Airports with cool art exhibits

We see nothing wrong with whiling away a layover in designer shops or over a couple of cocktails. But if you're looking for something a little more highbrow, you'll be happy to know that many airports use all that wallspace to showcase art—think Rodin in Paris, Jan Steen in Amsterdam.

  • 1. San Diego International Airport

    San Diego International Airport

    Condé Nast Traveler

    Spot works from local artists in one of the San Diego Airport's four post-security gallery spaces. A few cool current exhibitions: "Trash? Look Again," a mural made of reused odds and ends that visitors to the New Children's Museum created; "Birth of the New," a series of abstract works by Kareem Ralph Amin; and "To Sit," which looks at chairs as pieces of art.

  • 2. Chicago: O'Hare International Airport

    Chicago: O'Hare International Airport

    Condé Nast Traveler

    Take a look at where you're sitting: Benches scattered throughout the airport were hand-painted by artists from After School Matters gallery37, an apprenticeship program for local teens.

  • 3. Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport

    Paris: Charles de Gaulle Airport

    Condé Nast Traveler

    A collection of Rodin works—including showstoppers The Age of Bronze and The Kiss—are on display in Terminal 2E through the end of the month. Translation: If you spent more time in Paris stuffing your face with chocolate croissants than touring museums, you can still go home with some cultural cred intact.

  • 4. London: Gatwick Airport

    London: Gatwick Airport

    Condé Nast Traveler

    Beatles fans, take note: Sir Peter Blake, the pop artist behind the Fab Four's Sgt. Pepper album art, created the paintings of London installed in Gatwick's North and South terminals.

  • 5. Amsterdam: Schiphol Airport

    Amsterdam: Schiphol Airport

    Condé Nast Traveler

    Count your blessings if you end up with a few hours to kill in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport—not only does the place have a library and an indoor park, but it also houses a satellite location of the city's famous Rijksmuseum, the first-ever airport to pull off such a stunt. The small permanent collection includes ten works from Dutch masters (Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael), plus temporary exhibits rotate throughout the year.

    More from Condé Nast Traveler

    America's Must-Eat Sandwiches

    Top 100 Hotels in the World

    Most Over-the-Top Hotel Suites

    Castle Hotels Around the Globe

    Private Island Villas Worth Blowing Your Savings On