airport shops

MSP: 5 Things We Love About Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Our ‘5 Things We Love About…” series celebrating features and amenities at airports around the country and the world lands today at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

MSP sits on land that, back in 1914, was home to Snelling Speedway.

Auto racing gave way to airmail service and Speedway Field. In 1923 the airport was renamed Wold-Chamberlain Field in honor of two local pilots who lost their lives in combat during World War 1.

The airport’s first passenger service was in 1929 and in 1948 the MSP acquired its current name: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Please keep in mind that some of the amenities we feature here may be currently unavailable due to health concerns. We’re confident they’ll be back.

5 Things We Love About Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

1. Award-winning restrooms at MSP

Clean bathrooms are an important airport amenity. Add art and an airport’s bathrooms can become something people talk about and give awards to.

That’s what happened when several sets of MSP restrooms were remodeled to feature stunning artist-made mosaics and the latest in cleaning technology.

In 2016, MSP Airport won first place in an annual contest that crowns America’s best public restroom. That was the first time an airport loo won the award.

2. The arts program at MSP

In 2019, MSP airport presented more than 900 live music and dance performances.

MSP also has permanent public art installations and temporary art exhibits in both terminals. MSP also hosts an annual art show that features work by MSP employees and their families.

This summer, local authors began online readings from their books and Once the pandemic is over, the plan is to have monthly readings in the art gallery in the Airport Mall in Terminal 1.   

3. The Prince store at MSP


The late musician Prince is a beloved Minnesota-born icon.

In addition to a giant 16-foot-by 24-foot mural of Prince by artist Rock Martinez, MSP airport also has a Prince store in Terminal 1 where fans can buy all sorts of Prince-branded merchandise.

4. Minnesota’s Tallest Escalator is at MSP

MSP’s newest parking ramp partially opened in early August with a new attraction: Minnesota’s tallest escalator.

The escalator is 55 feet tall, travels about 100 feet per minute and is capable of transporting 9,000 people per hour.

The ride – up or down – takes 1 minute and 15 seconds.

All rental car services, off-airport parking shuttles and all bus services are in the new Silver Ramp.   


5. Animal ambassadors at MSP

98 therapy dogs – and a therapy cat named Stitches – serve as animal ambassadors at MSP airport, helping reduce travelers’ stress.

Bonus: The hotel at MSP Airport

MSP Airport has a hotel located between the inbound and outbound roadways at Terminal 1 with direct access to Concourse C via a skyway.

The 291-room, 12-story Intercontinental MSP Airport has two restaurants, a cocktail bar, a TSA checkpoint (currently closed due to COVID), a fitness center, a thermal pool, and a collection of work by local artists.

One thing MSP Airport does not have is an aircraft viewing area with an outdoor pool.

That was a great April Fools Day joke from 2018 that we’re still wishing might come true.

Did we miss one of the amenities you love at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)?

If so, please leave a note in the comments section below.

And be sure to take a look at the other airports in our “5 Things We Love About...” series.

Closer look at Jewel Changi Airport

World’s tallest indoor waterfall at Jewel Changi Airport-photo Harriet Baskas

I’ve been in Singapore this week checking out – and experiencing – the new pre-security attraction at Changi Airport called ‘Jewel‘.

Housed inside a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) glass and steel structure designed by noted architect Moshe Safdie, the Jewel attraction sits next to Terminal 1 on a piece of land that once housed a parking lot.

Inside there’s a lush four-story tiered garden, more than 280 retail and dining outlets, a Yotel short-stay hotel, and a multi-screen IMAX theater. But the attraction’s centerpiece is without a doubt the 140-foot-tall Rain Vortex that is now the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

A few ticketed activities in Jewel’s ‘Forest Canopy’ will open in June, including a 164-foot-long glass-bottomed bridge, nets for bouncing and walking above the forest, mazes, topiary sculptures and more.

Shopping galore

In addition to global brands such as Adidas, Coach and Levi’s, Jewel’s many shopping venues include a good number of new-to-market shops.

There’s the first Pokémon Center outside of Japan, shops selling gift foods and plenty of Singapore brands, such as In Good Company (clothing) and Supermama (design and crafts items).

