When it comes to New York airports, you’ve got options. Whether you’re taking a domestic flight arriving at Newark, or coming in from overseas to JFK, this guide will give you the 101 on the 3 major airports of NYC, and how to navigate getting to and from them on your next vacation.
With NYC being the most populated city in America at just shy of 8.5 million residents, it’s no surprise that there are multiple airport hubs. Each option has its own pros and cons, and we’ll dig in to those below.
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John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Address: Jamaica, Queens, New York
The most famous of New York’s airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) - originally known as Idlewild - was named after the eponymous president following his assassination in 1960. As its official title suggests, JFK is the primary international airport, serving as a major transport hub connecting millions of overseas visitors to NYC and America every year.
Serving almost 100 airlines, JFK has six terminals, arranged in an ‘O’ shape and connected by the AirTrain system. Interestingly, the terminals are actually numbered 1–8, but Terminal 3 and 6 were demolished in 2011 and 2013.
Getting to the city: JFK is located about 16 miles (26km) south east of Manhattan. The cost of airport transfers with a taxi or Uber to or from the City will cost anywhere between $55-80 depending on your flight time and traffic conditions at the time.
There are several options to shuttle to or from the airport by public transportation, which all take between 1-1.5 hours from Manhattan. A city navigation app such as Google Maps or Citymapper will show you the fastest route, depending on your time of travel.
Note, unlike London Heathrow or other international airports, there isn’t a direct train to JFK from Manhattan or Brooklyn. You will need to take a train or subway to Jamaica, then purchase a ticket for the AirTrain from there.
For peace of mind, book a private transfer from JFK:
Pro Tip: Find out more information about JFK including flight departure and arrival times at www.airport-jfk.com
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Address: 3 Brewster Rd, Newark, NJ 07114
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is the second largest and is favored as a hub for domestic and business travelers. Getting to the city from Newark (or vice versa) can be a breeze - taking as little as 25 minutes door-to-door by car if you’re arriving or departing on an early flight. However, it’s a big ‘if’: you should expect most journeys with New York traffic to take around 50 minutes to an hour.
One of the drawbacks of Newark when you’re traveling to or from New York Newark Airport to city by car is that because you’re crossing a state line you may need to pay extra tolls or surcharges.
Like JFK, there is no direct train to Newark from New York. However, New Jersey Transit connects travelers from midtown Manhattan and Newark Airport in a few steps. From Penn Station, jump on either the Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast lines. The train journey itself will take around 30 minutes and cost $13 per person.
Alternatively, the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) service connects Manhattan to New Jersey. Take the PATH train to Journal Square station, where you can pick up the Newark Airport Airtrain directly.
Pro tip: For peace of mind, book a private transfer to or from Newark:
Fun fact: United Airlines operates all flights out of Newark’s Terminal C, and even runs a secret, invitation-only restaurant called ‘CLASSIFIED’ for its premier loyalty status customers.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Address: Queens, NY 11371
Though lesser known to out-of-town tourists, LaGuardia Airport is actually closest to Manhattan, located just 8 miles away from Midtown.
New York’s third-busiest airport, LaGuardia is a popular option for domestic travelers and has recently gone through a major redevelopment of its facilities - set to be completed in 2021.
Getting there If you’re staying in uptown or midtown Manhattan or Northern Brooklyn (Williamsburg or Greenpoint), LaGuardia is certainly the closest option. By taxi or Uber, the metered fare averages $25, plus tolls and tips cab and you should be able to get to the airport in less than 30 minutes, depending on traffic and your location.
Like JFK and Newark, LaGuardia can be tricky to get to using public transportation. In fact, there aren’t any trains, direct or non-direct to this airport and you’ll need to take a bus. Again, we recommend consulting Citimapper or Google Maps to recommend the correct route for you, depending on where you are traveling to or from.