May 1, 2024 - Travel

D.C. airport lounges: What you can eat, drink, and do during a layover

A woman stands behind a desk, with a sign reading "Capital One Lounge."

Capital One Lounge at Dulles. Photo: Courtesy of Capital One

There are plenty of airport lounges in the D.C. area, catering to travelers who want to kill time in style and comfort.

Why it matters: As travel booms post-pandemic, lounges are becoming more popular and amenity-packed.

Yes, but: Double check before trying to get in: Many of these spots are limited to specific tiers of fliers or credit card holders, or require an entry fee.

A bar lined with bar stools.
Capital One Lounge's bar. Photo: Courtesy of Capital One


✈️ Capital One Lounge: The midcentury-style lounge is inspired by the airport's architecture, featuring shower suites with Dyson hair dryers, a parents' room stocked with diapers, and work by local artists.

  • For eating and drinking: Local goodies like Chantilly's River-Sea Chocolates, a signature cocktail from Bresca's beverage director, a custom-brewed lager from Ashburn's Lost Rhino Brewing, and a coffee bar with on-tap La Colombe cold brew, and drip coffee from Virginia-based Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Company.
A dining area with a bar along the back wall.
The dining area and bar at United's Polaris Lounge. Photo: Courtesy of United Airlines

✈️ United Polaris Lounge: Find quiet suites with daybeds and white noise, soundproofed workspaces and shower rooms, and art by local fave Maggie O'Neill — plus you can get your clothes washed and dried or pressed.

  • Hang in the restaurant-style dining area, serving locally inspired dishes like a Virginia cheese plate, or a burger with Mambo sauce and Old Bay fries, plus beer from regional breweries.

✈️ Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse: The groovy, Austin Powers-esque interior has a dining area serving plates like an heirloom tomato burrata salad, tom yum soup, or housemade ice cream that changes with the season (summer options include blueberry goat cheese and ginger vanilla). You'll find a seasonal cocktail menu, too.

  • Plus — showers!

Ronald Reagan

✈️ American Airlines Admirals Club: D.C.-core design abounds in the newly refreshed lounge — think a stone entryway mirrored after the monuments, Capitol dome-shaped quiet spaces, and a VIP room for political bigwigs inspired by the Library of Congress.

  • And peep the DMV-inspired, complimentary cocktails — an Old Bay Bloody Mary and an Orange Crush.

✈️ Delta Sky Club: Order from a rotating food lineup (recent picks include mesquite barbecue chicken and deviled egg salad), or head to the bar to check out the American whiskey menu and seasonal cocktails.

  • Don't forget to look up — there's a cherry blossom-inspired chandelier.

Plus: Don't feel like springing for a full-on lounge? At BWI, Minute Suites lets you rent a small room with a desk, daybed, TV, sound blocking, and personal thermostat for napping or working pre-flight.


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