The Road Warrior's Wi-fi Survival Guide
We scoured a dozen cities to find the most hospitable hotspots for business travelers. Here's where to log on when you're on the go.
By Glenn Fleishman

(Business 2.0) – You're in a strange city with an hour between meetings. If only you could find a place to check your e-mail. You can always hit a Kinko's, Starbucks, or UPS Store—all Wi-Fi-equipped—provided there's one nearby. But if there's not, where can you squeeze in a quick laptop session and still make it to your 11 o'clock?

That's our mission with this guide: To identify the best hotspots for the business traveler who needs to connect but doesn't know where to do it. We zeroed in on the business districts of each of the dozen cities in this listing. (For an extended guide to 20 cities, go to www.business2.com/wi-fi.) Plenty of websites list hotspots—mobile.yahoo.com/wifi is a good choice—but our directory is geared toward you. We sought out hotspots that are quiet and conducive to business, with electrical outlets, comfy chairs, and space to spread out. And we've also included a rundown of the latest Wi-Fi gear, so you're not just well-connected but also well-equipped.

NATIONAL NETWORKS AND PRICING

Wherever possible, we selected venues that charge nothing for Wi-Fi. Our listings note the hotspots that are free; those run by independent operators, which charge up to $10 a day; and those belonging to one of the large national networks, whose pricing options can be found on their websites:

[A] AT&T Wireless (www.attwireless.com/wifi)

[B] Boingo (www.boingo.com)

[T] T-Mobile (www.t-mobile.com/hotspot)

[W] Wayport (www.wayport.com)

[I] Independent/Other

ATLANTA

BUCKHEAD Apple Store 3393 Peachtree Rd. N.E. In congested Buckhead, the ample free parking at Lenox Square Mall is a major score. www.apple.com/retail Free

MIDTOWN Hotel Indigo 683 Peachtree St. N.E. Settle into an overstuffed chair in the lobby. www.hotelindigo.com Free

PERIMETER CENTER W Hotel 111 Perimeter Center W. Use the lobby as base camp for visits to nearby firms like UPS and Cox. www.starwood.com/whotels Free

PIEDMONT PARK Einstein's 1077 Juniper St. N.E. This restaurant's spacious veranda is a giant hotspot. www.einsteinsatlanta.com Free

AIRPORT Hartsfield-Jackson: Head to AirTran's Concourse C gates or the American, Delta, or United clubs. Not a member? Pick up signal just outside club doors. www.atlanta-airport.com [I]

BOSTON

BACK BAY Newbury Street 158-360 Newbury St. Cafes and bookstores all along this shopping corridor broadcast free Wi-Fi. Hungry? Try the Armani Cafe. www.newburyopen.net Free

CAMBRIDGE Hotel Marlowe 25 Edwin H. Land Blvd. For the price of a cup of tea from the restaurant, you can enjoy the Wi-Fi in this classy hotel near Harvard and MIT. www.hotelmarlowe.com Free

NATICK Morse Institute Library 14 E. Central St. Just off Route 128, this library is easy to get to and stays open until 9 p.m. www.morseinstitute.org Free

SOUTH BOSTON Seaport Boston 1 Seaport Lane This harborside hotel and conference center covers all public spaces with signal. www.seaportboston.com Free

AIRPORT Logan: Service throughout all terminals. www.loganwifi.com [I]

CHICAGO

LOOP Caffe Baci 225 W. Wacker Drive Italian specialties, fast service, and spacious seating between the Merchandise Mart and Sears Tower. www.caffebaci.com [I]

RIVER NORTH Hotel Amalfi 20 W. Kinzie St. Ideally located near both the Loop and many of the city's best restaurants and clubs. www.amalfihotelchicago.com Free

WEST LOOP Jerry's Sandwiches 1045 W. Madison St. A Wi-Fi oasis between Union Station and the United Center; the gourmet sandwiches are delicious. www.jerryssandwiches.com Free

AIRPORTS Midway: The only connection is at the AirTran gates in Concourse B. [I]

O'Hare: The American, Delta, and United clubs are all covered. For nonmembers, the strongest signals are outside the United lounges in Concourses B and C. www.flychicago.com [T]

DALLAS

DOWNTOWN Standard & Pours 1409 S. Lamar St. A cafe with good sandwiches and free copies of the Wall Street Journal. www.standardandpours.com Free

GRAND PRAIRIE Memorial Library 901 Conover Drive Ask to use one of the four private study rooms. Free

IRVING Mug Shots 1041 W. Rochelle Rd. A friendly coffee shop—and it's open late. Free

NORTH DALLAS Talenti 3314 Knox St. A cafe that's convenient to Southwest and Kinko's headquarters. Splurge on the gelato. Free

AIRPORTS Dallas/Fort Worth: Service throughout all terminals. www.dfwairport.com [B] [T] [W]

Love Field: Head to Gate 4, 7, or 8 for signal. www.dallas-lovefield.com [T]

DENVER

DOWNTOWN Tattered Cover 1628 16th St. This bookstore has a pleasant cafe and plenty of comfy armchairs. www.tatteredcover.com [I]

GOLDEN TRIANGLE Metropolis Coffee 300 W. 11th Ave. The light-roast espresso, doughnuts, and loft seating area make this a perfect spot to get work done. www.metcoffee.net Free

LAKEWOOD Jefferson County Public Library 10200 W. 20th Ave. The signal reaches the parking lot even after hours. www.jefferson.lib.co.us Free

LOWER DOWNTOWN Luna Hotel 1612 Wazee St. Snag a private booth at the Flow Lounge. www.thelunahotel.com Free

AIRPORT Denver International: Service in Concourses A, B, and C, and Jeppesen Terminal Levels 5 and 6. www.flydenver.com [A]

