Hour to Kill: In-N-Out and plane spotting by LAX

Have an hour to kill near LAX? Down a Double-Double underneath the final approach of a parade of 747s.

There's no denying it: LAX is a mess. We're not sure who actually enjoys driving to that horseshoe-shaped automotive hell (seriously, fly in and out of Burbank instead). Inevitably though, we find ourselves stuck in traffic on Sepulveda, cursing our decision to not take a FlyAway shuttle. If you can spare some extra time on either end of a flight, you can make the experience borderline fun thanks to a runway-adjacent park and a beloved burger. Whether you're waiting for a friend to land or starved after an interminable flight, the In-N-Out near LAX and the park across the street are amazing places to suck down a milkshake as jumbo jets thunder overhead.

Good for: Avoiding endless loops around LAX or the hard-to-find cellphone waiting lot. Oh, and the chance to see the underside of a jumbo jet just above the treetops. 
If you're going to: LAX, unfortunately.
For that moment when: You arrive at LAX in the middle of rush hour.
In case you're hungry: In-N-Out Burger, of course.
Getting there: The park is located just outside the northeast edge of LAX. If travelling south on Sepulveda, turn right onto 92nd St. If travelling north, turn left on Westchester Pkwy and left again on Sepulveda Westway. You'll find one-hour street parking as well as limited In-N-Out parking.
Photograph: Michael Juliano

Click through to see some of our photos from an afternoon spent plane spotting.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

The park—which as far as we can tell has no official name—is unremarkable on its own. But it's the perfect spot to picnic (à la In-N-Out) and plane spot.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

While you'll see plenty of plane spotters, the crowds flock here because of what's across the street: an In-N-Out that's open until one in the morning. For many travellers with a layover, this is their chance to bite into some of that Double-Double magic.

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

If you're bringing out-of-town friends or family to the airport, we can't think of a more efficient way to check In-N-Out off of their LA to-do list.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

Back in the park, you'll see the planes approaching from the east. Depending on where you're standing those billboards may block your view initially.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

And then before you know it, a 737 whips by at 150mph. Expect to see a plane every 3 or 4 minutes during peak arrival times.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

Relax under the trees if you want some shade, but they'll make plane spotting particularly difficult.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

The park is literally down the street from LAX. Though you may have to circle the block a few times for street parking, it's infinitely more exciting than the cellphone waiting lot.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

It's hard not to feel a childlike giddiness as the planes rip by just above the treeline.

Photograph: Michael Juliano

Bring a camera along with you. When else can you see airborne planes this close up?

Photograph: Michael Juliano

If there's one downside, it's the potent wake of plane exhaust. The smell, we can tolerate. The unknowable lasting side effects to our health? Eh, we'll take our chances.