Krista is a food writer and culinary adventurer based in L.A.
As a globetrotting food writer always on the go, I spend a lot — I mean a lot — of time at my local airport. Here are some insider tips for navigating LAXs many dining options, so you can set a delicious tone for the journey ahead.

  1. Visit any terminal
    Did you know that your same day boarding pass can get you into any terminal? That means you can dine at any restaurant at the airport. Check for a full list of what’s on offer, and then get ready to grub.
  2. Explore the LAX underground
    Fun fact: Terminals 4 through 8 are connected via tunnels and walkways, so you can go between terminals without having to muscle through another TSA checkpoint. You won’t find them on Google, but you can see them on this LAX map.
  3. Eat your veggies
    Since I know I’m going to be hitting the ground running when I arrive at my destination, I try to stick to healthier, veggie-packed, vegan-friendly airport eats like Real Food Daily (RFD) in Terminal 4 or Lemonade in Terminal 5. I love RFD’s Real Food Meal, which comes with brown rice, beans, locally grown organic greens, land and sea vegetables and my personal fave — a super delicious lime cilantro dressing.
  4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
    Another pro tip: Hydrate. Airports and airplanes really dry out your skin. RFD sells coconut water, which is a tasty option for optimal hydration. I always bring one of those handy collapsible Vapur bottles so I can fill it up inside the airport and on the road, too.
  5. Grab some street food
    L.A. is where the food truck trend truly took off, and it’s pretty fitting that we even have a rotating food truck inside the airport. This tasty trend started with the Kogi Korean taco truck at Terminal 4. The Border Grill truck spices things up with some new L.A. flavor.
  6. Give a gift of genuine L.A.
    If picking up a hostess gift slipped your mind, never fear. The Farmers Market (Terminal 5) has locally produced gifts like Sriracha-spiked spice powders and Compartes chocolates to grab before you fly so you don’t show up empty-handed. These goodies make for more personal souvenirs that really speak to L.A.’s culinary culture.
  7. Experience an only-in-L.A. moment
    If you have an extra long layover and want a breather, the In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda is ideal for plane spotting. Take the free shuttle to Economy Lot C, cross the street at 96th St. and Sepulveda Blvd., and prepare to be wowed by the incoming planes and the burgers at this SoCal classic.
  8. Never let a good layover go to waste
    Rather than seeing a layover as a waste of time, look at it as an opportunity to people watch, decompress, charge up and regroup. Revive with a pedicure from XpresSpa (Terminal 5 and Tom Bradley Int’l now, Terminal 6 soon), then treat yourself to lounge access, a steak dinner at Three Forks or caviar and champagne at Petrossian (both in Tom Bradley Int’l).
  9. Sip like a local
    If you’re after an adult beverage or two, skip the same ol’ bloody mary and go for pre-flight beer flights at Rock & Brews (Terminal 5 now, Terminal 1 soon), which features a unique selection of beers from local craft breweries. Visit Sea Legs (Terminal 2) for craft cocktails or try a classic highball at Cole’s (Terminal 4). At LAX, there really is something for everyone.