America's Most Convenient Airports

As in the real estate market, when it comes to airports it’s all about location, location, location. Airports close to the city center are great for tired travelers who just want to get to their destination, drop off their bags, and flop on the bed after a day of flying. The last thing you want after deplaning from that cross-country flight where you got stuck in the middle seat is to get stuck again, this time in an hours worth of traffic heading to downtown (we’re looking at you JFK & Dulles).

The following is a list of major US airports with the most convenient travel times from the airport arrivals hall to downtown.

Major US Airports Closest to Their City Center

For this list, I looked at the distance from curbside at arrivals to either downtown or some similar destination of interest.  All the major airports listed are within 8 miles of the city center and have about a 15-minute or less drive time to downtown. While some airports offer various modes of public transportation to the city center, this list is geared towards those hailing a cab or an Uber in order to get to the city as fast as possible.

Boston Logan International – BOS

3.1 Miles from Arrivals to City Hall Plaza

Taxi cost: One-way from $19-24
Uber cost: $10-14

Located in East Boston, Logan Airport is just across the harbor from downtown Boston. Callahan tunnel which runs under the harbor will get you to the city’s North End or City Hall Plaza in under 10 minutes. From there you can visit historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, take a walk on the Freedom Trail, or have an authentic Italian dinner on Hanover Street all before your ears adjust from the change in altitude. 

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Washington DC Reagan National –DCA

3.6 Miles from Arrivals to Washington Monument/The National Mall

Taxi cost: One-way from $15-18
Uber cost: $8-13

Located in neighboring Virginia, Washington’s National Airport is just a quick ride over the Potomac before you start to see the sights and sounds of the nation’s capital. A short 3.6 miles separates the airport’s arrival hall from the middle of The National Mall where you will be smack-dab in the center of Washington DC’s famous monuments, parks, and museums.

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San Diego International – SAN

3.0 Miles from Arrivals to Downtown

Taxi cost: One-way from $17-21
Uber cost: $7-11

Travelers to San Diego can count themselves lucky flying into the airport formerly known as Lindbergh Field. Situated only 3 miles northwest of downtown, San Diego International is one of the closest airports in America to its respective city center. Popular areas in the city like the Gaslamp Quarter and Convention Center (especially when Comic-Con is in town) should only take visitors about 10-15 minutes via taxi or Uber after exiting the airport.

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Las Vegas McCarran International – LAS

3.5 Miles from Terminal 1 Arrivals to Caesar’s Palace/ Las Vegas Strip

Taxi cost: One-way from $22-26
Uber cost: $19-25

Originally on the outskirts of the city, McCarran Airport has had the benefit of the city coming to it because of all the recent growth and construction happening in Vegas. Depending on where you stay, you can get from curbside at the arrivals to your hotel on the Strip in around 10-15 minutes. Getting to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas will take a little longer (around 20 minutes) but with the majority of visitors staying on the Strip, Las Vegas McCarran is one of the most convenient airports in the country.

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Honolulu Daniel K Inouye International – HNL

5.2 Miles from Arrivals to Aloha Tower/Downtown

Taxi cost: One-way from $28-35
Uber cost: $18-23

With one of the most beautiful approaches for landing, Honolulu International Airport also has one of the most convenient locations of all US airports. Downtown Honolulu is just a smidge over 5 miles and around a 12-minute drive from the airport. The popular tourist area of Waikiki is only about 9 miles from the airport but beware that traffic cutting through downtown can stretch those 9 miles into a much longer ride depending on the time of day. 

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Dallas Love Field – DAL

7.0 Miles from Arrivals to Dealey Plaza

Taxi cost: One-way from $15-18
Uber cost: $8-11

What’s not to love about flying into Dallas? Probably choosing DFW as your arrival airport, which is about 25 miles away from the city center. Home to Southwest Airlines, Dallas Love Field is just 7 miles north of downtown Dallas and much more convenient for travelers visiting the Big D. Fliers arriving at Love Field can expect a 15-20 minute ride from outside of baggage claims to their destination downtown Dallas.

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Charlotte Douglas International – CLT

7.0 Miles from Arrivals to Charlotte Convention Center

Taxi cost: One-way from $22-27
Uber cost: $9-13

Situated 7 miles due west of downtown, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a bit further afield than some other airports on this list, but CLT makes up for that with its convenient road network. From the airport, all you have to do is take a straight shot down Route 74 and in 15-minutes time you will be in the heart of the Queen City. After that speedy ride into town, you should feel right at home going around and around the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte with all the extra time you just saved.

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Salt Lake City International – SLC

7.5 Miles from Arrivals to Downtown

Taxi cost: One-way from $22-27
Uber cost: $9-13 

Fliers arriving at Salt Lake City only have a 12-minute ride on Interstate 80 East before they exit off to downtown.  Nestled next to the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City International is also a convenient airport for those who enjoy winter sports with resort areas like Snowbird and Park City located 45 minutes away from the airport terminals.

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Phoenix Sky Harbor International – PHX

4.6 Miles from Arrivals to Downtown

Taxi cost: One-way from $16-20
Uber cost: $8-12

Serving as a major hub for two airlines, American and Southwest, Phoenix Sky Harbor International not only provides convenient flight connections it also provides a convenient connection for travelers heading to downtown. Located just over 4 miles from the center of town the Sky Harbor “megahub” is roughly a 10-minute cab ride to popular destinations like Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks or Talking Stick Resort Arena which is the home court of the Phoenix Suns NBA team.

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Header photo courtesy of "stockphoto mania" via Shutterstock.

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