The Ultimate Guide to LaGuardia Airport in NYC

As we prepare for 2022 holiday travels, brush up on how to get there via public transportation, plus the best spots for bites, cocktails, and gifts before your flight.

With the help of a billion dollar renovation initiative, it’s safe to say that LaGuardia Airport has gone through a major glow-up since its previous punchline status. And this holiday season, travelers can count on flying through a dependable and modernized transportation hub for domestic flights in and out of the Big Apple.

Named after Fiorello La Guardia, a former NYC mayor from 1934–1945, LGA Airport in the East Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens was first established in 1939. More than 80 years later, the recently revamped property now flaunts four terminals, 72 gates, and two runways, while functioning as one of the top 25 busiest airports in the U.S.

So, whether you’re looking to explore the newly revitalized facilities, pamper yourself pre-flight, or dine and drink before boarding, here’s our ultimate guide on everywhere to eat, drink, hang, and more at LaGuardia Airport in NYC.

LaGuardia Link Q70 bus
LaGuardia Link Q70 bus | rblfmr/Shutterstock

LaGuardia Airport by public transportation

Bus: If yellow cabs or ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft are out of your budget, buses are the only way to get to any departure terminals. Among the available MTA bus routes, you can hop on the Q47, Q48, Q70, Q72, or the M60 is a quick ride from the Upper West Side/Harlem.

Helicopter: Yes, helicopter! Flights from BLADE run on a limited service, and group charters are also available.

Birch Coffee
Birch Coffee

LaGuardia Airport restaurants

Breakfast: Alongside classics like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts—which can be found scattered throughout terminals—drop by outposts of popular NYC-born spots like H&H Bagels, Juice Press, and Birch Coffee in Terminal D. Other early AM offerings include coffee and baked goods from World Bean in Terminal C, as well as Irving Farm New York Coffee Roasters and the Sweetleaf and Beecher’s collaboration cafe in Terminal B. For bagels and breakfast sandwiches, stop by Eli’s Essentials plus Zaro’s Family Bakery in Terminal B.

Bubby’s at LaGuardia Airport
Bubby’s at LaGuardia Airport | Photo courtesy of Bubby's

Lunch and dinner: For a proper sit-down meal, newly debuted destinations in Terminal C include shiny outposts of three beloved NYC restaurants: Bubby’s, Chuko Ramen, and Essex. For American bistro fare, check out Mulberry Street, by chef Marc Forgione (Restaurant Marc Forgione, Peasant) in Terminal B. For Italian fare, Cotto in Terminal C, which was opened with the help of chef Michael White (Lambs Club, Marea), specializes in pizza. In Terminal D, drop by the French-inspired bistro backed the Frenchette team, Bisoux; snag a Neapolitan pie from Crust; order up a burger and casual appetizers from the Flatiron Tavern and Provisions; or ball out at the chophouse Prime Tavern, which is led by chef Michael Lomonaco (Porter House, Hudson Yards Grill).

For casual spots that offer quick service, Salotto in Terminal A serves up Italian-influenced sandwiches and pizzas.

At Terminal B, there’s an outpost of the San Francisco-style Dos Toros taqueria; a Green Leaf’s counter for smoothies, salads, and sandwiches; and a pick-up locale of Tony and Benny’s Pizza Parlor. Other familiar names within the terminal include Junior’s for cheesecake, Shake Shack for burgers and fries, plus Hill Country, for top Texas-style barbecue favorites like fried chicken and pulled pork.

If you’re flying out of Terminal C, offerings range from lobster-centric bites from Anglers and slices from the Big Apple favorite of Artichoke Pizza, to milkshakes and burgers from Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda.

As the most recently revamped area of LGA, Terminal D’s shiny halls flaunt the counter-service Harry’s Deli; as well as a laid back seafood counter dubbed Minnow with everything from sushi to clam chowder. Pizza-wise, there’s Rossi Pizzeria, from the pizza-maestro chef Mark Iacono (Lucali, Baby Luc’s), and Tagliare, which is run by the son of legendary Dom DeMarco who founded Di Fara Pizza.

Terminal C bar at LaGuardia Airport
Terminal C bar at LaGuardia Airport | lev radin/Shutterstock

Bars: If you’re looking for a stiff drink to settle your flying anxieties or just kicking off vacation mode, Terminal B boasts some solid watering holes like Bar 212 for American plates and cocktails; an outpost of the decades-old East Village wine bar Bar Veloce; and a well-stocked wine/spirits bar called Spirit & Bell. Other popular joints include Biergarten for cold brews in Terminal C, as well as Wibar in Terminal D, which boasts an extensive selection of more than 100 wines.

McNally Jackson Books
McNally Jackson Books

LaGuardia Airport shops

Retail therapy and last-minute gifts: In those dire times of forgetting a must-have beauty product at home or when in need of a quick holiday gift, LaGuardia offers an array of places for serious retail therapy. Some pricier options include outlets of the makeup brand MAC in Terminal B and C; The Dean menswear in Terminal B; and Le Labo, Beekman 1802, and Swarovski in Terminal C.

For quality travel gear, Terminal C also houses a TUMI. Additionally, there’s a whimsical outlet of the high-end toy company, FAO Schwarz, in Terminal B.

To keep yourself entertained during your layover or flight, check out the McNally Jackson bookshop in Terminal B, or drop by one of the many BuzzFeed News stores and Cibo Express Gourmet Markets in Terminal C.

Be Relax
Be Relax

LaGuardia Airport lounges and spas

Pamper yourself and pass the time between layovers: After you’ve cleared security, set yourself up for a guaranteed chilled out flight via a quick shoulder or neck massage at Xpress Spa in Terminal C and BeRelax in Terminal B. Alternatively, drop by the shoeshine station in Terminal D.

For long layovers, Terminal B also hosts a crew of Minute Suites, which are quaint rooms with a daybed, desk, and TV for travelers looking to rest for a minimum of 1 hour to a maximum of 8 hours.

If you’re in the mood for a swankier hang, there are several exclusive airport lounges for members/ticket purchasers including the American Airlines Admirals Club, The Centurion Lounge, Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, and United Airlines United Club in Terminal B. There are also two Delta Sky Clubs, one in Terminal C and the other Terminal D.

Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport
Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport | Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

Art at LaGuardia Airport

Historic Marine Air Terminal: If you find yourself looking for a way to stretch your legs, one of the most popular pastimes of LGA travelers is checking out the historic Marine Air Terminal, also known as Terminal A. Here, visitors can check out the Art-Deco architecture, as well as a well-preserved mural that depicts the history of flying called Flight by artist James Brooks.

Terminal B: Located within Terminal B, check out a recent addition to the LGA property that combines the use of water, lasers, and sound. The water feature runs continuously, but every 15 minutes one of the two signature shows are on display.

Terminal C: Within the newly renovated Terminal C, a rotating display of works by local artists, courtesy of the Queens Museum, highlights NYC’s culturally rich history and continued progression to promote diversity, inclusivity, and creativity.

Hotels near LaGuardia Airport

Top choice: Of the surrounding accommodations, we recommend staying at the nearby Aloft New York Laguardia Airport where on-site amenities include a fitness center, gift shop, and purchasable laundry/dry cleaning services.

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Izzy Baskette is a Staff Writer for Thrillist New York. Find her on Instagram.