Each year, more and more people take to the sky during their travels for business and pleasure, and U.S. airports rank among the busiest in the world for total passenger traffic.
With more flights comes more time spent at the airport, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Airports around the nation are upping their amenity game to give travelers a comfortable and convenient airport experience through stellar restaurants, bars and shops.
10Best has partnered with Airport Revenue News to honor the best airports and airport concessions in the country in 10 different categories. For four weeks in January and February, 10Best and USA TODAY readers voted daily for their favorites, and the winners were just announced at the annual Airport Revenue News conference in New Orleans on March 15.
Click on each category below to see the final rankings.
Best Airport Sitdown Dining: Whisky River (CLT)
Whisky River, created in partnership with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., features an extensive food menu and bar offerings for travelers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Those with a layover should try the signature drink, Moonshine Mule, made with Midnight Moon original moonshine, ginger beer and lime juice.
Best Airport Shop for Local Merchandise: Gallery Eppley (OMA)
Gallery Eppley at Omaha’s Eppley International Airport features works by more than 50 notable artists from throughout the Midwest. Travelers can purchase local art or watch a live art demonstration.
Best Airport Newsstand/Travel Essential: North Loop Market (MSP)
In addition to selling convenience store items, snacks and beverages, North Loop Market at MSP also carries Minnesota merchandise and souvenirs.
Best Airport Local/Regional Dining: Harry & Izzy’s Steakhouse (IND)
The Indianapolis International Airport location of the iconic Indianapolis restaurant serves signature items such as the Izzy Style New York Strip and the St. Elmo Prime Rib Sandwich.
Best Airport for Shopping: Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
Whether travelers are looking to relax, pick up a gift for a loved one or invest in a new travel gadget, the retail program at Toronto Pearson International has it covered. Highlights include 10 Minute Manicure, Aveda, Beats by Dre, Gucci, iStore, MAC Cosmetics, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and The Body Shop.
Best Airport for Dining: Long Beach Airport (LGB)
Long Beach Airport, winner of this title in 2016 as well, hearkens back to the golden age of flying, and the food options are a great representation of local flavors. LGB features street-side favorites, like 4th Street Vine Wine & Beer Bar, McKenna’s, Polly’s Coffee, George’s Greek Café and others.
Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Wait Staff: Vino Volo (AUS)
Vino Volo brings an elevated level of customer service to airports. Vino Volo’s knowledgeable Associates are passionate about helping guests discover unique, often hard-to-find wines from great global and local wine regions, including the nearby Texas Hill Country.
Best Airport Bar/Restaurant Atmosphere: Saison (EWR)
Saison looks like someone plopped a French bistro right in the middle of Newark Airport’s Terminal C. Diners order on iPads, and there are plenty of places to plug in and recharge gadgets pre-flight.
Best Airport Bar: Whisky River (CLT)
Available to passengers traveling through Charlotte Douglas International, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whisky River has the same vibe as its original uptown location, including a lively bar, mechanical bull and even a stage for regular live music. Whisky River won Best Airport Bar in 2016 as well.
Best Airport Grab-and-Go Dining: Earthbar (LAX)
Situated in Terminal 6 of LAX, Earthbar blends up fresh and nourishing fruit smoothies for travelers on the go. The eatery also sells grab-and-go salads and wraps for something a bit more substantial.
Congratulations to all these winning airports and airport concessions. Remember to keep this list handy during your travel planning to ensure an enjoyable time at the airport.