Best Restaurants, Bars, Shops and Hotels at JFK Airport


The lounge below the TWA Hotel | Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel, Photo by David Mitchell

The lounge below the TWA Hotel | Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel, Photo by David Mitchell

As New York State’s largest airport and sixth busiest in the country, if you’re flying to or from the Big Apple during the 2022 holiday season, chances are it’s over John F Kennedy International Airport.

Opened in 1948 in the Jamaican borough of Queens, the famous JFK Airport serves millions of passengers each year (with a record 62 million in 2019) through six terminals, 131 gates and four runways. And recently, a billion dollars renovation initiative— which launched in 2018 and is expected to run through 2030 — promises to improve the quality of JFK’s facilities through new indoor green spaces, public art, renewable energy technologies, and more.

So whether you’re looking for overnight accommodations before an early morning flight or looking for reliable spots for pre-boarding bites and cocktails, here’s our ultimate guide to eating, drinking, hanging out and more at the international airport. John F. Kennedy in New York.

AirTrain at JFK Airport
AirTrain at JFK Airport | Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

JFK airport by public transport

Bus: If yellow cabs or ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft are out of your budget, one option is to hop on a MTA bus via B15, Q3, Q6, Q7 or Q10 routes.

Metro and AirTrain: Otherwise, the easiest and most economical way is the Metro and the AirTrain which will cost a total of $10.75.

If you are coming from Manhattan, get on the A train bound for Far Rockaway (make sure it’s not the A train bound for Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd, and if you take this one by mistake, just get off at the Rockaway Boulevard stop to get to the Far Rockaway-bound). Then, transfer to the AirTrain at the Howard Beach station.

If you are coming from other cities, take the E, J or Z subway lines towards Central Jamaica to Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue/JFK Airport and then take the AirTrain.

H&H Bagels
H&H Bagels

JFK Airport Restaurants

Breakfast: In addition to the classics like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, which can be found in almost all terminals, stop at the H&H Bagels in the food hall of Terminal 5 for artisanal BECs and lox; Where croque madame at Terminal 2 for pancakes and quiches. Other popular restaurants include La Brea Bakery at Terminal 4 for breads and pastries; and Terminal 7 Apartment 7B for take-out sandwiches as well as coffee and teas.

The Palm
The Palm

Lunch and dinner: Crush some of that extra wait time with a quiet feast at The Palm Bar & Grille at Terminal 4 for salads, seafood and steaks. The American bistro of chef Marcus Samuelsson (Red Rooster), Downtown Brewery, is also located in Terminal 4 and serves everything from chicken sandwiches to grilled salmon, oatmeal and pancakes. Also, the menu at AeroNueva in Terminal 5 was created by Chef Mark Ladner (Pasta Flyer) and includes Italian dishes like Spaghetti & Meatballs and Chicken Milanese. Launched with the help of chef Robby Cook (Morimoto), shiso in Terminal 2 serves Japanese dishes, including special rolls.

If you’re short on time, Terminal 1 offers Turkish food from Eat & Go Istanbul/New York; Korean and Japanese bites of Cafe JikJi; and Asian dishes like ramen and dumplings Soy and sake.

In Terminal 2, there are charcuterie and pasta at Due Amici, as well as slices of Tagliarewhich is run by the son of the legendary Dom DeMarco who founded Pizza Fara.

In Terminal 4, Mexican fare like burritos, tacos and more can be found at Mi Casa Cantina and Restaurant, along with burgers and fries from a New York-born outpost of the city. Shake Shack.

Terminal 5 is home to everything from pan-Caribbean fare at Caribbean Kitchen and take-out sashimi from Deep Blue on the fly to locations of Big Apple favorites, including Artichoke pizza and Cooked by Melissa.

Within Terminal 7, burgers are the specialty of True Burger and simple sandwiches and salads are available from Apartment 7B.

Finally, Terminal 8 offers options such as the automated refrigerator service of Farm fridgewhich is full of salads, wraps and veggie bowls; Bobby Van’s Steakhouse for American dishes, including sandwiches and chops; and Cafe Mezzewhich serves paninis and pastries.

Blue Point Brewery
Blue Point Brewery

Bars: Spread over six terminals, there are plenty of water points to sip cocktails and beers. With all spots allowed to serve alcohol from 8 a.m. until closing, Le Grand Comptoir in Terminal 7 is an enveloping wine bar with snacks like cheese boards and Bruschetta; and the Martini Bar in Terminal 1 offers no-frills wine, beer and cocktails. For an ice-cold beer, there’s also a New York-based pub outpost Blue Point Brewery in Terminal 4. Other chill bars include Irish pub and restaurant in Tigin in Terminal 4 and New York Sports Bar in Terminal 8.

Bookstore at JFK Airport
Bookstore at JFK Airport | Sorbis/Shutterstock

JFK Airport Shops

Retail therapy and last minute gifts: Sometimes a little retail therapy really cures any lingering pre-flight anxiety or keeps you from showing up to parties empty-handed. Among the options at the airport are mini outlets for top designers like Cartier, Coach and Ferragamo in Terminal 1, as well as Swarovski, Brooks Brothers and Juicy Couture in Terminal 4. For more affordable choices , there is a New York Originals shop at Terminal 8 for all your souvenir needs and a 47 Brand hat shop in Terminal 4 as well.

For reading material, hanging magazines, books and newspapers from Hudson News shops in Terminals 1, 4, 7 and 8; in addition to a Read library in Terminal 2; and one WhereTraveler Books in Terminal 5.


JFK Airport Lounges and Spas

Treat yourself and pass the time between stops: Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being pampered really is the ticket to a more relaxed flight. After clearing security, release tension with a quick shoulder or neck massage at Spa Xpress at Terminal 1 or BeRelax in Terminal 5.

For a fancier place to relax, there are several exclusive airport lounges for members/international ticket buyers, including the Air France lounge in Terminal 1; Delta Sky Clubs in Terminals 2 and 4; Swiss, Emirates, Air Indiaand Etihad Terminal 4 lounges; and more.

For long stopovers, Terminal 4 also accommodates a crew of Minute Suiteswhich are quaint rooms with a daybed, desk and TV for travelers wishing to rest for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 8 hours.

TWA Hotel Terminal
TWA Hotel Terminal | Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel, Photo by David Mitchell

Hotels near JFK Airport

Best choice: The jewel of the accommodation is undoubtedly the TWA Hotel. Accessible via Terminal 5, the hotel debuted in 2019 and boasts a chic 1960s design. Built in what was once the TWA Flight Center, the groovy hotel consists of 512 rooms; a cocktail bar called The sunken living room; a aviation history museum; a rooftop swimming pool; The Paris Cafe by Jean Georges (tin building); a plane turned into a bar called Connie Cocktail Bar; and a vacation-inspired after-swim destination called Piste chalet at the pool bar.

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Izzy Baskette is a writer for Thrillist New York. Find it on instagram.


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