If you’re flying into NYC or flying out of NYC, you’re wondering which NYC airport is best to fly in or out of. As an NYC native (and I fly quite a bit!), I’m always thinking about which NYC airport to choose for my trip.

If you are a visitor coming to NYC, it’s a challenge to figure out the difference between the three major NYC airports. What are the benefits of each NYC airport and what should you know about them all? Follow me through this guide, for a local’s point of view.

What to know about all of the international airports in New York City

NYC has three airports because NYC is very big. Learning about them is essential for what to know before traveling to NYC.

JFK (John F. Kennedy International Airport) is a huge international airport located at the southeastern edge of NYC in Queens, right where Queens (NYC proper) meets the border with the rest of Long Island, NY. To figure out if JFK is best for your flight, consider if you’re okay with taking a very long subway ride to where you are staying, having someone pick you up, or taking a rather expensive taxi ride into Manhattan.

LGA (LaGuardia) is a smaller (mostly domestic) airport with 2 recently-redone terminals. The other terminals are dated and old. LGA is located at the northwestern end of Queens, close to Elmhust and Astoria. It is the closest airport to Manhattan. It’s good to consider if being near Manhattan is best for your flight, and if you are flying domestically.

EWR (Newark International Airport) is a huge international airport located 25 minutes west of Manhattan. It is in New Jersey. EWR is ideal if you’re staying in Manhattan, or especially if you’ll be based in New Jersey during your trip. Newark Airport is not located on the NYC subway, but it is easily accessible via NJ Transit commuter train. This makes it a great airport to choose if you wish to travel by mass transit and avoid taxis, Ubers and Lyfts!

Helpful Tip

Planning your trip to NYC soon? Use our insider guide to the best and worst times to visit NYC so that you know before you go. If you’re wondering is NYC safe? Well, we got you covered there as well.

How many airports are there near New York City?

Three: JFK, LGA, EWR. Four, if you count Stewart Airport (located 60+ miles north in Upstate NY).

How many international airports are there in New York City?

Three: All NYC airports (JFK, LGA and EWR) are international. (Four, if you count SWF upstate: it’s also international, despite its small size.)

Which airport is the best airport to fly into New York City?

It will depend on where you’re staying, and how you wish to travel. I frequent all three NYC airports.

What is the closest airport to Manhattan?

LaGuardia (LGA) is the closest airport to Manhattan. From Times Square, LaGuardia Airport is about 10 miles away. Don’t be fooled by the short distance: in rush hour traffic, it could take you an hour! Without traffic, it’s 20-30 minutes.

Are there any airports in Manhattan?

Nope! There are no major domestic nor international airports in Manhattan.

Which is the worst NYC airport?

It depends on what you think “worst” means. If “worst” means busiest, it could be any of them. If “worst” means oldest with the most dated facilities, it depends.

Which NYC airport is best for red-eye flights?

If you have a red-eye flight into NYC, you should be fine if arriving to any of the three airports. My top choices of entry into NYC would probably be Newark, so that I could hop the first NJTransit train of the day around 5 am toward Manhattan. It depends where you are staying or going.

If arriving into LGA or JFK in the wee hours of the morning, you will still be able to get an Uber, Lyft or yellow cab. They are available all day and night, just potentially with more wait time. I suggest taking note that that mass transit in NYC never closes (except NJ Transit trains), but the subway and public buses will run much less frequently (i.e. 30 minutes between subways or buses).

Pros and Cons of LaGuardia International Airport (LGA)

Some pros: LGA has some terminals with great facelifts! Terminal B is beautiful. Terminal C is even newer, having opened in 2022. It’s the Delta Terminal.

When you depart from LGA, you’ll find a few good food options, lots of places to fill your water bottle, some airport lounges and standard airport stuff.

Is LGA (LaGuardia) a good airport?

Yes, LGA is a good airport for domestic flights in and out of New York City. Terminal B and Terminal C are brand new.

LGA is also a good airport to use if you’re staying in (or living in) the East side of Manhattan. I’d recommend LGA if you plan to stay in any part of Manhattan.

What’s the difference between LaGuardia and JFK?

LaGuardia is much smaller than JFK. It is closer to Manhattan. It serves more domestic flights than international flights.

Which airport is the closest (international) airport to Manhattan?

LaGuardia is the closest international airport to Manhattan. By “international,” this means Canada, Aruba and the Bahamas. You can’t fly to any other international destination from LaGuardia.

What’s parking like at LGA?

You can park hourly, or for a day or get premium parking at LaGuardia! Visit the LaGuardia Parking website to book a spot.

Lounges at LGA

LGA has a perk in that the Chase Sapphire Lounge opened in 2024 in Terminal B, and according to the Points Guy, it’s the nicest in the entire airport. While LGA doesn’t have a gigantic number of lounges, there are a few, and you can see more details at LoungeBuddy.

