glenfiddich which you can pre-order and pick up at the airport. Additionally, Wine Collection: Rare and Vintage, a World Duty-Free (WDF)-owned shop located in Terminals 3 and 5, offers 180 wines and Champagnes, and Fortnum & Mason has a stylish wine bar in Terminal 5.
For authentic British souvenirs, check out Glorious Britain outlets in Terminals 3, 4, and 5, and don't miss your chance to visit one of the most famous toy stores in the world, Hamleys, which has locations in Terminals 2, 3, and 4. Meanwhile, the T5 Gallery in Terminal 5 is a great place to pick up commercial fine art from local and international artists, and the Harry Potter shop in Terminal 5 is the best place to get authentic memorabilia from Britain's most famous fictional wizard.
Rated the best airport worldwide by Airports Council International every year since 2005 and the world's cleanest airport by Skytrax several years in a row, Incheon International Airport (ICN) is the largest airport in South Korea and the primary airport serving the Seoul Capital Area. Additionally, Seoul's main airport is a shopper's paradise, featuring a variety of shops selling luxury brands, cosmetics, liquor, and electronics.
You'll find Korean-made crafts and gifts such as hand-made Korean dolls, hand-painted fans, music and jewelry boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and elaborately decorated business card cases at ParkSsiSangBang, located in the Transportation Center Area 1B. Meanwhile, the airport also features several fashion boutiques including Marie-Antoinette Paris, Polham, and Trendica Luxe Eyewear in Terminal 1.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is located roughly halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth and is the 15th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic. At over 17,000 acres, DFW is also the second-largest airport by landmass in the United States (after Denver International Airport). Along with a variety of great food venues, DFW is also home to a number of great stores for last-minute gifts.
The DFW Employee Store, located by Gate C2 in Terminal C, offers logo clothing and gift items for hometown carrier American Airlines and American Eagle, but it also carries swag from historical airlines, including TWA, Reno Air, US Airways, and Air California along with gear from members of the Oneworld alliance. They even have an online store so you can geek out even if you aren’t traveling via DFW anytime soon.
For accessories and gift ideas specific to Texas, check out the Texas Marketplace near gates B9 and E15, Texas Territories near Gate B41, or The Range near Gate D36. You can also browse through a number of international and local fashion boutiques like the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop near gates A34, D10, and D21; Kate Spade near Gate D27; Lone Star Attitude near Gate E34; Coach near Gate D24; or Sunglass Hut near Gate A24.