Readers Choice

10Best Readers' ChoiceChosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    #10 - Sacramento International Airport - SMF

    More than a dozen major public art pieces were commissioned for Sacramento International Airport’s (SMF) new Central Terminal B in 2011. However, Lawrence Argent’s 56-foot-long, aluminum red rabbit sculpture, titled Leap, grabs the most attention. Frozen mid-jump in the Ticket Hall, the rabbit appears to be headed towards a hole in the giant suitcase on the floor below. 

    Photo courtesy of Robert Couse-Baker

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    #9 - Chicago O'Hare International - ORD

    Besides the four-story-high, 72-foot skeleton model of a Brachiosaurus dinosaur in Terminal 1, Concourse B, the most iconic installation at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is Michael Hayden's The Sky's the Limit.  The often-photographed, mile-long kinetic light sculpture is located in the tunnel connecting Concourses B & C.  

    Photo courtesy of ChicagoAtNight

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    #8 - Austin-Bergstrom International - AUS

    Much of the artwork at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) reflects the local and regional landscape, history and culture. That includes the vibrant music scene, which is celebrated in part with a collection of eight ten-foot-tall guitars in the baggage claim area, commissioned by Gibson Guitars and decorated by local artists.

    Photo courtesy of Denise Mattox

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    #7 - Albany International Airport - ALB

    New York’s Albany International Airport (ALB) has no permanent works of art in its collection, but its many gallery spaces and exhibition cases stay filled with the work of local and regional artists and loans from area museums. Among the works on indefinite loan is Flying Fish, by Lillian Mulero, which turns a ten-foot, round concourse window into an aquarium.

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    #6 - Mineta San Jose International - SJC

    As befits its Silicon Valley location, when Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) rebuilt Terminal B, it installed forward-thinking, high-tech temporary and permanent artwork.  For instance, Björn Schülke’s Space Observer, a 26-foot-tall sculpture sitting on 8-foot-tall legs that both captures and displays images from its surroundings.  

    Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson

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    #5 - San Francisco International - SFO

    The only U.S. airport with an accredited museum program, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has a growing collection of permanent public art pieces.  Among the selection is Every Beating Second by Janet Echelman, and twenty galleries offering a rotating schedule of art, history, science and cultural exhibitions. 

    Photo courtesy of San Francisco International Airport

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    #4 - Pittsburgh International - PIT

    Highlights of the artwork at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) include Pittsburgh, a giant mobile by Pennsylvania-born artist Alexander Calder that floats over the airside central atrium, and an Andy Warhol exhibition. Included are prints, photos, memorabilia and wallpapers linked to the Pittsburgh-born artist, on loan from the city’s Andy Warhol Museum. 

    Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh International Airport

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    #3 - Philadelphia International Airport - PHL

    Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has a robust program of temporary exhibitions and permanent work. Included is the crowd-pleasing Impulse, by Ralph Helmick and Stuart Schecter, in Terminal A – West. The piece features over 6,500 cast models of bird species suspended on 5,302 cables. Altogether, they appear to lift into flight and transform from a waterfowl into a passenger jet. 

    Photo courtesy of Philadelphia International Airport

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    #2 - Albuquerque International Sunport - ABQ

    In addition to its temporary exhibitions, Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) has a 113-piece art collection of paintings, sculptures, pottery and other items displayed inside and outside of the building and in the rental car facility. Highlights include Dream of Flight, a monumental bronze sculpture by Lincoln Fox, and a 1914 Curtiss biplane. 

    Photo courtesy of City of Albuquerque Public Art

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    #1 - Denver International Airport - DEN

    Denver International Airport(DEN) has changing exhibits and over two dozen artworks created specifically for the building. Leo Tanguma’s mural, Children of the World Dream of Peace, has generated some fanciful conspiracy theories, but everyone gets a giggle from Gary Sweeney’s America, Why I Love Her, which celebrates family vacations and roadside attractions. 

    Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport.

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Denver Takes 1st Place

9 other US airports also win in readers' poll

The eyes have it, or at least they have it made, in Denver and 9 other U.S. airports, all of which are winners in our Readers' Choice contest for Best U.S. Airports for Art.  

The 10 Winners in the 'Best U.S. Airports for Art' Readers' Choice contest category are as follows:

  1. Denver International Airport - DEN
  2. Albuquerque International Sunport - ABQ
  3. Philadelphia International Airport - PHL
  4. Pittsburgh International - PIT
  5. San Francisco International - SFO
  6. Mineta San Jose International - SJC
  7. Albany International Airport - ALB
  8. Austin-Bergstrom International - AUS
  9. Chicago O'Hare International - ORD
  10. Sacramento International Airport - SMF

Congrats to all our winners!

Be sure to check out the other contests which are currently live for voting, at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/.  

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The Experts

Harriet Baskas

Harriet Baskas writes about airports and air travel in the monthly "At the Airport" column for USAToday.com Travel and on her blog StuckatTheAirport.com.

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