9 Cool Things to Do Near JFK Airport (in 2024)

Have you found yourself with a layover at JFK Airport and you’re contemplating how to make the most of your time there?

If you have some time to kill, then why not think creatively and embark on a new adventure?

The area near JFK Airport is full of treasure troves; all you need to do is find what experience you desire to live and you are all settled.

In today’s guide, we’ve done our research to present you with the best things you can do near JFK Airport during a layover or flight delay.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it!

9 Things to Do Near JFK Airport During a Layover

There are a plethora of amazing things a traveler can do near JFK Airport during a layover.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) isn’t just a point of arrival or departure.

It is nestled in Queens, New York, offering proximity to a variety of exciting attractions and hidden gems that can turn your layover or stay in the area into an unforgettable adventure.

We understand you might be a little overwhelmed, that’s why we’ve created a well-curated list starting with no other than visiting Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

1) Visit Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a remarkable natural haven and a prime location for observing both seasonal bird migrations and resident species.

As stated on its site, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest bird habitats in the northeastern United States and owes its existence to the vision of Robert Moses, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner, who created it in the 1950s.

The operating hours are as follows:

  • Refuge trails and parking lots are open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The Visitor Center welcomes guests on Friday-Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Visitor Center is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Address: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 175-10 Cross Bay Blvd, Queens, NY 11693, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 6.5 miles from JFK Airport

2) Discover the beautiful Queens Botanical Garden

Following up, you should not miss out on exploring the beautiful Queens Botanical Garden, featuring various themed gardens, walking paths, and innovative educational programs.

This unique site features various gardens including rose, bee, herb, wedding, and perennial gardens, and unique pathways the majority of which are paved and flat making it an excellent destination for visitors with disabilities.

Opening times:

  • April-October: Tuesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • November-March: Tuesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission from April 1-December 15:

  • Free admission for members
  • Adults: $6
  • Seniors (age 62+): $4
  • Students w/ID: $4
  • Children (age 4-12): $2
  • Children (age 3 & under): free admission

Admission from December 16-March 31:

  • Completely free for everyone

Address: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St, Queens, NY 11355, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 7.7 miles from JFK Airport

3) Visit the Queens Zoo

The Queens Zoo is an 18-acre wildlife sanctuary nestled within the picturesque Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens, New York City.

The zoo focuses on showcasing American animals in their natural habitats, boasting over 75 species of animals native to the Americas.

Not only that, but the zoo also offers educational programs, including the Advanced Inquiry Program, where visitors can deepen their understanding of wildlife conservation.

Opening times:

From November 5, 2023 – March 28, 2024

  • The zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

From March 29 – November 2, 2024

  • Monday- Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Weekend & Holidays: 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


  • Adults (12 & up): $9.95
  • Children (3-12): $6.95
  • Seniors (65+): $7.95
  • Children (2 & under): Free

Address: Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th St, Queens, NY 11368, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 8 miles from JFK Airport

4) Go back in time with the King Manor Museum

The King Manor Museum is a historic house museum dedicated to Rufus King, a signer of the United States Constitution.

This museum preserves King’s legacy and early American life in Jamaica, Queens through annual festivals, family programming, concerts, and workshops.

Tours on the half-hour:

Tuesday-Saturday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (reservation encouraged but not required)

Sunday and Monday: closed

Address: King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY 11432, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 3.3 miles from JFK Airport

5) Enjoy the interactive exhibits of the New York Hall of Science

The New York Hall of Science, also known as NYSCI, is a science museum located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

NYSCI offers interactive exhibitions, programs, and activities for all ages and interests, making it an ideal place to visit either solo or with your family during a long layover.

Regular hours:

Wednesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Community hours: Friday: 2 – 5 p.m.

General admission:

  • Adults: $22
  • Children, Students, Seniors: $19

Address: New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 8.5 miles from JFK Airport

6) Stroll around the Fantasy Forest Carousel Park

Fantasy Forest Amusement Park, located at the Flushing Meadows Carousel, is Queens’ only amusement park.

It provides a variety of amusement rides and games and is located in the heart of the historic Flushing Meadows-Corona Park beside the Queens Zoo and Hall of Science.

The park is open from Monday to Sunday with varying hours.


Fantasy Forest does not charge an admission fee and All guests are free to enter the park.

If they want to, they can purchase individual rides and game tickets at the ticket booth.