Gift by Changi Airport carries many specially-made Changi Airport-themed items, including the airport’s signature orchid, spice and plant-sourced scent and work by sought-out local artists.

From Shake Shack to fine dining

Dining options in Jewel Changi Airport range from fast-food to fine dining and include cuisines from Asian to Western. Singapore’s first Shake Shack (with unique to Singapore menu items) is here as are numerous cafes that offer ‘outdoor’ dining with a view of Jewel’s forest and waterfall.

Bonus amenities for travelers

Many passengers have long layovers at Changi Airport or have many hours to wait between hotel check-out time and late-night flights.

For those passengers Jewel has early check-in counters, bag storage facilities and a pay-per-use lounge.

But the best bonus amenity by far is the YotelAIR hotel.

The newest in the Yotel chain of “cozy” in-city and airport hotels, the YOTELAIR in the Jewel Changi Airport has 130 cabin-sized short-stay rooms.

Each room has its own shower and toilet, TV, WiFi and a space-saving ‘Smartbed’ that can change positions at the push of a button.

There’s a gym for guests, but during my four-hour stay I discovered that the best part of this YOTELAir is the patio that sits out front. It was a perfect, private spot to have a coffee, gather my thoughts, view the waterfall, the forest and all the shoppers going by.

Photo – Harreit Baskas

Opening rates at the YOTELAIR are S$140 (about $103 US) for overnight  stays in a Premium Queen Cabin and S$80 (about $59 US) for day stays of four hours. (Shower-only packages will be S$20 – about $15 US).

PHX Sky Harbor Airport celebrates new concourse

The newly named John S. McCain III Terminal 3 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) now has a new South Concourse and post-security lobby area with 15 gates and all new shops, restaurants and amenities.

The area offers passengers lots of light and great view of Phoenix’s desert landscape as well as power at most every seat, a new state-of-the-art Delta Sky Club, a children’s play area (the PHX Play-Viation Park), a nursing room and an animal relief area.

Public art installations feature a colorful terrazzo floor by Arizona artist Teresa Villegas as well as Donald Lipski’s “Aviators” which are giant sunglasses on the wall of the arrivals atrium.

Retail includes national brands, such as Johnston & Murphy and Sugarfina, as well as locally-linked venues such as Best of the Valley and Travel Outfitters. Mosaic includes artwork by Phoenix and Arizona-based artists, and Indigenous pays tribute to Southwest Native American tribes and offers jewelry and crafts.

Dining options include Shake Shack and Panera Bread as well as chef Mark Tarbell’s Tavern, James Beard award winner Christopher Gross’ Christopher’s and other local favorites that include The Parlor (pizza and pasta), SanTan Brewing Company and Mustache Pretzels, which serves mustache-shaped pretzels (and dips), including the Nutstache, with salted caramel and topped with crushed peanuts, walnuts, almonds and filberts.

Terminal 3 serves Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Sun Country and is being updated in phases.

There’s one more phase to completed: the renovation of the North Concourse, which will add all new shops, restaurants and customer amenities. That phase is slated to be completed in 2020.

Travel tidbits to start 2019

Easing into 2019 by catching up on some newsy item.

Last week United Airlines announced it was bringing back the sweet stroopwaffel on flights.

Besides being a nice sweet snack to have with a cup of coffee, the stroopwafel offers passengers something to do: United tells passengers to warm up the stroopwafel by taking it out of the package and setting it on top of their coffee.

On New Year’s eve, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport offered travelers a silent disco in the bag claim area.

Had we known this was on the agenda, the airport disco would have made our list of Best Airport Amenities of 2018.

Going forward, the folks at 10Best have teamed up with Airport Experience News (AXN) to ask travelers to weigh in on some of the best airport amenites in North America.

Categories include Best Airport Bar, Best Airport for Dining, Best Airport for Shopping, Best Airport for Local/Regional Dining – and more.

Cast your vote – once a day through January 28 – here.

Here at StuckatTheAirport.com we have some favorite airports and airport amenities, but we’re always on the lookout for airport offerings that are brand new.

What amenities do you hope to see at airports in 2019? Let us know!

