What To Do On An 8-Hour LAX Layover

by joeheg

Some airports around the world are designed with long layovers in mind. Changi Airport in Singapore and Dubai Airport are places where you wouldn’t hesitate to spend several hours between flights. If you’re not looking to explore, many airports have hotels on site where you can catch a few hours of sleep before your next flight.

However, other airports aren’t particularly nice places to be stuck waiting for your next flight. While there was an attempt to rank the best and worst airports for layovers using specific data points,  the results didn’t translate to real-life experiences. What makes an airport conducive for a layover lies more in the intangibles than simply measuring the number of eating establishments per number of gates.

In addition, the duration of your layover matters. For instance, we had a 4-hour layover before our flight to Hawaii from LAX. At the time, I asked if it was worth trying to get into Delta’s SkyClub. While some said yes, there were other suggestions to hang out in a different terminal or even leave the airport.

As it was the easiest option, we ended up spending time in the Delta SkyClub (and almost missed our flight because of a delay with the inter-terminal bus.)

The situation on our upcoming flights to Vietnam is different. Our business class flight to Singapore leaves at 7:40 PM. The best positioning flight I could find from Orlando on United gets us to LAX at 11:40 AM. That gives us about 6 hours of free time between our flights (possibly more if we don’t need to claim and re-check bags).

That’s too much time to spend in a lounge, even though I plan on visiting the LAX Star Alliance lounge before our flight.

While I’d enjoy spending time at In-N-Out Burger, Sharon’s not a fan of watching planes or In-N-Out burgers.

There are literally millions of articles about what to do on an LAX layover but it feels like most of them were written by someone who’s never spent time at the airport (or by bots designed to maximize SEO.)

a screenshot of a phone

What are some good places to go for a few hours around lunchtime that aren’t that far from LAX?  Do we need to worry about LA traffic if we choose to leave the airport? Any specific suggestions about places to eat or visit would be more helpful than saying, “Visit Santa Monica.”

If we choose to catch a nap, are there any good airport hotels that offer day rooms?

I’m obsessing because this is our biggest trip in almost a decade. I don’t want to start it off by having a horrible time during our LAX layover.

Thanks for your help!!!!!

Feature Photo: TDelCoro / flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary, or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Dave September 14, 2022 - 7:12 pm

Wouldn’t worry about traffic if you’re sticking around the LAX area. Perhaps if you venture further afield and try to get back during the afternoon/evening rush hour. Some random suggestions, all within 15-min from the airport:

– Breweries: Three Weavers Brewing Company, Tortugo Brewing Company
– Coffee: Smoky Hollow Roasters, Blue Butterfly Coffee
– Activities: Sender One climbing gym, Playa Del Rey beach boardwalk
– Film: Old Town Music Hall

Ralph Webster September 14, 2022 - 7:50 pm

Suck it up and spend time in the lounge. Going anywhere that would be worth going to will take way too much time.

derek September 14, 2022 - 8:11 pm

I am interested in airports but looking at all the different terminals and looking out the window is not enough to occupy 8 hours. With 8 hours, I would see something in Los Angeles.

Possibilities include
1. Venice Beach, walk around. Or a bit of a walk from there and not on the beach is Wurstküche Restaurant Venice Beach (look it up – beer hall with snake meat?). The Sidewalk Cafe is just a burger place with seating where you can see the beach.

2. Western Museum of Flight at Torrance Airport. See the rare YF-17 fighter (prototype for the F/A-18 Hornet) or the YF-23 stealth fighter prototype that was better than the F-22 but wasn’t selected.

3. I’ve heard of people going to Manhattan Beach but I have not.

4. I spent some time once at the Loyola Marymount University library but it’s nothing special. Just a university library with slightly scenic views and admission allowed for non-students. It’s less than 2 miles from the north border of LAX.

5. Getty Museum or spend some time around Westwood and UCLA.

6. See some filming location of a movie that you’ve enjoyed seeing. That takes research of what you’ve watched and what you want to see. This is a random webpage about this… http://movie-locations.com/movies/f/Flashdance.php

7. Rent a hotel room? It’s more comfortable than a lounge except the need to plan for food.

8. I am not a fan of Korean food but if one were, maybe spending 3 hours in public transit time to go to Koreatown would be worthwhile.

Scott Z September 14, 2022 - 9:56 pm

My vote is Manhattan Beach. Love the downtown, beach and pier. 10 or 15 minutes from LAX.

DaninMCI September 15, 2022 - 6:13 am

Santa Monica isn’t as safe as it used to be but I’ve gone to the beach there a few times.

LAX is one of a few major airports that is very walkable to nearby hotels and restaurants (like In-and-Out). You can literally walk up Century Blvd to many hotels and restaurants. I’d try to get a day room if you have a true 8 hours there. 8 hours in a lounge is pretty boring at LAX. Just walk out the end of Terminal 1 on the NE corner of the airport and follow the flight crews and business passengers walking that way.

Remy September 16, 2022 - 3:32 am

When we were getting ready to leave the US, we had a few hours to drop our cat off near LAX. We were able to get a friend to give us a ride from the airport to the pet hotel (where kitty stayed until he was cleared to fly out a few days later), and then we got dinner at Benny’s Tacos (nostalgic from my LMU days and very close to the airport) before catching our flight to New Zealand. For a longer layover, you might also want to check out Manhattan Beach (The Local Yolk was a favorite spot for brunch).


Leave a Comment