Address: Fantasy Forest Carousel Park, 5351 111th St, Queens, NY 11368, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 8 miles from JFK Airport

7) Have a blast at Green Acres Mall

Green Acres Mall was built in 1956 and was one of Long Island’s first open-air malls.

It is an indoor shopping center that offers over 150 stores, plus a variety of eateries and free parking.

Whatever your lust is from devouring special meals to going shopping, this is your chance to explore.

Opening times:

  • Monday – Saturday: 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.
  • Sunday: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Address: Green Acres Mall, 2034 Green Acres Mall, Sunrise Hwy, Valley Stream, NY 11581, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 5 miles from JFK Airport

8) Enjoy the fun side of Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach, often referred to as the “Irish Riviera” because of the large Irish American population in the area, is a neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula in the New York City borough of Queens.

If the weather favors your plans, you can simply head to this amazing beach, which is the perfect spot for surfers of all levels and enjoy the sand and water.

Address: Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY, USA

Proximity to JFK Airport: 8.8 miles from JFK Airport

9) Visit the legendary Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is an iconic skyscraper in the heart of Manhattan, New York City.

It is a unique landmark, renowned for its Art Deco architectural style.

If you find yourself with a longer layover, then you should undoubtedly give it a go, since it’s an experience of a lifetime.

There is an admission fee to access the observation decks. Prices may vary depending on whether visitors choose to go to the 86th-floor deck or the 102nd-floor deck.

If you choose to go to the main deck, the 86th-floor observatory, you can expect prices starting at $44 for adults, $38.00 for children, and $42.00 for seniors.

Opening times:

Opening times can vary depending on the month.

For instance, from February 17 – March 8, the opening times are from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Address: Empire State Building, 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001, United States

Proximity to JFK Airport: 14.4 miles from JFK Airport

Getting Around JFK Airport

Getting around JFK Airport is generally easy since there are numerous options to choose from.

JFK Airport is well connected to the NYC Public Transportation Network.

Travelers can easily leave JFK Airport and go back to it, through transport options such as train, bus, and car.

For instance, passengers can take the AirTrain, to conveniently move between terminals.

The AirTrain lines usually loop around all terminals, before carrying on to either Jamaica Station or Howard Beach.

Another option is to use free shuttle buses that JFK provides and which circulate within the airport, connecting terminals and parking areas.

If you’ve come this far you might wonder what will happen with your luggage, if it’s to explore all of these magnificent places to the fullest.

Dragging around your heavy bags with you isn’t a piece of cake.

So, let’s see right away how to store your luggage near JFK Airport!

How to Store Your Luggage Near JFK Airport 

A pain point that travelers often have to deal with is finding a safe place to store their bags near JFK Airport while immersing themselves in the cool adventures we mentioned earlier.

That’s where we’re stepping in!

At Stasher, we’ve partnered with hotels, cafes, and local shops, in over 890 cities worldwide to cater to the needs of every traveler, looking to safely store their luggage for a few hours or days.

Let’s walk you through the simple step-by-step process of how to store your bags near JFK Airport with the help of Stasher.

After selecting JFK Airport, you need to choose the date or dates and the amount of bags that you’ll carry with you.

Next, all you have to do is press the search button and a map will be presented to you along with the available nearby hotels, Airbnbs, shops, etc.

Moving on, you can choose the desired place to store your bags (we call them “Stashpoints”) and then press the “book” button.

Up next, it’s time for your checkout; move forward with your payment and you are good to go!

Quite simple, right?

Stasher is super easy to use and store your bags and you can book a location either through our platform or app in under 2 minutes!

Go ahead and give it a go yourself in the interactive demo below.

At this point, if you feel that Stasher is the best fit for you, you can simply head over to our homepage or download our app for Android or iOS, and store your luggage anywhere with Stasher!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Some frequently asked questions that travelers often have regarding JFK Airport are as follows:

How far is JFK Airport from Manhattan?

JFK Airport is approximately 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Manhattan.

The travel duration can vary depending on the means of transportation and traffic conditions.

Which city is JFK Airport in?

John F. Kennedy International Airport is located in the borough of Queens in New York City.

How can I store my luggage at JFK Airport?

There are several options for luggage storage at JFK Airport, but if you aim for flexibility, less money spent, and safety, you can store your luggage in trusted hotels and shops near the airport from £6.89 per bag with Stasher.