20 Things to do at JFK Airport(T1,2,4,5,7 &8)

If you have a layover at JFK, perhaps you are only thinking about the crowded terminals and the loudspeaker announcements. But don’t be disheartened – the airport has a lot more to offer than you think.

It can take you some time to take in what JFK Airport has to offer with all the hustle and bustle around. I have taken time to research what’s available in different terminals and have topped it up with a comprehensive list of things to do inside and outside the airport.

You can leave JFK during your layover and re-enter without having to go through security again. This is a great option if you want to explore New York City or visit one of the many attractions located nearby. Just be sure to leave yourself enough time get back to the airport before your next flight.

Things to do at JFK Terminal 1:

  1. Grab something to eat at Dunkin Donuts in Mezz level(arrivals) or at Dunkin’s Food court.
  2. To the West of Arrivals level, you can also grab food at Euro Cafe
  3. Try out McDonalds at the main Food Court
  4. Near Gate 4, check out New York Gifts (kiosk)
  5. If you need to nurse or pump, head over to Gate 1 outside the Air France Lounge
  6. If you’re dying for pizza, head over to Departures – Gate 6 to order one at Pizza Pub
  7. Get a Sim card at the arrivals section
  8. Grab food or coffee at Starbucks Evening
  9. At the Departures Level – Gate 3, try out Soho Bites

Things to do at JFK Airport Terminal 4:

  1. Shop for the latest fashion at 5th and Sunset near Gate 29: 5th and Sunset is a trendy boutique offering the latest fashion and accessories for men and women. It’s located near Gate 29 in Terminal 4, making it easily accessible during your layover.
  2. Try out the Beacon Bar for a refreshing drink: Located near new Concourse A, the Beacon Bar is a great spot to relax and enjoy a delicious cocktail. With its modern decor and comfortable seating, it’s the perfect place to unwind during your layover.
  3. Try Bento Sushi near Gate B26: If you’re feeling hungry, head to Bento Sushi near Gate B26 for some delicious sushi rolls. They also offer a variety of other Japanese dishes and drinks.
  4. If you’re hungry eat at the Buffalo Wild Wings near Gate B26 or at Camden Foods Zippin(near Gate B41)
  5. Go get some good rest at Delta Sky Club Lounge near Gate B32
  6. Get Dunkin Donuts near Gate B33 and B20.

Things to do at JFK Terminal 5:

  1. Opposite Gates 6-7, get nail care or massage at Be Relax Spa
  2. Try out Caribbean food in the Caribbean Kitchen
  3. In the Central Concourse, there are many options for food including 5ive Steak, AeroNuova, Artichoke Pizza and Baked by Melissa outlet.
  4. If you want a gourmet, check out the Cibo Express Gourmet Market in the Central Concourse of Terminal 5.
  5. Charge your devices in various charging stations in the Food Hall, Departures and in Welcome Center outside Arrivals Area.
  6. Big fun of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Head over the either the Arrivals or the Check-in section to get your coffee fix
  7. Buy some travel essentials such as headphones at the InMotion store located in the central concourse.

Things to do at JFK Terminal 7:

  1. Enjoy Dunkin Donuts coffee at the Arrivals area of Terminal 7 or near Gate 10
  2. If you want to get some real food, check out Bento Sushi, Brindle Room or Brooklyn Rebel all within the main Food court.
  3. Go rest in Aer Lingus Lounge near Gate 1 or in Alaska Lounge above the TSA Security Checkpoint
  4. Buy a New York branded T-shirt at the Hudson News shop near Gate 5/6, 7/8 and in the Arrivals area.
  5. Go refill your water bottle at the Food Court restroom

Things to do at JFK Terminal 8:

  1. First, grab a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts in the arrivals area.
  2. If you want food in the Main T8, head over to Bobby Van’s Steakhouse which is also accessible with Priority pass.
  3. There are several Hudson kiosks for you to buy a New York branded merchandise such as T-shirts or mugs.
  4. Buy some New York Fashion at Hugo Boss in the Main Terminal
  5. Buy some headphones at InMotion store
  6. At Concourse B near Gate 10, get some work done at Escape Pods.
  7. Get some food at Mezze Cafe

List of 20 things to do at or near JFK Airport:

