Take a Look Inside the Airport Named Best in North America

It's held the number-one spot for five years in a row.

01-step-inside-the-airport-rated-best-in-north-america-Courtesy-Indianapolis-International-Airport-ftCourtesy Indianapolis International AirportEvery year, the Airports Council International rates the best airports in the world by size and region. In North America, the Indianapolis International Airport stands up above the rest, winning top in the continent for six of the past seven years. The only slip in its streak was in 2011, when it was “just” second in the region. (Check out the airport rated best in the whole world, too.)

ACI bases its ratings on customer satisfaction, and if you fly into Indianapolis, you’ll see why it got such high marks. You’ll be blown away immediately by the stunning art throughout the airport. The terminal has a collection of 37 works of art by 17 artists, almost half of whom have Indiana ties. Plus, IIA updates its installations every few months with new artwork from Central Indiana artists.

02-step-inside-the-airport-rated-best-in-north-america-Courtesy-Indianapolis-International-AirportCourtesy Indianapolis International AirportWhile waiting for your next flight, might as well charge your phone. No need to sit still when you’ll be on a plane for the next few hours, though. The airport has “human-powered” charging stations where the outlets only work if you work the pedals attached. (Use this map to learn airport Wi-Fi passwords at IIA and around the world.) It’s like fitting in a SoulCycle class while you scroll through Instagram. No matter where you’re stuck, learn how to make the most of a layover.

If you need a bite to eat, you won’t be stuck with refrigerated sandwiches and fast food burgers. There are plenty of local Indianapolis eateries, like Indianapolis 500 Grill, Shapiro’s Delicatessen, Naked Tchopstix, and Cafe Patachou. Learn what nutritionists call the healthiest things to eat an an airport.

Indianapolis International Airport even houses its very own bee farm. Honey bees—which are crucial to helping crops and other plants pollinate—are dying out, so IIA is working to protect them. The apiary also educates the community and trains beekeepers. (In your own backyard, plant these 5 flowers that help bees thrive.)

04-step-inside-the-airport-rated-best-in-north-america-Courtesy-Indianapolis-International-AirportCourtesy Indianapolis International AirportBees aren’t the only way the airport is helping the environment, though. Before you land, you’ll probably notice something weird about the airport. What are the weird rectangles on the ground? Indianapolis is home to the world’s biggest airport solar farm. Every year, the solar panels generate enough electricity to power more than 3,650 homes for a year.

03-step-inside-the-airport-rated-best-in-north-america-Courtesy-Indianapolis-International-AirportCourtesy Indianapolis International Airport

Flying is never fun, but Indianapolis makes it a little more pleasant. If you aren’t flying through IIA, read up on these 16 airport mistakes to make your next flight go more smoothly.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.