8 Places to Check Out at LAX After You’ve Checked-In

The “most checked-in” airport in America is full of people—and hidden delights

Last weekend, the app Swarm (one of Foursquare’s apps) had its biggest day ever with 7 million check-ins around the world. That’s a lot of people letting other people know where they are! And according to the tech company, there’s an L.A. icon among most frequently tagged locations in the app: our love-to-hate it airport. In fact, LAX is the most checked-into airport in America. Apparently other people love to announce they’re at a place that some Angelenos avoid like the plague.

Swarm’s big day got us thinking about the airport and its points of interest. There are plenty of things to do at the nearly 100-year-old travel hub. Here are eight:

Charles D. Kratka’s Mosaic Tiles
Perhaps the most iconic site at LAX, Kratka’s tiles have become popular because they’ve starred in many films and television shows. The tiles can be seen in Terminals 3, 4, and 6 and, if you want to take some home as a souvenir, they are available in sock form.

Before Republique was on La Brea, there was Campanile, the popular restaurant from Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton that helped shape modern L.A. cuisine. While the flagship concept has shuttered (taking with it their very excellent Grilled Cheese Night) you can taste what it was all about in Terminal 4.

If travelling makes you stressed, be on the lookout for dogs roaming the airport in search of travelers they can calm. The PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers) aim to enhance your flight experience before you ever board your flight.

The Theme Building
The Theme Building is the big round thing in the middle of LAX. It was formerly the home of a spacey restaurant called Encounter, which sadly closed down a few years ago. The Building may be a little difficult to access, given the constant swirl of drivers picking people up and dropping them at the airport, but it is a must-see for lovers of midcentury design. Bonus points for you if you can find the 9/11 memorial on the grounds.

Noshing on food with local history is a nice way to say goodbye—or hello—to L.A., and you can do that at the satellite Cole’s in Terminal 4. They serve craft cocktails, spicy pickles, and—of course—French Dips. The only thing missing is a backroom dive bar.

Three Forms to Incite Rain: LAX has a rotating roster of artworks that is hard to keep track of. One piece that should be on display in the Tom Bradley International Terminal for the next month or so is Incite Rain by Duane Paul, a sculptural installation consisting of wooden knots of desire representing our collecting wish for the drought to end.

Kogi Truck
A Kogi Truck is parked in Terminal 4. Don’t say you can’t enjoy the best street food L.A. has to offer in the last seconds you’re in town.

Hangar One
This Spanish-style site provides an idea of what LAX once was. Located in the Southeast zone of the airport and now a historic landmark, Hangar One was the first structure built on the airfield. It’s currently a cargo facility but it is accessible by car.