Flight delays and cancellations can dampen your travel spirit. But travelers can change that killing time with a mini excursion outside the airport.

But which cities are worth the jaunt, and where should you just stay put after suffering flight delays and cancellations? 

Lawn Love ranked 128 U.S. cities served by the busiest airports to determine 2023’s Best and Worst Cities for Long Layovers.

“We looked at each city’s share of delayed and canceled flights and average departure delay time. We also searched for cities that are easy to navigate, especially from the airport, and offer plenty of fun things to see and do without breaking the bank,” Lawn Love stated in a press release. 

Check out the 10 best (and 10 worst) cities for long layovers according to Lawn Love below:

Best Cities for Long Layovers

1 New York, NY

2 Chicago, IL

3 Los Angeles, CA

4 Houston, TX

5 Miami, FL

6 Las Vegas, NV

7 Dallas, TX

8 Boston, MA

9 Philadelphia, PA

10 Orlando, FL (TIE)

10 San Francisco, CA (TIE)

Worst Cities for Long Layovers

1 Hilo, HI

2 Kailua Kona, HI

3 Kahului, HI

4 Anchorage, AK

5 Fairbanks, AK

6 Lihue, HI

7 Kalispell, MT

8 Billings, MT

9 Chattanooga, TN

10 Spokane, WA

New York, Chicago and Los Angeles

kate_sept2004 | Getty Images

New York at No. 1 has high delay rates, with the fifth-longest average departure delay.

Chicago (No. 2) has the most delayed departures and the third-highest share of canceled flights.

You can expect relatively more punctual flights in Los Angeles (No. 3), but if you’re delayed, you’ll have plenty of attractions to occupy your time. If getting back to the airport in time isn’t worth the risk, LA has the second-highest number of airport lounges.


Quick excursions

When it’s not packed for spring break, you can find a comfortable place to stay overnight in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (No. 16), which has the most accommodations in Lawn Love’s ranking. If you’re stranded in The Grand Strand, there are also plenty of attractions outside the airport. 

You might be more likely to get caught up in a snowstorm in Northern cities like Burlington, Vermont (No. 26), or Portland, Maine (No. 14), which have the highest shares of canceled departures. Their airports are fairly close to the city center, so you can easily take a short drive to check out these charming cities. 

Distant destinations

If you’re traveling to or from the Pacific,  cities in Hawaii have the lowest rates of cancellations and delays. Hilo (No. 128) boasts the timeliest flight record in Lawn Love’s entire ranking. You’re not likely to encounter a long layover in Hilo, Kailua Kona, and Kahului, which descended to the very bottom of Lawn Love’s ranking. 

Alaska isn’t far behind. Anchorage and Fairbanks both landed at the bottom of Lawn Love’s ranking. It’s not so easy to get around these cities if you happen to experience a layover, but there are plenty of attractions to fill your spare time.