Can I take mass transit or the subway to LGA?

There is no NYC subway access to LaGuardia Airport. If you plan to be taking the subway during your trip or utilizing a weekly MTA MetroCard, keep this in mind.

Although there is no subway at LGA, there is public bus access. The M60 and Q70 buses go to LaGuardia. I suggest using GoogleMaps to map your trip. I suggest leaving a lot of time if you plan to take the subway and then transfer to a bus for arriving at LGA.

Can you get Lyft and Uber at LGA?

Taking a Lyft or Uber home from LGA now has a designated area for “ride-share apps.” Within the app, it will give you a small range of areas to stand to wait for your ride. This system helps keep things organized and prevents people clumping together all waiting for their specific car.

You can call your ride-share (Uber, Lyft, etc.) a few minutes before because once you exit the airport. The pick-up area isn’t big, and if you follow signs, it is simple.

I have a local tip: a huge airport mistake to avoid is getting in any unmarked car outside any airport in NYC with someone who’s telling you he can give you a great rate to Manhattan or to your hotel. Use this guide to safety in NYC for how to avoid the most common scams in New York City.

Pros and Cons of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

Everyone loves and hates JFK International Airport in New York City. It has a set of pros and cons.

A “pro” is that it is gigantic, with a lot of shopping, dining, airport lounges and transit options. If you arrive via the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) or NYC subway, be prepared to get on the AirTrain monorail that makes stops at all the terminals. Be prepared to know exactly where to go so that you do not miss your stop or parking lot station.

A “con” is that it is huge, overwhelming and far. Taxis to JFK are always expensive. The subway ride to get there is LONG.

Is JFK a good airport?

JFK is an efficient airport. It is very big, a lot of terminals. It handles hundreds of daily flights and thousands of international air passengers.

Which is worse: JFK or LaGuardia?

Worse is a subjective term here: LaGuardia is smaller, and closer to Manhattan, and JFK is bigger, and located at the edge of NYC, likely not close to where you will be staying unless you’re venturing into Long Island or visiting family/friends in Queens.

Much of both LaGuardia and JFK are dated, confusing and/or overwhelming, but neither is worse than the other.

What’s parking like at JFK?

Parking is en masse at JFK, and there will be lots of options. You can park at JFK for as little as 30 minutes or you can do long-term parking for the length of your trip. That may add up quickly.

Parking rates at JFK’s many airport parking lots are competitive, though. For self parking, you may be paying as little as $5.75 a day, which is pretty crazy, given the price of everything in New York City. You may want to directly access the JFK website parking info site.

Can I take mass transit or the subway to JFK?

You can take the E train up and over to Jamaica, Queens, or the A train to Howard Beach. After arriving, get on the AirTrain ($5) to your terminal. It comes every few minutes.

Are there any airport lounges at JFK?

Speaking from personal experience, we’ve been to the Wingtips Lounge at JFK. We visited this lounge with our Priority Pass memberships, which get us into airport lounges around the world all for one annual fee. If you’re looking to get into airport lounges around the globe, we totally recommend this.

Pros and Cons of Newark International Airport (EWR)

Newark Airport is located in northeastern New Jersey right outside Manhattan. It is perfectly fine to fly into EWR and hop right to NYC via the NJTransit train. I recommend downloading the NJTransit app, for local convenience.

A “pro” of flying into EWR is that if you are staying in Hoboken, Jersey City or other parts of northern NJ, you will undoubtedly want to fly into Newark Airport. A “con” is that if you are staying in Brooklyn or Queens, it is more of a journey to get there.

Is Newark Airport a good airport?

In my opinion, yes, it is! I find that going to EWR via NJTransit trains is simple. Newark Airport is another huge international airport that services all of NYC and the metro area with flights to anywhere in the world.

Newark International Airport is also an easier airport to get to if you’re already staying in (or living in) neighborhoods on the west side of Manhattan. Some of these would be Harlem, the Upper West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Columbus Circle, Midtown West or Chelsea. From any of these, you can take the A/C/E or 1/2/3 trains to NYC Penn Station (33rd St) to get on the NJ Transit trains to Newark Airport.

Another plus about Newark Airport is that Terminal A is brand new as of 2023, and (relative to other airports) is a joy to be in and fly out of.

How long does it take to get from Newark Airport to Times Square?

Not long. The train ride itself from EWR Airport station to NYC’s Penn Station at 33rd St is a whole 28 minutes.

Note, however, that this does not include walking off your flight at your gate, grabbing your bag, walking through the airport to the AirTrain monorail and then walking from where your train arrives in Penn Station to Times Square, if that’s really where you are going.

Helpful Tip

Overwhelmed with all the logistics of flying into Newark for your New York trip? Book a safe and easy airport transfer from EWR to NYC, for when you arrive. Book here.

