5 Things to Do at Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

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Many a weary traveller has asked the question, “How does one kill time in an airport?” The thought of having to spend hours in an airport waiting for a connecting flight is enough to make many of us cringe. But layovers don’t have to be painful. You just have to know how to treat yourself. At YVR, that’s simple. Here are five fun things to do at Vancouver International Airport.

1) Grab a bite to eat

When I think “international”, I think airport food court. You don’t? Whether sushi, ramen or Thai, the dining at YVR is a major step up from your typical shopping mall food court. Fuel up before your flight, enjoy a glass of wine, and grab some snacks to keep you tied over on your flight.

Flat lay of a table set for breakfast.

Fuel up before jetting off. Photo: @fairmontvancouverairport via Instagram

2) Explore the Aboriginal art

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, created by renowned BC artist Bill Reid, was originally conceived and created for the new Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. The casting in the airport was commissioned by the Vancouver International Airport Authority in 1993. You can usually find the sculpture surrounded by people from all over the world marvelling at it and posing for photos. This is one of those iconic pieces in Vancouver, where you can feel the history of the west coast exuding from it. You can find lots of Aboriginal art and books at the airport as well.

The famous Spirit of Haida Gwalii sculpture at the Vancouver airport.

The famous sculpture, Spirit of Haida Gwaii.

3) Pick up a good book

I am a firm believer that airports are the perfect place to read books you may not otherwise glance at, whether that’s a murder mystery or a Harlequin romance. Grab a book from one of the airport’s bookstores, settle into a comfortable spot, and enjoy some uninterrupted reading time that’s often difficult to get at home.

4) Relax and rejuvenate at the Fairmont

One of my favourite things to do at YVR is pretend I’m staying at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport. It’s the perfect place to rejuvenate and unwind, with its fitness centre, pool, hot tub, massage therapists, excellent cocktail menu, and giant chairs against floor to ceiling windows that offer a great view of the runway. Located just two minutes from the luggage carousels and voted the #1 Airport Hotel in North America, there’s really no better place to kill some time, especially if you have a overnight layover!

Exterior of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel at night.


5) Take a self guided tour

For those so inclined, the airport offers a self-guided walking tour of the terminal. It’s a great way for both visitors and locals alike to get acquainted with the airport’s history, award-winning architecture and art collection. There are 15 points of interest included on the handy map, along with interesting facts about each. Lose interest part way through? Don’t fear, the map also highlights restaurants and pubs along the route, so feel free to make a pit stop.

Insider’s Tip: If you’re at the airport on a Friday during the summer, make sure to take advantage of YVR Take-Off Fridays which includes a live DJ, delicious treats, and tons of free entertainment – the perfect way to kick off your weekend in Vancouver.

Feature photo: @yvrairport via Instagram