You can (and maybe should) do your holiday shopping at the airport


I have it on good authority that Santa grabs a lot of last minute gifts in airports shops, just like so many of us time-pressed travelers. 

Need some ideas?  Here’s a version of a column I put together for CNBC that highlights great gifts you can find at airport gift shops around the country. 

To get you started, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, SanFrancisco International and Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport have put together gift guides highlighting unique items for sale in their terminals.

As the holidays get nearer, community groups will staff complimentary gift-wrapping tables (donations encouraged) in many airport terminals. So no one will be the wiser when you show up with a lovely wrapped gift you bought on the fly.   


Pendleton from Portland 

(2_ Pendleton store at Portland International Airport. Courtesy Port of Portland)

Oregon-made products to pick up at Portland International Airport range from parachuting DB Cooper action figures ($4.99)and Moonstruck Chocolate’s dark chocolate bar honoring the iconic PDX airportcarpet ($12) to woolen scarves, throw pillow, shirts, Native American-inspiredblankets and co-branded Waterstone rain boots at the Pendleton shop. Bonus: PDX has street-pricing and there’s nosales tax in Oregon.

Dainty candy from Detroit

The Frivolous shop at Detroit Metropolitan Airport lives up to its promise of being filled with “wonderfully unnecessary” gift items. Consider candy ‘coal’ and dainty boxes of raspberry gummi candies ($7.99) or brightly colored, fully functional retro push-button phones ($69.99).

Craft beer six-packs

A bottle of wine from any of the more than two dozen Vino Volo airport locations would make a lovely gift. At Nashville International Airport, travelers can pick up six-packs of bottled craft beer to go at the Tennessee Brew Works kiosk and at Yazoo! Brewing or 4-packs of 16-ounce cans at Fat Bottom Beer Brewing. 

The recently opened NoDa Brewing at CharlotteDouglas International Airport offers mix-n-match four packs of cans to go, with signature beers such as Coco Loco and Hop, Drop ‘N Roll.

Channel Seattle with flannel -or soap

Sleepless in Seattle” nightshirts($32.99) are still available at airport shops in Seattle, even though the film is now 25 years old. The Sub Pop retail shop carries some of record company’s cool clothing line, including a $65 “Fremont Flannel.” And, at Made in Washington, Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix is honored with PurpleHaze Lavender soaps ($9.99)

Crabs from Miami International Airport

Some Legal Sea Food branches at Boston’s Logan Airport will pack live lobsters to go, while at Miami’s International Airport, fresh Florida stone crabs can be packed for gift giving at Prive Gourmet Market or at My Ceviche.

Presents for pets and their people

At Phoenix Sky HarborInternational Airport (PHX), Connections (T4) sells Arizona Gourmet Doggie treats ($6.99), while Mosaic (pre-security T4) offers a wide range of fun dog-themed refrigerator magnets ($5.95).

Cute pet toys from BarkBox, which are usually available only by subscription, are for sale this season at numerous airport Hudson shops, including in Phoenix; Fresno, Los Angeles, San Jose, SanFrancisco, Orange County and Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle; andMinneapolis-St. Paul.

Vended treasures

Roeland Park, KS USA – October 13, 2017: zim’s 2017 Product Line

One great thing about doing holiday shopping at airports is that the stores open very early and close super late. Another plus: you can now find SouveNEAR’s vending machines stocked with locally-made gifts and craft items in Oakland International Airport (OAK), Kansas City International Airport (KCI) and NewarkLiberty International Airport (EWR; Terminal A).

Eko Kreations has napkins embroidered with California wildflowers (set of 4; $45) in theSouveNEAR machine at OAK, bottles of Zim’s Hot Sauce (set of 2, 3-oz bottles,$11) are available at KCI, and a tin filled with 10 scented mini soaps from OohLa La Petite Boutique is available at EWR.

Celebrity treatment at LosAngeles International Airport 

A gift membership($4,500; not including per flight fees) or a one-time visit ($2700 – $4,000) to ThePrivate Suite at Los AngelesInternational Airport is a luxury splurge sure to impress.

The private terminal has its own security and customs/immigration screening as well as individual suites for guests with bathrooms, food pantries, daybeds and runway views. Suite-to-aircraft transportation (in BMW 7-Series sedans) is included.