Amy Farley
September 18, 2014

Quick access to a city center via public transport makes it easy to steal away for a few hours and take in some sights—and even a meal. Here are six airports we love, all with convenient luggage storage.

Heathrow, London

Minimum layover needed for two hours in the city center: 5 hours
Travel Time to City Center: 15 to 20 minutes
How to do it: Heathrow Express to Paddington ($57 round-trip; trains every 15 minutes)
What to do: A short ride on the Tube gets you to Waterloo, where you can walk along the South Bank for views of Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Shard’s glass spire. End with a tagliolini with clams at Gordon Ramsay’s Italian-inspired Union Street Café.

Schiphol, Amsterdam

Minimum layover: 5 hours
Travel Time to City Center: 13 to 17 minutes
How to do it: Netherlands Railways to Amsterdam Centraal ($11 round-trip; trains every 7 to 16 minutes)
What to do: Rembrandt’s Night Watch and other Dutch masterpieces are a quick ride away via the GVB train system. From Centraal, take Tram 2 or 5 to the Rijksmuseum, which reopened last year after a 10-year renovation.

Dubai International

Minimum layover: 6 hours
Travel Time to City Center: 25 minutes
How to do it: Dubai Metro Red Line to Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall ($2.50 round-trip; trains every 10 minutes; no service Friday mornings)
What to do: An aquarium, an ice rink, 1,200 shops: there’s plenty to keep you busy at the Dubai Mall. Next door, the world’s tallest building, the 2,716½-foot Burj Khalifa, has a tour that whisks you to the 124th floor ($34 online; $109 at the door).

Singapore Changi

Minimum layover: 5 hours
Travel Time to City Center: 20 to 25 minutes
How to do it: Changi offers a free Singapore bus tour (five times a day) that leaves right from the airport; register in Terminal 2 or 3.
What to do: The excursion covers major sights, including the Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel, the futuristic Marina Bay Sands resort, and the 250-acre Gardens by the Bay park. There’s a stopover in Merlion Park to see the iconic half-lion, half-fish statue.

Hong Kong International

Minimum layover: 6 hours
Travel Time to City Center: 24 minutes
How to do it: Airport Express Line to Central ($23.50 round-trip; trains every 10 minutes)
What to do: From Central, it’s two MTR stops to Wan Chai, home to chef Alvin Leung Jr.’s renowned Bo Innovation. After sampling experimental Chinese cuisine, visit the nearby Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, with items dating back to the 11th century B.C.

San Francisco International

Minimum layover: 5 hours
Travel Time to City Center: 30 to 35 minutes
How to do it: BART Pittsburg/Bay Point train to Embarcadero ($17.30 round-trip; trains every 15 to 20 minutes)
What to do: Set right on the water—and just one block from the BART stop—the Ferry Building Marketplace is home to dozens of local food purveyors and restaurants. Don’t miss Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop and the recently expanded Hog Island Oyster Bar.

Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

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