If all titles came with trophies, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport would have cases full of them. It’s been lauded for on-time departures and connecting flights, for being family-friendly and for having excellent dining, business travel services and amenities, to name a few, not to mention little compliments like being named the Best Airport in America (Travel + Leisure, 2012).
So if you’re traveling to or from here over the holidays, there’s no need to worry about long, boring layovers. You might even want to set aside some extra time to explore. If you find yourself with time to spare, here’s what you can do.
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Airports Commission
Eat. As you enter Concourse G you’ll notice a large glass structure, inside of which noodles and dumpling wrappers are being made fresh daily. This is Shoyu; a restaurant that landed a spot on CNN’s list of the best eats at the busiest airports in the U.S. Order up a Japanese dish on an anchored-down iPad and then continue to play on it until you’re ready to leave. French Meadow Bakery & Café (Concourse F) was listed among U.S. Today’s best airport foods; here you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack from a bakery case of items, all prepared using fresh, local ingredients. For a nicer sit-down dinner, Ike’s Food & Cocktails (Airport Mall) serves steaks, seafood and ribs, and was named the No. 8 Best Airport Restaurant in the U.S. You also don’t want to miss Surdyk’s Flights (Airport Mall), a gourmet food and wine market that has a full-service café and bar that will sell you drinks like the Mile High Margarita or DC-3.
Shop. Locally based Aveda (Airport Mall) sells natural, plant-powered products for your hair and skin, and will offer free advice on rituals that will provide relief to tired and stressed travelers. Another Minnesota made company; at Creative Kidstuff (Airport Mall) you’ll find fun, imaginative toys and games, including travel ones perfect for the plane ride. For unique souvenirs, take a look at Minnesota! (Airport Mall), which sells state-centered apparel, food and gifts, or Local Brew (Concourse G), where you can purchase swag from popular local breweries.
Do. Before you go sit on a plane for hours, take a walk on a 1.4-mile walking path (starts at the intersection of concourses C and D), which was created in partnership with the American Heart Association’s Start! program. If your travels get too stressful, relax at Xpresspa Regis Salon (concourses D and F) with a massage, facial, or other spa treatments. To keep kids entertained, check out one of the three video arcades (concourses F, C and G). The airport also contains Digiboo movie kiosks, where you can download movies onto a USB flash drive to watch on the plane or at the gate, sans Wi-Fi. The movies expire after 30 days, so you don’t have to worry about returning it.
Note: These are listings for Terminal 1-Lindbergh.