Is EWR (Newark Airport) the closest airport to the Manhattan cruise terminal?

Kind of. Newark Airport and LaGuardia are sort of a tie game depending on when your train comes, or how bad traffic is.

In a perfect world:

  • LGA would take 22 minutes by car to the Manhattan cruise terminal (no traffic).
  • EWR would take 28 minutes by car to the Manhattan cruise terminal (no traffic).
  • LGA would take 1 hour and 6 minutes by mass transit to the Manhattan cruise terminal (with perfect timing making all your flight connections).
  • EWR would take 1 hour and 15 minutes by mass transit to the Manhattan cruise terminal (with perfect timing making all your connections).

What’s parking like at EWR?

Parking at Newark Airport is really affordable, starting at $4 per half hour and daily rates starting at only $18! Parking at EWR is competitive and rather convenient. Without further ado, we direct you to the pertinent information at the Newark International Airport Parking Info Site.

As an update (yay!), we parked our car in short-term parking at EWR’s Terminal A for four days. The Terminal A parking is (believe it or not) kind of wonderful, as far as airport parking goes. The reservation process was fairly straightforward, with your options set out once you enter in your departure date and the time at which you need parking, along with your return date and a (very liberal) time until which you’ll need parking.

What I did was start the reservation several hours before we even planned to be at the airport, just in case we wanted to go early (which we did!), and then I ended the reservation six hours after our flight was due in, to account for delays. I was proud of this, and thought it was really smart.

Terminal A parking at EWR is new and clean, as of 2023. It is easy to navigate and safe. We entered with a QR code received in the email reservation, and drove into the multi-level garage. There are clear signs pointing toward the elevators, and the airport Departures level is on floor 2 via a skybridge. I had been nervous about the whole thing, but it was easy.

Can I take mass transit or the subway to EWR?

You can take mass transit (just please note that the subway does not go to EWR, and neither does the PATH train). You can take the subway to Penn Station at 33rd St in Manhattan to start the trip. Then, take any of the NJ Transit trains that have a little airplane icon next to the train departure on the departures boards at Penn Station (my local tip is to look for the airplane emoji in the departures tickers).

To make this simpler, use Google Maps! Make sure that your directions don’t involve buses, because you do not need to take any buses to get to Newark Airport from Manhattan. Taking an NJ Transit train from Penn Station is only about five stops.

The best tip I can give is to NOT get off at Newark Penn Station: this is crucial, because it will come first if you’re riding your train from Manhattan. Make sure you get off the train at Newark International Airport, which will be the second station that starts with the word “Newark.”

A fun fact is that Newark International Airport is actually smack between the city of Newark and the city of Elizabeth, NJ! It’s not actually in the center of Newark, so getting off your train in the city of Newark won’t work.

Idea for families: For how to plan a trip to NYC with a baby, without a car rental, I suggest flying in and out of EWR. You can avoid the need for a taxi or Uber when you simply take NJTransit to/from Manhattan.

Are there any airport lounges at Newark Airport?

Speaking from experience, I’ve been to the United Lounge (Terminal C), the new United Lounge (Terminal A) and also the Art & Lounge in Newark Airport.

For the Art & Lounge, remember to always have your Priority Pass membership up to date in order to get into an unlimited number of airline lounges around the world, including this one.

For the United lounges, maybe you’ll choose to get in with a United lounge pass (I had a few from my United Mileage Plus credit card). The United Lounge in Terminal C is not terribly memorable, but got the job done for a snack, WiFi, an outlet and a bathroom before my flight.

The United Lounge in Terminal A (new as of summer 2023) is absolutely fantastic. There is a plethora of nice seating, including single-seat booths for using a laptop and doing work. We sat in the section near all the food, and enjoyed the lunch buffet (the ratatouille was very good), seltzer on tap, blueberry lemonade, salad bar and WiFi.

Pros and Cons of Stewart International Airport (SWF)

Stewart Airport (SWF) is an airport north of New York City; it is located in Orange County, New York. It is not in NYC. Stewart is 67 miles north and over an hour drive from NYC.

The “pro:” If you’re starting your trip in upstate NY or if you are flying JetBlue or Frontier, you may see choices for Stewart Airport when booking your flight. If you are planning a trip upstate like to the Catskills or Hudson Valley region, this is great because you will not have to deal with carrying your luggage all around NYC while trying to get to your final destination.

Stewart Airport is sort of close to Westchester County, and could work for your trip, depending on where you are going.

The “con:” If you are flying out of SWF and you have been staying in NYC, watch out: getting there could take longer than you expect. Make sure to check the train schedules so you know how long it will take for you to get to Stewart Airport. Also, consider that weekend and holiday schedules are different from weekdays, for northbound Metro North trains.

My tip: Using Google Maps, you can set your arrive-by / depart-by settings, and it _should do a good job of updating the holiday (comparable to weekend) schedules._