These Are the Most Instagrammed Airports in the World
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The data comes straight from Instagram’s metadata for 2017, based on the most geotagged airport locations. We were a little surprised to find exactly zero international airports on this list — not even Singapore Changi, the World’s Best Airport. Scroll on through to see a glimpse of the most thumb-stopping airports and be sure to be camera-ready, next time you’re passing through.
1. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
LAX handles more “origin and destination” (non-connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world, with direct flights to nearly 200 destinations around the globe. More than 80 million travelers pass through Los Angeles International Airport every year. The airport is humongous to match, leading to myriad opportunities to “do it for the ‘gram”; LAX is roughly the size of eight mid-market airports, with Terminal 1 alone the size of Long Beach Airport.
Check out our LAX Layover Lowdown for tips on where to go and what to photograph.
2. Miami International Airport (MIA)
Miami International Airport is one of the largest airline hubs in the United States, serving as the gateway between the US and Latin America. The airport serves more than 44 million passengers a year, and also handles more international cargo than any other airport in the US. The rainbow glass corridor is just the start of the beautiful, art-filled decor that’s sprinkled throughout this airport, which reflects the colorful local culture.
3. Chicago: O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Chicago O’Hare’s Public Art Program offers one of the most unique peeks into the city’s artistic culture, with murals, installations and sculptures from local artists in every terminal. Known as one of the most kid-friendly airports around, tiny travelers will enjoy checking out one of the largest mounted dinosaurs in the world — a four-story high, 72-foot-long Brachiosaurus skeleton model — on the upper level of Terminal 1 in Concourse B, or look out for the replica of a World War II fighter plane hanging in the main hall of Terminal 2. “The Sky’s The Limit” is arguably one of the most famous visuals for Chicago O’Hare, featuring a 744-foot-long ever-changing neon light installation that illuminates the underground walkway between Concourses B and C in Terminal 1.
Check out our O’Hare Layover Lowdown for more tips on navigating the Windy City’s airport.
4. Atlanta: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
The busiest airport in the world for 20 years running, ATL is no stranger to foot traffic. Beyond setting records on the volume side, Atlanta also won the 2017 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities for its arts program, which features local creations by regional artists. Don’t miss the 450-foot “Flight Paths” light installation, located in the underground walkway between Concourses A and B, which simulates a Georgia forest through the fusion of light, sound and video.
If you’re passing through ATL, our Atlanta Layover Lowdown offers suggestions on where to eat, shop and relax in this mighty airport, which services over 100 million passengers every year.
5. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
The largest airport in Northern California offers an impressive museum exhibit in the walkways between terminals, with rotating displays that share culture, history and art for the more than 50 million passengers that travel through each year. And don’t forget to keep your eyes and phone on high alert for the Wag Brigade — the program that brings trained dogs and even Lilou, the therapy pig, to cheer you along your travels. The animals of SFO even have their own Instagram page.
Properly exploring SFO calls for a thorough Layover Lowdown, so make sure you check out our guide for the best opportunities to get your iconic airport snap.
6. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
American Airlines’ largest hub sits squarely in the middle of Texas, with more than 67 million passengers transiting through the state’s fourth-largest airport each year. Intricate glass installations pepper the airport’s terminals, giving travelers a taste of local artists. A lot of the artwork is located in the International Terminal and Skylink stations, where open glass windows offer stunning views of the natural beauty of Texas prairie sunsets. Aviation geeks may soon have additional aircraft to spot at DFW as well, with Uber and Embraer partnering for a pilot launch of autonomous flying taxis in the early 2020s.
7. Newark: Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Despite being “the airport people love to hate,” TPG editor-at-large Zach Honig calls Newark his favorite for a number of reasons. Whether EWR made the top-20 for its visual appeal or because bored passengers waiting on delayed flights need something to do, EWR ranks seventh on this list of most Instagrammed airports in the world.
8. Orlando International Airport (MCO)
The main gateway to The Happiest Place on Earth offers travelers plenty of beauty before they ever make it to Disney World. A lovely glass atrium drenches visitors with Florida sun, and the Insta-stories can begin as soon as the Disney Magical Express appears at the airport to shuttle travelers to the one of the Most Instagrammed Places on Earth.
9. Denver International Airport (DEN)
At 53 square miles, the largest airport in the US by square footage offers more than just space for Instagramming travelers to document. DIA, as the airport is fondly called by locals, won USA Today‘s “Best US Airport for Art” travel contest in 2013. A beautiful art program with permanent installations, as well as rotating exhibits, make this United hub a visual treat for passengers transiting through. Even the airport’s exterior offers local flair, with a white-peaked rooftop reminiscent of Colorado’s snowy peaks.
