Things to do in New York City When Your Flight is Delayed

New York City has three of the country's busiest airports. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes, because of weather conditions, mechanical issues or even just congestion, flight delays are inevitable. So what should you do in NYC when your flight is delayed? Certainly, you can stay at the airport and enjoy one of the (always improving) restaurant choices. You can do a little shopping at the airport shops. Or you could leave the airport altogether and take advantage of some much better options, as described below.

La Guardia Airport (LGA)
Although La Guardia Airport is only a 15-minute cab ride from Manhattan if there is no traffic, I don't recommend going that far, since traffic conditions can change quickly, and if you are stuck in a jam, the ride could take many, many times longer than that. It is better to stay closer to the airport, where you can do any of the following:

Play golfThe Randall's Island Golf Center is a good spot to practice your swing at their double-decker driving range. They also have a miniature golf course, so you can work on your short game, too. And don't worry about bringing clubs—you can easily rent what you need.

Attend a Mets game Citi Field, the baseball stadium where the NY Mets play, is so close to the airport that the roar of the crowd is often drowned out by the roar of jet engines during a game.

Explore a museum The key attraction of the Queens Museum of Art is the model of New York City called "Panorama of the City." Over 890,000 buildings are presented in the largest architectural scale model in the world.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
JFK is only 12 miles east of Midtown Manhattan, but there is often so much traffic that the trip can take more than an hour. Instead, I recommend that you head south to Coney Island where you can:

Ride a rollercoaster The famous Cyclone and the rest of the Luna Park rides and amusements are sure to keep your mind off the hassles of your delayed flight.

Walk along the boardwalkIn almost all weather, a stroll along the Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk is a pleasant way to spend some time.

See some sea lifeMust-sees at the New York Aquarium include the shark feeding, the Beluga whales, and Sea Cliffs, home to penguins, walruses and seals.

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
As with the other two NYC-area airports, it's best to stay close to Newark Airport even if your flight is delayed for several hours, because traffic conditions can easily cause traveling to NYC to take more than an hour in either direction. Thankfully there are a couple of nearby entertainment options:

Play the ponies – The Meadowlands Racetrack hosts both thoroughbred racing and harness racing.

Visit Newark's Ironbound Section – The Ironbound District in the city of Newark is home to some wonderful Portuguese restaurants, so enjoy a really good meal while you are waiting for your flight.
Victoria Otto Franzese is a proud New Yorker who owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. See where she'll be going next at @VOFranzese.