DETROIT

ANN ARBOR Rendez-Vous Cafe 1110 S. University Ave. The balconies at this student hangout are hotspots. www.rendezvouscafe.com Free

AUBURN HILLS Bella's Coffeehouse 3320 Auburn Rd. A quiet coffee shop near Chrysler headquarters in the northwestern suburbs. Free

GREEKTOWN Cafe de Troit 1260 Library St. A people mover connects downtown with this elegant European-style cafe. www.cafedetroit.com Free

GROSSE POINTE Atlanta Bread 19181 Mack Ave. This bakery cafe in a swanky suburb is perfect for client meetings. www.1stclassconcepts.com Free

AIRPORT Metropolitan Wayne County: Wi-Fi in both Smith and McNamara terminals. www.metroairport.com [B]

LOS ANGELES

BEVERLY HILLS Crescent 403 N. Crescent Drive The lounge here has a single long table where laptop users congregate. www.crescentbh.com Free

DOWNTOWN L.A. Public Library 630 W. Fifth St. Head to the Lower Level 3 Atrium in the Tom Bradley Wing to log on. www.lapl.org Free

HOLLYWOOD Kung Pao Kitty 6445 Hollywood Blvd. This pan-Asian restaurant's a bargain all around: free Wi-Fi and entrées priced under $10. www.kungpaokitty.com Free

WEST HOLLYWOOD Chateau Marmont 8221 W. Sunset Blvd. Before 6 p.m., you can actually find a seat in the lounge of this celeb hideaway. www.chateaumarmont.com Free

AIRPORT LAX: All terminals are wired except 8 and 9. www.lawa.org [B] [T]

NEW YORK

DOWNTOWN Bowling Green Park Broadway and Whitehall St. Just grab a bench in this pocket park near Wall Street. www.downtownny.com Free

MIDTOWN Bryant Park 42nd St. and Sixth Ave. If the weather's bad, head next door to the New York Public Library. www.bryantpark.org Free

PENN STATION LIRR Concourse 31st St. and Seventh Ave. The PennComm cell-phone store above Track 21 has a few seats for Wi-Fi users. www.cedx.com [I]

AIRPORTS Kennedy: For-pay Wi-Fi in Terminals 8 and 9; free signal in JetBlue's Terminal 6. [B] [T]

LaGuardia: Coverage in American and U.S. Airways lounges, and throughout the Central Terminal. [B] [T]

Newark: The only dead spot is Terminal C3. www.panynj.gov [B] [T]

RALEIGH/DURHAM

CARY Bear Rock Cafe 212 Crossroads Blvd. Sink into a couch by the fireplace and check your e-mail. www.bearrockfoods.com Free

DURHAM Regulator Bookshop 720 Ninth St. Mingle with Fuqua students at this bookstore's cafe. www.regbook.com Free

NORTH RALEIGH Hilton 3415 Wake Forest Rd. If you're doing business along Interstate 440, stop here for Wi-Fi and a drink. www.hilton.com Free

RALEIGH Flying Saucer Draught Emporium 328 W. Morgan St. During the day, snag a seat on the canopy-covered patio. But avoid the evening crowds. Free

AIRPORT Raleigh-Durham International: You can pick up signal outside the Delta club in Terminal A near Gate 14 and the American club in Terminal C near Gate 18. www.rdu.com [T]

S.F. BAY AREA

PALO ALTO Coupa Cafe 538 Ramona St. Need tech support? Just ask for Brady. www.coupacafe.com Free

SAN FRANCISCO Union Square The whole square is a hotspot. When it rains, huddle in the cafe in the northeast corner. www.ci.sf.ca.us Free

SAN JOSE Downtown The city has covered three plazas with signal; look for the orange "Free Wi-Fi" signs. www.sanjose.org Free

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO Inn at Oyster Point 425 Marina Blvd. Your best Wi-Fi option in this cluster of biotech firms. www.innatoysterpoint.com [I]

AIRPORTS San Jose: Coverage throughout. www.sjc.org [B] [W]

San Francisco: Wi-Fi's almost everywhere here too. www.flysfo.com [T]

SEATTLE

BELLEVUE Crossroads Bellevue N.E. Eighth St. and 156th Ave. N.E. The food court of this mall near Redmond is one big access point. www.crossroadsbellevue.com Free

DOWNTOWN Central Library 1000 Fourth Ave. Open until 8 p.m. Mon.-Wed. www.spl.org Free

PIONEER SQUARE Elliott Bay Book 101 S. Main St. Head to the quiet, comfortable cafe on the basement level. www.elliottbaybook.com Free

WATERFRONT Edgewater Hotel 2411 Alaskan Way Set up shop at a desk in the lobby of this historic hotel with floor-to-ceiling views of Puget Sound. [B] [I]

AIRPORT Sea-Tac: Coverage in Terminals B, C, and D, and plenty of plugs too. www.portseattle.org [B] [W]

WASHINGTON

DUPONT CIRCLE Soho Tea & Coffee 2150 P St. N.W. Even after midnight you can settle in here with a cup of coffee and a snack. Free

FARRAGUT SQUARE Wyndham City Center 1143 New Hampshire N.W. Get a drink at Shula's Steakhouse, then head to the lobby to log on. www.wyndham.com [B] [W]

FEDERAL TRIANGLE Federal Communications Commission 445 12th St. S.W. Your tax dollars at work: The FCC provides free Wi-Fi in its public areas. www.fcc.gov Free

AIRPORTS Dulles: Service available only in (or near) the American and United lounges in Concourses C and D. [T]

Reagan National: American, Delta, United, and US Airways lounges have signal; snag a seat outside them if you're not a member. www.metwashairports.com [T]