Check out our Layover Lowdown for additional spots to visit while passing through.
10. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
The Alaska Airlines hub is the gateway to the stunning Pacific Northwest, and the airport is elegant and beautiful to match. A multi-floor glass-paned window allows diners to look out on the apron, while the Alaska Airlines Board Room offers beautiful views from its two-story lounge. A self-guided digital tour introduces visitors to the various art installations throughout the airport on their own time. Check out this list of airport hacks for additional tips on making the most of your visit to SEA.
11. Boston: Logan International Airport (BOS)
It’s not often that a chain restaurant offers the best dining in town, but Legal Sea Foods at Boston’s Logan Airport is renowned for its variety of excellent seafood in a pub atmosphere. The art installations at Logan can be found throughout the airport, while the national food site Eater offered a full listing of all the best eats in the airport. With guides like this, you’ll be on your way to joining the Instagram fans of Boston Logan in no time.
12. Las Vegas: McCarran International Airport (LAS)
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except when it ends up on Instagram! Las Vegas’ McCarran airport offers vacationers their first taste of wild and their last glimpse of the crazy partying and gambling they’re about to leave. One of just two airports with slot machines throughout the terminals (the other is in Reno), LAS also offers an impressive exhibition of art inspired by local scenery and culture for travelers looking to see more of the natural beauty of Nevada.
13. New York: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Stranded at JFK because of bad weather? So are the 98,273 other people tagging the same location on Instagram. Fortunately, JFK offers art installations as beautiful as its delays are predictable. Bonus: An Amex Centurion Lounge is set to open at the airport in early 2019.
14. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
Southwest’s South Florida airport of choice offers incredible skies for Instagram fanatics. Plus, the Fort Lauderdale airport is just a couple of miles from many of the state’s cruise terminals, and most travelers passing through this airport are in a serious vacation state of mind, which no doubt spurs the desire to Instagram. Fort Lauderdale is also the largest hub for Spirit Airlines, which primarily uses the airport as its base of operations for domestic and international travel.
15. New York: LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Flying into LaGuardia offers some unreal views of Manhattan from up in the air. LaGuardia is the busiest US airport without non-stop service to Europe, and it also doesn’t allow any flights longer than 1,500 miles (although that may change). Although many people hate the airport that Joe Biden once likened to a “third-world country,” LGA was home to the world’s first exclusive airline club: The American Airlines Admirals’ Club in 1939. Locals used to visit LaGuardia when the airport was first built, paying a dime for admission just to watch aircraft take off and land.
16. Houston: George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and IAH is one of the best examples of this adage. With more than 43 miles of runway, 629,308 square feet of window panes, more than three miles of luggage conveyor belts, and 10 K-9 teams, this airport is all about the numbers. And landing on the Top-20 list of most Instagrammed airports in the world is right on brand. Be sure to stop at the many local bars and restaurants throughout the massive airport’s numerous terminals to try some Texas barbecue, local bourbons and whiskeys, and possibly even some live music.
17. Portland International Airport (PDX)
The PDX airport has so much personality, even its carpet has a fan base. What you might not know, however, is that the original carpet design was inspired by an aerial view of the runways from a control tower perspective. Home to hipsters galore, the airport even offers bike parking for the true fanatics.
18. Phoenix: Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Our most well-rounded 2016 Airport of the Year eschews manmade decor for nature, showcasing a stunning view of the Sonoran landscape through its picturesque floor-to-ceiling windows. Although Sky Harbor has a relative dearth of lounges compared to the norm, the Instagram opportunities more than make up for it. PHX has one of the best timeliness records for arrivals and departures within the US, so make sure you get to your gate on time — and don’t spend too long framing your perfect shot.
19. Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
Delta’s second-largest hub was named the best large US airport in customer satisfaction in 2010 — no easy feat for an airport with a whopping 131 gates and an annual economic impact of more than $10 billion. Travelers cited the terminals’ open, airy design and convenience of transportation amongst the top-rated traits. Have your phone camera ready to snap your own photo of the 700-foot Light Tunnel that connects Concourses B and C with Concourse A and the McNamara Terminal.
20. Washington, DC: Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Washington Dulles, the first US airport designed to accommodate commercial jets, continues to lead the way in travel trends by offering live performances by local musicians from time to time. You can plan out your free concert experience ahead of time by consulting this rotating events schedule. Beyond live performances, the airport that services the nation’s capital is just a single bus stop away from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, so true aviation aficionados can duck out and capture a wealth of aircraft knowledge and photos in a single long layover.
Feature photo of LAX by narvikk/Getty Images
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