Enjoy your layover among waterfalls, Koi ponds, footbridges, and beautiful flowers and plants — all for free. Few travelers realize that there are gorgeous botanical gardens at the Honolulu International Airport. The Airport, like many hotel lobbies in Hawaii, is an open-air facility. Most people miss the gardens because the gardens are located downstairs from all the major walkways to and from the boarding gates and the directions to the gardens are not well-marked.
Visiting the gardens is a great way to enjoy your time between flights. Go to the main Airport terminal and take the stairs or the elevator one flight down. There are four different gardens, each with its own theme: Hawaiian Garden, Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, and a Topiary Garden. You can enjoy your layover among waterfalls, Koi ponds, footbridges, and beautiful flowers and plants.
There is no admission charge to the gardens, a refreshing change for most travelers. If you would like a vacation from the typically-overpriced airport restaurants, snack shops, gift shops, and bars, then take flight to the gardens. Stretching your legs for a walk or sitting quietly (with ample legroom) in the gardens after a long flight or between flights is a rare experience at any airport. Some travelers even deliberately include a Honolulu International Airport layover in their itinerary, so that they can spend an hour in these wonderful (and hidden) gardens.
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