Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that traveling with kids has specific challenges that can feel totally overwhelming. Add in flight delays, diversions, and long layovers and suddenly, you might find yourself wishing you’d just stayed home. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, an airport that gets what parents need can make all the difference to your travel experience.
We’ve rounded up five family-friendly airports in the United States that offer a variety of services and amenities that will help make your travels with kids a little bit easier:
Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport makes nursing easy and comfortable for breastfeeding mothers. They’ve got Mamava pods, Minute Suites and family restrooms located throughout the airport. But the best part about PHL is their year-long calendar of events, which brings local musicians and entertainers to stages throughout the airport. Their Holiday Entertainment program runs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and travelers of all ages will love the entertainment provided daily by musicians, local high school choirs and dance groups. Just Plane Fun is the airport’s entertainment program, which features tons of activities for kids to enjoy, from video gaming to story time with local authors.
Portland International Airport
For four years running, Portland International Airport was named ‘Best Domestic Airport’ in Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. It earned top marks for everything from terminal facilities and accessibility to food and entertainment. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this airport also offers great amenities for kids. The recently opened Kids’ Play Space in Concourse D near Gate D7 is meant for kids between the ages of one and six, and features sculpted foam play elements, a soft, cushioned floor and yes, seating for travel-weary parents. Perhaps most interesting and unique is the Hollywood Theatre, a microcinema (situated post-security in Concourse C) that features short, family-friendly films by local filmmakers.
San Francisco International Airport
As far as kid-friendly airports go, San Francisco International Airport has a lot to offer. It’s got a variety of restaurant options that feature kids menus (and we all know that a hungry kid is a cranky kid!) and lots of shops where you can pick up baby items—from diapers and wipes to formula and medicine. There are Kids’ Spots in Terminals Two and Three for interactive and child-friendly exploration. But even better, there are lots of educational activities to keep kids entertained. The Aviation Museum & Library in the international terminal teaches kids about the evolution of commercial aviation and there are art and cultural exhibits on display throughout the airport.
Miami International Airport
Flying through Miami International Airport? If you’re a nursing mom, you’ll be happy to know that MIA has nursing suites throughout the airport in each concourse after you’ve gone through security. For younger tykes, Plane Fun is an interactive children’s play area that just recently opened up near Gate E5 in Concourse E and is accessible from Concourse D, too. Here, kids can play in a simulated control tower, hearing conversations between pilots and tower, while younger ones have lots of room to run around and can crawl through tunnels. If you’re traveling with older kids, they may be just as excited as you are to learn that the MIA Jetsetter Spa in South Terminal H offers manis, pedis and massages. In a rush to catch that next flight? You can still get a 10-minute express manicure in South Terminal J on the second level.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is ready for you and your kids! There are mother’s rooms in Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5, where moms can nurse privately and comfortably and there are several unisex and family restrooms for easier diaper changes. There are lots of kid-friendly restaurants at ORD but your littles might most enjoy a bite to eat where they can also watch planes take off. Check out Berghoff Café or the food court, both in Terminal 1, or Chili’s Too in Terminal 3 for the best views. There’s also a ‘Kids on the Fly’ exhibit where little ones can play in an interactive and educational space, exploring airplanes, a control tower and a helicopter model. But if you really want to blow your kid’s mind, take him or her to the upper level of Terminal 1 in Concourse B where you’ll find one of the largest mounted dinosaurs in the world!