7 Fun Cities for a 24-Hour Layover


Whoever said "getting there is half the fun" certainly wasn't flying in economy class. However, that's not to say you can't have a good time on the way to your next destination. On most international itineraries, you can stop in a city for up to 24 hours without it counting as a destination. That means that you typically don't have to pay more, in dollars or miles, to stay somewhere overnight. (See also: How to Add an Extra Destination to Your Next Trip for Free)

But where should you stay? The ideal layover city has several key qualities. First, it has to be an interesting city that's worth visiting. Also, you'll want to have popular attractions located relatively close to the airport. Furthermore, it always helps when the airport is accessible with public transportation. Here are seven fun cities to spend up to 24 hours in during a layover. (See also: 10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds)

1. Seattle, Washington

This northwestern city is now a hub for Delta as it and several other carriers offer numerous daily flights to Asia. From the Seattle-Tacoma airport, or "Sea-Tac" as the locals call it, you can take the Link light rail service to downtown in about 45 minutes. Once there, you can tour the famous Pike Place market, visit the Aquarium, or go on a whale watching cruise. Other downtown attractions include the Museum of Pop Culture, and of course, the iconic Space Needle.

2. Denver, Colorado

You might not consider this to be a major international hub, but the Mile High City now offers 26 international flights to destinations such as Tokyo, London, Munich, Paris, Zurich, and Iceland. And if you're lucky enough to have a layover here, you can to take the commuter rail straight from the airport to downtown's Union Station in just 40 minutes. There, you will arrive within a few blocks of the Elitch Gardens amusement park, Coors Field, and the REI flagship store. Hop on RTD's free 16th Street shuttle bus, and you can visit the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Museum of Art, and the lower downtown dining and entertainment district. (See also: 7 Affordable Cities for a Craft Beer Road Trip)

3. Miami, Florida

Miami is an American Airlines hub and a major gateway for several airlines that offer service to Latin America and the Caribbean. It also offers convenient Metrorail service from the airport to downtown. Once downtown, you can visit Miami Beach, tour the Art Deco Historic District, or visit the spectacular Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Other attractions include the Miami Seaquarium and the Jungle Island wildlife park.

4. Atlanta, Georgia

With over 103 million passengers in 2017, Hartsfield-Jackson International is actually the busiest airport in the world, and a major international gateway. Better yet, the local MARTA train system offers convenient service to downtown in just about 20 minutes. Attractions there include the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca Cola, and the College Football Hall of Fame. Other notable sites include the CNN Center, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

5. London, England

This major international hub is a common stopover destination. From London's Heathrow airport, you can take the Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station in just 30 minutes. Or, you can take the standard tube to nearly any part of the city. The famous sites are too many to list, but they include Big Ben, Parliament, the Tower of London, and dozens of museums. (See also: 6 Ways to Travel On a Budget While in Expensive Countries)

6. Singapore

Changi Airport is a famous destination in and of itself. Walking though its terminals, you feel like you could be in a mall. But if you need to see the city, feel free to take one of the free tours offered by the airport. If you have more time, visit the Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer, the S.E.A Aquarium or go shopping along Orchard Road. (See also: Fly Out of These Airports and Save Big on Airfare)

7. Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt might not be Europe's most exciting destination, but it can make for a quick, fun stopover. The airport itself has several hotels near the terminals and offers airport tours. You can also take the train into downtown, where you can find a historic old city center and take a scenic walk along Rhine River. (See also: 5 European Cities You Can Visit for $50 a Day)

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