1. Visit the JFK’s Flight Museum at TWA Hotel

2. Shop at one of the many duty-free stores

3. Get a massage or spa treatment

4. Go on a wine tasting tour

5. Take a helicopter tour of New York City

6. See a Broadway show

7. Visit the American Museum of Natural History

8. Go to the top of the Empire State Building

9. Take a walk in Central Park

10. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

11. Shop at Macy’s

12. Explore Chinatown

13. Take a food tour of Little Italy

14. Ride the Staten Island Ferry

15. Tour the Brooklyn Brewery

16. Visit Coney Island

17. See the Statue of Liberty

18. Explore the High Line

19. Take a bike tour of Manhattan

20. Check out one of the many rooftop bars in NYC

20 Things to do near JFK Airport

Visit the Flight Museum at TWA:

The Flight Museum at TWA is a great place to learn about the history of aviation. The museum is located in the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.

The New York Historical Society — which was founded in 1804 as New York City’s first museum — is responsible for the free exhibits that are open to anyone who wants to see them.

The exhibits allow visitors to experience the Jet Age through real artifacts, interactive displays, and personal stories by taking them through the lives of ordinary people who lived and worked in this era.

The JFK Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the airport and see some interesting exhibits. The museum is located in Terminal 4 and is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Shop at one of the many duty-free stores:

JFK Airport has many duty-free shops where you can find great deals on designer clothes, cosmetics, perfume, and more.

Duty-Free shops:

  • DFS Duty-Free – Beauty
  • Duty-Free Americas
  • Duty-Free Int’l Shops
  • iS Beauty
  • iS Style

For convenience shopping go to Hudson News stores. You can also buy flowers at Terminal 1.

Get a massage or spa treatment:

If you’re looking to relax during your layover, consider getting a massage or spa treatment. There are several options available at JFK Airport, including:

The Wellness Center at JFK Airport offers massages, facials, and other treatments.

XpresSpa offers massages, manicures, and pedicures.

The JFK Airport Health Club offers massages, facials, and other treatments.

Go on a wine tasting tour:

For something a little different, consider going on a wine tasting tour. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you to some of the best wineries in the area.

Some of the tours available include:

  • The Long Island Wine Tour
  • The Finger Lakes Wine Tour
  • The Hudson Valley Wine Tour

Take a helicopter tour of New York City:

For a birds-eye view of New York City, take a helicopter tour. The tours depart from JFK Airport and last for about 30 minutes.

Some of the companies that offer helicopter tours include:

  • New York Helicopter
  • Liberty Helicopters
  • HeliNY

See a Broadway show:

If you’re looking for some entertainment, consider seeing a Broadway show. There are several theaters located near JFK Airport, including:

  • Theater District
  • Broadway Shows
  • Gershwin Theater
  • Lincoln Center
  • Majestic Theater

Visit the American Museum of Natural History:

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s largest museums. The museum is located in New York City and is a great place to learn about the natural world.

The museum has exhibits on dinosaurs, space, animals, and more.

Go to the top of the Empire State Building:

For a great view of New York City, go to the top of the Empire State Building. The building is located in Midtown Manhattan and is open daily from 8:00am to 2:00am.

Take a walk in Central Park:

Central Park is a great place to take a walk and relax. The park is located in Manhattan and is open daily from 6:00am to 1:00am.

Visit the Museum of Modern Art:

The Museum of Modern Art is one of the world’s largest museums. The museum is located in New York City and is a great place to see some of the world’s most famous art.

The museum has exhibits on painting, sculpture, photography, and more.

Take a ferry to Staten Island:

For a different view of New York City, take a ferry to Staten Island. The ferry departs from Lower Manhattan and is free for pedestrians and cyclists.

The ferry ride takes about 25 minutes.

Visit the Statue of Liberty:

For a great view of New York City, visit the Statue of Liberty. The statue is located on Liberty Island and is open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm.

Take a tour of Yankee Stadium:

If you’re a fan of baseball, consider taking a tour of Yankee Stadium. The stadium is located in the Bronx and is open daily from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Some of the tours available include:

The Classic Tour

The Legends Tour

The Ultimate Tour

Ride the Staten Island Ferry:

For a different view of New York City, ride the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry departs from Lower Manhattan and is free for pedestrians and cyclists.

The ferry ride takes about 25 minutes.

Visit the 9/11 Memorial:

The 9/11 Memorial is a tribute to the victims of the September 11th attacks. The memorial is located at the site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

The memorial is open daily from 7:30am to 9:00pm.

Visit the New York Stock Exchange:

If you’re interested in finance, consider visiting the New York Stock Exchange. The exchange is located in Lower Manhattan and is open Monday-Friday from 9:30am to 4:00pm.

Take a walking tour of Brooklyn:

For a different view of New York City, take a walking tour of Brooklyn. The borough is home to some of the city’s best museums, parks, and restaurants.

Some of the tours available include:

The Brooklyn Bridge Tour

The Brooklyn Heights Tour

The Dumbo Tour

Visit the Bronx Zoo:

The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world. The zoo is located in the Bronx and is open daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Some of the exhibits at the zoo include:

The Congo Gorilla Forest

The Tiger Mountain

The Himalayan Highlands

Take a food tour of Queens:

For a different view of New York City, take a food tour of Queens. The borough is home to some of the city’s best restaurants.

Some of the tours available include:

The Queens Taste Tour

The Astoria Food Tour

The Flushing Food Tour

Visit Coney Island:

Coney Island is a great place to have some fun. The island is located in Brooklyn and is open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Some of the attractions at Coney Island include:

The Cyclone roller coaster

Nathan’s Famous hot dogs

The Coney Island Museum

Take a bike tour of Manhattan:

For a different view of New York City, take a bike tour of Manhattan. The borough is home to some of the city’s best museums, parks, and attractions.

Some of the tours available include:

The Central Park Tour

The Lower Manhattan Tour

The Brooklyn Bridge Tour

Visit the New York Botanical Garden:

The New York Botanical Garden is a great place to see some of the world’s most beautiful plants. The garden is located in the Bronx and is open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Take a tour of Grand Central Terminal:

For a different view of New York City, take a tour of Grand Central Terminal. The terminal is located in Midtown Manhattan and is open daily from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

Some of the tours available include:

The Grand Tour

The Vanderbilt Tour

The Secrets of Grand Central Tour

Visit Times Square:

Times Square is a great place to go for some fun. The square is located in Midtown Manhattan and is open 24 hours a day.

Some of the attractions at Times Square include:

The Broadway theaters

The restaurants

The shops

Take a tour of the United Nations:

If you’re interested in international affairs, consider taking a tour of the United Nations. The UN is located in Midtown Manhattan and is open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

Some of the tours available include:

The General Assembly Tour

The Security Council Tour

The Economic and Social Council Tour

Visit Ellis Island:

Ellis Island is a great place to learn about American history. The island is located in New York Harbor and is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Some of the attractions at Ellis Island include:

  • The Ellis Island Museum
  • The Statue of Liberty Museum
  • The Immigration History Center

Get sleep at JFK or at the nearest hotel with shuttles from JFK:

There are innovatile sleep pod technologies at JFK that you can rent and get some sleep in Terminal 4. They are operated by Minute Suites and are available at rates starting from $55 or at $195 for an overnight sleep. Read more about these Minute Suites Sleep Pods at JFK in our JFK Sleeping Guide

Many hotels near JFK offer shuttles to and from the airport. Some of these hotels include:

The Marriott New York JFK Airport Hotel

The Hampton Inn & Suites JFK Airport Hotel

The Holiday Inn Express JFK Airport Hotel

Table – What to do near JFK Airport/in NYC

ActivityLocation & Accessibility Cost & Safety
Explore the Howard Beach Located along the southern coast of Queens, Long Island
A cheaper accessibility channel is through the A train toward Howard Beach from JFK  
It costs approximately $10 one-way. The neighborhood is friendly and safe.
Explore ChinatownLower Manhattan
Accessible via the subway; The tour companies on the route are JFK AirTrain and MTA

It costs $8; the trip’s average duration is 58 minutes inclusive of transfer time between stations. It’s safe.
Visit Corona Park The Northern part of Queens
Accessible fast through a combination of train, subway, bus via 71 Av/Queens Bl; route operators are JFK Airtrain, and The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
It is a safe destination and transit costs are in the range of $12 – $17.

Other things you can do near JFK airport during layover are:

  1. Bird-Watching in Jamaica Bay
  2. Rockaways
  3. Visit Queens Botanical Garden
  4. You can get some food at Terminal 4 and eat
  5. Drink BRKLYN Beer Garden in Terminal 2
  6. Check out the 6 airport lounges at JFK airport
  7. Shop at a duty-free shop – I like the one at Terminal 2
  8. You can sleep in comfortable Minute Suites beds.
  9. Browse the internet

In the video below, Attache takes you through everything you can check out in Manhattan, NYC.

You can read the full JFK airport guide here.

Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.