New York Layover Guide (JFK)

What are you looking for in JFK?
Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the major international airport found in Queens, New York, United States of America. It is located 26 km (16 miles) from Midtown Manhattan, in the center of New York. The airport has had commercial flights since it was opened in 1948. New York City is an internationally renowned global power city and it is known as the cultural, media and financial capital of the world.

Can you leave New York Airport (JFK) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
It's possible for certain travelers to see New York City during a layover but others require a visa depending on nationality. (more info).

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

New York Organized Tours

New York One World Observatory

There are a million and one things to experience in New York City. The New York One World Observatory is one of the best things to-do. The Observatory offers iconic sights of surrounding waters, and panoramas of the Manhattan skyline and beyond the horizon. You can even feel the city’s invincible and unconquerable spirit of New York City. Immerse yourself in the bustling crossroads of the world at the See Forever Theater. » book this tour

New York: 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The Historical Exhibition has three parts namely the Day of 9/11, Before 9/11 and After 9/11. Learn the story about what happened on 9/11, including the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the story of Flight 93. Enjoy the amazing video documentaries about “Facing Crisis: America Under Attack,” “Facing Crisis: A Changed World,” and “Rebirth at Ground Zero.” The time-lapse footage and recorded interviews offer a first-hand perspective of the renewed World Trade Center site and the uplifting personal journeys of some of those most directly affected by the attacks. » book this tour

NYC: Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a well known and legendary New York City landmark Experience the view from a height of over a thousand feet enjoy magnificent 360-degree open-air views of New York City and beyond. This 86th Floor Observation Deck gives you incredible panoramic views across 6 states. Discover its architectural secrets as well as renovated interactive galleries that take you on an incredible journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture from movies such as King Kong. » book this tour

New York Things to do / Sightseeing

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty has always been famous and even though, on the top ten list of places to be in NYC, it is usually crowded and besides is better to take pictures of it from Liberty Island or while on the free cruise on the Staten Island Ferry. It’s a must-see!

Time required: 3 or 4 hours.

Airport to here: The fastest way to get here is by shuttle at an average of 15 minutes to the ferry.

Central Park

Central Park is New York’s largest park. The green oasis in the midst of the city stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street and 5th Avenue to 8th Avenue. It remains the most popular destination for New Yorkers to this day after it was established by the City planners. For a more relaxing tour, you can cruise around on the various lakes in the summer months by renting a rowboat.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: You can get here in 25 minutes by taxi or the recommended train in an hour.

The Brooklyn Bridge

History has it that Brooklyn was America’s third-largest city by the end of the 19th century where business was booming and goods were transported to and from Brooklyn and Manhattan via the East river plus other important economic activities. The Brooklyn Bridge was heralded as the 8th wonder of the world when it was opened in 1883 after 14 years of construction. It is one of the most visited sights in the city.

Time required: 30 minutes to one hour.

Airport to here: it usually takes 20 minutes to reach here by taxi.

High Line Park

Opened to trains since 1934,The high line is designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to carry goods to and from Manhattan’s largest industrial and busiest district. Located in the heart of the meatpacking district, the High Line is an elevated freight rail line that has been repurposed as a beautiful public green space that opened in 2009. Now you know where the fun starts.

Time required: 3 hours.

Airport to here: It takes an average of 25 minutes to get here by taxi or an hour by train.

Times Square

Being one of the most famous attractions in New York City,the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue sees more than 50 million people visit Times Square annually with many more passing through it famous subway station (Times Square/42nd street). This place was named Times Square after the New York Times moved into 1475 broadway(1 Times Square) but was originally called Longacre Square.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It takes 20 minutes to get here by taxi or 40 minutes by train.

Wall Street and Charging Bull

The Wall Street of Manhattan is where the headquarters of most banks are located. It is also home to the New York Stock Exchange and is no doubt part of the top ten places that attract tourists. Even people who haven’t been here, have obviously seen it as it has been featured in many movies, TV shows or documentaries. The iconic charging bull statue of Wall Street is also located near the stock exchange.

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: It’s a 25 minutes drive to get here or 50 minutes by train.

Staten Island Ferry

One thing you most certainly cannot miss is a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. From sensational views of the skyscrapers and an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty, this is going to be worth your time. It’s a free ride and also the best way to see the Statue of Liberty from up close without paying for a cruise!

Time required: 1 hour.

Airport to here: Using the subway or train will get you here in 50 minutes or 20 minutes by taxi.

Things to Do in New York Airport (JFK)

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are numerous lounges in each terminal. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
There are many hotel options less than a mile away. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated rest areas within the airport.

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: Free WiFi is available, connect to the “_Free JFK WiFi”

SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards. » buy a global sim card for New York, United States that you can use for other countries as well!

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: Taxi stands are found outside each terminal.

Train: The AirTrain connects the airport with the inner city via the subway network at Jamaica and Howard Beach Stations. (more info).

Bus: Local bus lines serve the airport from bus zones outside the terminals. (more info).

Shuttle: Some hotels run shuttle bus services.

Car rentals: Car rental counters are available onsite at the arrival halls of each terminal at the airport. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: The parking lots are found close to each terminal and there is information online about the availability of booking.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

There are short-term luggage storage offices in the arrival halls of Terminals 1, 4 and 8. The offices are open from 7:00AM – 11:00PM. » book a luggage storage or locker at New York Airport (JFK) online (subject to availability).

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- New York Airport (JFK) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks