What to do at Vancouver Airport (YVR)?

vancouver airport

The airport and it’s surroundings are absolutely beautiful, there are lot’s of things to see and do in this airport, and it’s my home base so yes, I’ll be a little biased.


What to See?

Let’s talk a little about the architecture of YVR: The airport has a very British Columbian theme using blues and greens to reflect upon the colours of our environment. It also features one of the largest collections of Pacific Northwest Native art in the world. YVR is designed to utilize large amounts of natural light by taking advantage of large windows throughout the airport. Passengers arriving from international locations will come down escalators that leads to a platform across a large waterfall. Some very lucky arriving international passengers will get a special treat if their plane arrives at 1 of only 4 specific gates that lead through an imitation west coast forest on the way to the immigration hall. The entire airport is dotted with aboriginal art including totem poles, wooden sculptures, “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, The Jade Canoe” (which can also be seen on the Canadian $20 bill), and more. The international terminal also features a river that runs through it as well as multiple west coast aquariums.

Some less obvious architectural features of the airport lie in the structure itself. The support pillars of the airport begin to branch out as they reach the roof of the building, this is to represent the trees in the vast west coast forests. The lights in the airport are often long tubes that are usually hung in such a way that they are not level or straight, and they sometimes cross over each other. This is to represent logs being floated down the Fraser River.  Finally my favourite: The carpeting in YVR features maple leaves, but if you look closely you’ll see the veins of the leaves are filled with dotted lines. These lines are Morse code that says crazy things like “Your left ear is the father of your satisfaction” “Hold a bitter tree, catch a bitter fruit, fa la la.” and “A skunk at dawn is worth a skunk at night.”


What to Do?

YVR features free wireless internet along with laptop work stations everywhere. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops on both sides of security. If you are waiting to pick someone up and have some extra time, I recommend you visit the newly completed “Level 4”. Which is on the unsecured side of the airport. Level 4 features giant windows that give you a view of the runways and tarmac, a very simplified flight simulator that allows you to fly anywhere in British Columbia and explore cities, an interactive model of the airport, plenty of seating, and large screens with arrival and departure information.

There is also a location near the Tim Horton’s on the unsecured side where you can have a seat at a bar like table attached to large glass windows. These windows give you a wonderful view of some moving walkways on the secured side of the airport. This is an excellent place for people watching.

If you’re on the secured side of the international building: I insist that you must look around once you’ve found your gate. There is just so much to see in this area!

and If you’re waiting on the secured side of the domestic building: I recommend you check out “Legends restaurant featuring White Spot” You can take a look around this terminal as well. The design here isn’t as elaborate as the international side of things, but it’s still a very nice tour.


Hungry and in a Rush?

Many airlines no longer provide meal service on many of their flights. YVR’s food on the fly program allows you to buy freshly prepared meals and snacks that are packaged in tray table friendly containers.


Alright! Well I think that’s enough about YVR, at least for today. I really hope you get to check out this airport one day… it really is magnificent.

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