Updated: May 21, 2015
New York Airports MapsWhere are the airports in New York? Which New York airport is closest to Manhattan? Which New York airport should I fly into? New York City is served by 3 major airports: Newark International Airport, JFK Airport (also known as Kennedy Airport), and La Guardia Airport. Newark Airport is actually located in New Jersey, across New York Harbor to the west. JFK is located southeast of New York City, out on Long Island, while La Guardia is the closest, also on Long Island slightly east of the city. Most people going to New York are actually going to Manhattan, which is an island connected to these other areas by bridges and tunnels. There are no airports actually on Manhattan (lots of skyscrapers though!). Which is the best New York airport? La Guardia is closest to Manhattan, but all three are close and convenient enough to be used interchangably for the most part. Check out the map below to get an idea where everything is:
On the map below, you can see Manhattan in the middle. On the west side two tunnels get you under the Hudson River to New Jersey - the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel. Further north the George Washington Bridge crosses the Hudson -- those are the 3 options for getting to New Jersey by vehicle. The east side of Manhattan has many bridges of various sizes connecting it to Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens, the most famous being the Brooklyn Bridge.
Getting from JFK airport to Manhattan is pretty simple. JFK is about 15 miles from NYC as the crow flies. Most people opt for a taxi for the 50-60 minute ride to midtown Manhattan. Cost is about $35. If you are a local subway user, the New York City Transit Authority Howard Beach Subway station is served by an airport shuttle, and the A train ride to Manhattan is about 90 minutes (NOTE: subways from this area not recommended for tourists - take a cab, bus, or van). Express Shuttle USA and New York Airport Express are two companies that run van and bus service from the New York airports into Manhattan. Cost is about $15 per person, so if there are 3 or more of you, a cab will be cheaper, faster, and a lot easier. Kennedy airport is large, with 9 terminals serving all the major airlines. For information on New York airport shuttles, check out nyairportservice.com. If you are travelling with children under 12, they ride free with a paying adult. Limousine service is another option if you don't spending a bit more - expect to pay $100+ for limo service.
Newark Airport and La GuardiaAs noted before, Newark International Airport is actually located in New Jersey, and is the furthest from Manhattan, though still less than 20 miles from Manhattan. Cab fare from Newark to midtown Manhattan is just over $50 and takes about an hour. Expect a wild cab ride. All the cab drivers seem to avoid the main thoroughfares like the plague, and instead take dozens of snaking back roads to get up to the Lincoln Tunnel. Consider it a local guide to the lovely city of Newark, which you would probably not be brave enough to see on your own (and you wouldn't miss much).
La Guardia handles mainly domestic flights. It is about a 20-40 minute cab ride from La Guardia to midtown. Cabfare is about $20-$30. Express Shuttle USA and New York Airport Express both offer van and bus service from La Guardia to NYC - cost is about $10, and buses run every 20-30 minutes.