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There’s a lot of reasons why an airport will find itself closed down and deserted. One big reason may just be it’s outlived its usefulness. For example, it’s possible air traffic may have outgrown the size or placement of that airport and that can mean that airport will be replaced by one that is new, and likely larger. So what happens to an abandoned airport? In some cases, they are reused in fun and interesting ways. Here are 7 that have been reborn and are very much worth visiting!
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TWA Hotel: New York City
From 1962 to 2001, the TWA terminal at JFK delighted traveling architecture and design buffs. Howard Hughes, who led TWA at the time, had commissioned Eero Saarinen, a celebrated Finnish-American architect, to create the mid-century modern masterpiece. However, the airline ended operations in 2001, and in 2019, the TWA Hotel was opened in the space. The complex now features TWA museum exhibits, a mid-century cocktail bar crafted out of a plane, the TWA Flight Center, and hotel rooms with views of JFK’s runways. Book the hotel through Orbitz to experience it yourself.
Kai Tak Airport: Hong Kong
Kai Tak Runway Park
Kai Tak Airport was Hong Kong’s international airport for more than seven decades and was one of the world’s most famous airports before closing in 1998. While the main airport building was on land, part of the runway was in the sea, making it one of the world’s most difficult airports for pilots to land. Kai Tak sat abandoned for years before a cruise terminal was opened on the site of the runway in 2013. Behind this cruise terminal is also a public park named after the airport, KaiTak Runway Park, including the newly opened and aviation-themed KaiTak Sky Garden. Nods to its previous life as a runway are everywhere, making it a must-see for aviation nerds.
Curtiss-Wright Hangar: Columbia, SC
The time to catch a flight out of the Curtiss-Wright Hangar in Columbia has passed, but it’s still possible to enjoy a “flight” because the hangar is now a brewery! Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Alehouse at the Hangar opened in late 2017 and now a hangar once used by people like Jimmy Doolittle and Amelia Earhart offers a great place to sip local brews. The brewery currently includes a taproom, production brewery, event space, kitchen, and an upstairs rooftop deck.
Much like Hong Kong, this airport was famously the “city airport” of Berlin. Tempelhof closed in 2008 and has since become Tempelhofer Feld Park, a public park that occupies more than 355 hectares, and boasts numerous activities like inline skating, flying kites, barbecuing, and dog walking, as well as the Luftgarten beer garden.
Doña Ana County Airport: Santa Teresa, NM
Just outside El Paso, the War Eagles Air Museum found its home in a former hangar at Doña Ana County Airport in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Before becoming a museum, the hangar was actively used to store aircraft. The modern version of the museum houses 36 World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam-era aircraft along with 49 classic automobiles from all over the world.
Stanley Marketplace: Denver, CO
Aerospace company Stanley Aviation once sat right near the site of the original Denver airport’s main runway. Today the space is Stanley Marketplace, a community of vendors and retailers offering food, fitness, retail, a brewery, and more. Its doors open onto a former runway. The largest venue is The Hangar at Stanley, a former airplane hangar and now an events space—feel free to tie the knot here!
The Hangar at LBX in Long Beach
The Hangar at Long Beach Exchange
Created out of a former hangar at Long Beach International Airport, the aptly named Hangar at the Long Beach Exchange (a sprawling shopping and dining complex with a runway vibe) is now a food hall and home to more than a dozen artisanal food vendors and boutiques. In a nod to its past, the space sports large-scale images of aviation icons like Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh on the walls.
Tagged: Asia, California, China, Colorado, Denver, Europe, Germany, Los Angeles, New Mexico, New York
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