Your guide to LAX

LAX is not everyone’s favourite airport. Its nine terminals always seem to be under renovation.  Luckily the unveiling of some big changes in the past few years has helped LAX slowly start to claw back its reputation. Believe it or not, there's actually a lot to love about LAX.

Drinks and dining

You’ll find very good seafood at James’ Beach at Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), Sealegs Wine Bar (T2) and Slapfish Modern Seafood Shack (T2) and sushi fans will be pleased with Luckyfish (TBIT) and Chaya Sushi (TBIT). Hamburgers are de rigeur at LAX and Built (T2) is very well regarded, while Barney’s Beanery (T2) and The Habit Burger Grill (T6) are both LA institutions. For something a bit different, try ink.sack (TBIT) for customised sandwiches, cold fried chicken, spicy tuna, bahn mi, Maryland-crab chips and barbecued pork rinds. III Forks Steakhouse (TBIT) is the place to go for a fine cut of beef and a great wine list. Cantina Laredo (TBIT) and Border Grill (TBIT) are known for Mexican-style home cooking and Pick Up Stix (T2) is a Chinese favourite. For fine wines head to Vino Volo (TBIT) and for cocktails and clever martinis, try Drink.LA (TBIT).

Catching ZZZs

You won’t find many options for a comfy sleep inside LAX. Most of the seats have armrests but there is a lot of carpeted real estate if you’re inclined. On the upside, LAX is serviced by quite a few good quality hotels just minutes away. All offer day rooms subject to availability and are serviced by regular airport shuttles. The Hyatt Regency is the closest and probably the nicest but you’ll also find comfortable lodgings at the Sheraton Gateway, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard and Travelodge.

Most of the airline lounges at LAX offer pay-at-the-door access for their Economy Class passengers. These carriers include Virgin America, American Airlines, Alaskan, United and Qantas, which prices its passes at AU$69. Certain major credit cards also provide access.

Retail therapy

LAX is a Westfield airport so it’s no surprise there is plenty of shopping to be had. Top-end merchants Emporio Armani, Bvlgari, Coach, Hugo Boss and Porsche Design are all at TBIT. You can pick up LA-centric casual wear at Fred Segal (TBIT) and M.Fredric (T6) and assuage your desire for American chic at Michael Kors (TBIT). More proud Americana is available in the form of souvenirs, gifts, apparel, accessories and pop culture at America! (TBIT). Multiple DFS outlets (various) offer duty free goodies including alcohol, jewellery, watches, sunglasses, handbags, leather goods and travel accessories, as well as high-end boutique wares from Gucci, Burberry, Hermes and more. And you can get your gadget fix at the iStore (TBIT), Brookstone (T1), eSavvy (T2), InMotion (T2) and Belken (T6).

Long layover?

Blow away the jetlag, or see to your mani/pedi requirements, at ExpresSpa (TBTI) and Be Relax (T2) or take a long walk and see the temporary art exhibitions and installations at 11 sites throughout the airport. The best sports bars with big screens, ballpark tucker and brewskis are Scoreboard LA (TBIT) and Rock & Brews (T1). If you have a long layover, consider a sight-seeing tour of Santa Monica Beach and its famous pier, Hollywood or an LA hop-on, hop-off bus tour.

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