The gallery has its roots in BWI's predecessor, Friendship Airport, where visitors could step onto an outdoor observation deck to watch the activity on the runway. Today, the gallery maintains that connection, providing an area with rocking chairs and large windows for viewing aircraft takeoffs and landings as well as a Youth Art Gallery, a children's play area, a display of airplane parts and other exhibits. "It's a nice feature for the airport and connects travelers to aviation," says airport spokesman Jonathan Dean.

Location: Upper level, between Concourses B and C

Runner-up: Thurgood Marshall Tribute exhibit, near the gallery. "I have spent many an hour perusing his life story and am always inspired," says Owens. "The well-curated display includes rare memorabilia that tell the story of his influence on local, state and national history, and his roots in Baltimore. It's worthy of a museum and truly unexpected in an airport."

Best place to relax, avoid crowds

The Meditation Room

BWI offers a meditation room. "It's in a very public area, but I think it is a relatively little-known quiet corner of the airport," says Dean.

Location: Upper level, between concourses D and E, near AirTran Airways ticket counter

Runner-up: The International Pier, Concourse E. "[It] has a certain peace and tranquillity to it early in the morning, at least as airports go," says Owens. "There are some large windows in that area and the sun streams in and gives an ethereal effect."

Best place to plug in

Southwest Airlines Terminal

"They have large, soft, cushioned, armchairs," says Gilbert. "In between each chair is a great place to plug in and get some work done."

Location: Concourses A and B

Runner-up: Who says you have to plug in? Wi-Fi is available throughout BWI's terminal for a fee.

Best place to park

(Airport) Fast Park

"We park there every time we fly," says Averella. "It is affordable: $7.40 a day, efficient and convenient. The shuttles run regularly. They also have a frequent parker card, which yields great discounts as well as free parking. We just returned from a vacation and our parking for the entire week was free due to so many frequent parking credits. They also have a free newspaper in the mornings and free water as you leave."

Location: 1718 W. Nursery Road (Blue lot)

Runner-up: BWI daily and hourly garages, which offer 11,000 covered spaces — great for parking in winter — as well as a "smart park" system that directs users to available spaces. "BWI has among the most convenient, most affordable on-airport parking of any major U.S. airport," says Dean.

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